Friday, May 28, 2010

I prove I'm my mother's daughter at Albee's New York Gyros

When I was small, my mother used to periodically get a real craving for gyros sandwiches. This was in the affluent suburbs west of Kansas City, and while there might have been authentic Greek food downtown in the 80s, it was not to be had in Johnson County. We'd go to the Mr. Gyro's on Metcalf so she could get her fix, and usually she was eating alone. My little palate wasn't down with the gyros, with all its weird yogurt sauce and onions and the dreaded tomatoes. (I was a horrid little picky eater.) I probably went home and made myself some macaroni and cheese.

Later, I came around to the gyros love. (Learning to like yogurt, onions, and tomatoes probably helped!) We had dabbled in a few places in Eugene that serve gyros, and I even like some of them, but when I heard through the grapevine/Internets about Albee's New York Gyros, I had to go try it. Thanks to the blog, I had an excuse, and away we went!

So, Albee used to run a food cart, and I sort of still expected this to be a food cart venture since it is cash only, but Albee has a pretty sweet little storefront these days. The menu is very simple: Gyros, either meat or falafel, with your choice of lettuce, tomato, tzatziki, onions, olives, feta, and peperoncinis. The regular size is substantial, and it costs 6.00. There is a new Junior sized option for 4.00, too, which would be good for a lighter option. He also has a New York beef hotdog, spanakopita, and baklava (more on that in a minute).

So we ordered a meat gyros and a falafel gyros, two cans of soda, and a baklava. It came in at 16.25 for a LOT of food, and I dropped the rest of the 20.00 in Albee's tip jar, because he worked hard to get our food together fast, and he was incredibly pleasant to talk to during. Not to mention it was delicious. G and I swapped the two sandwiches back and forth so we each got to try both, and then we split what turned out to be the best baklava I have had in ages. It was honey-soaked and absolutely FULL of cinnamon, and there may or may not have been a plastic utensil fight afterward about who got to scrape out the paper tray in which it came.

I loved this place, in spite of a few minor quibbles. The olives are domestic-type, not the kalamatas I expected. The tzatziki could have been a little more flavorful. But everything was HOT like it should have been, or cold and crisp. It comes wrapped in a foil, perfect for eating on the go, so on-balance, this place is still full of win. If you want fancier, more 'Greek'-style gyros, you might try Poppi's Anatolia, but this place has a pastiche that's all its own, and it's very worth checking out. Albee is as charming as his business, too.

When my mom visits next, the gyros are on me.

Location: 391 W. 11th St, Eugene

Hours: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Monday - Saturday.

Discounts: a punchcard that gives you a free sandwich after you buy ten.

Albee's New York Gyros on Urbanspoon


  1. Michelle and I have been wanting to try this out.

    And an aside: a yelp reviewer called these gyros inauthentic, comparing them to the platonic ideal of the middle-eastern gyro. RAGE.

  2. I gave a lot of credit to the enthusiasm and attention that Albee gives to every order. They aren't middle-eastern, no, but they're a wholesome alternative to the burrito-in-foil joints you can't throw a rock in Eugene without hitting.

  3. Oh, sorry Kristen, for some reason I thought Jenn wrote this post, hence the familiarity.

    And yeah, someone lobbing complaints about "NY" gyros not being middle-eastern is a sign of outright dick-baggery.

  4. Teehee! I think I thought you were a different Clayton, so this is win all the way around. :)