--Got Beef? (and lamb)
The Athenian Room is an old Lincoln Park favorite. Its been here much longer than 95% of the 'hood's yuppie and young family populations and is as much a part of the Depaul Neighborhood as the University itself. Its also a place that I've been eating at for 20+ years and I can honestly say I have never had a meal that didn't hit the spot. Normally I would post about a place and its food all in one article but the AR has some special items that need to be highlighted in their own spot-much like the amazing char-grilled feta burger got. While there isn't a bad item to be had on the menu which is small but also just right, the gyros have to be the restaurants most popular ordered item. On those day's I just cant decide between a burger, steak or Kalamata chicken Ill just get a gyros knowing that its always going to be a good choice.
Since 1973 for a reason
I have already pointed out in previous articles that there are very few places these days that make a homemade gyros here in Chicago. Its not that were not a gyro town its because we are the gyro town. If you live somewhere else in the country and eat gyros' then odds are the meat came from Chicago. Just last month there was a spectacular article in the New York Times telling the story of the gyro and its history here in Chicago. I would highly recommend reading the story, but great story short-Chicago has five major Gyro cone making companies and gyros were introduced to the US in Chicago in 1965. These companies each have their own secret recipe which they use to make the meat cones that are then distributed across the world to restaurants and food shacks who have gyros on the menu. The reason that there are five factories here in Chicago is the demand for a cheap meal has always been there especially in today's economy. Maybe that's why all five companies (which are private) have reported sales way up this year.
Its easy to see why since a gyros dinner from the AR has always been one of the best meals that will fill you up for under $10. The restaurant uses Devenco who makes eight different gyro recipes alone so its pretty serious over there. Since all the spots basically get the same cones just maybe from different companies-its all about how the place prepares them. I like my gyro's well browned from the spit and sliced extra thin. I'm not big on gyros when they are cut thick, it gives them different texture. I need mine thin and crispy and the AR has been doing that forever combine that with their amazing Greek fries (more on them here) and its just a real satisfying meal. Its easy to see why they always have different groups of people enjoying the food on a daily basis. Whats even better than all this? well since there combined with Glascott's next door its also the best gyro you can find to have a drink and watch the game while eating.
Gyros dinner from Athenian Room
Rating Scale: 5/5
Gyro meat: 4
freshness of pita and toppings: 4
807 W Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614-3628