Friday, July 24, 2009

King Gyros Greek Restaurant, A little Gem in Whitehall

Reviewed Friday, July 18th, 2009

At first glance, the little building at 400 South Hamilton Road in Columbus, OH looks like any other small fast food restaurant, but spend two hours inside sampling the food and anyone will understand why there is a steady stream of customers lining up even in the middle of the afternoon when other restaurants are typically experiencing a lull.

King Gyros in Columbus is owned and managed by Yianni Chalkias, can seat about 36 people comfortably and has a drive-thru. Yianni is a first-generation Greek-American. He and his family opened the restaurant in 1991 using a handful of recipes handed down from his father. Most of the dishes on the menu do not exceed $10, so a family dinner at Columbus' King Gyros will not break the bank. Parents will be happy to know that there is a kid’s menu with some less exotic options, such as hamburgers and chicken fingers.

Yianni started our team out with some heavy appetizers, including the spanakopita with feta cheese and kalamata olives. One Taste Caster exclaimed the spanakopita was the best he had ever eaten, hands down. (It might have also been the biggest spanakopita we have ever seen.) The filo dough is flaky and flavorful, and the spinach and cheese are extremely fresh. The flavor of the olives is nothing like what anyone has come to expect from olives, and the team recommends eating them by themselves to fully appreciate it.

Spinach & Feta Pie

King Gyros' Spinach & Feta Pie

The next dish served was the fried calamari and smelts, which are fish fries. Both were very tender, and the crust was crunchy and not oily at all. The dressing added a nice flavor for dipping. Definitely a good appetizer option that’s a bit less exotic.The team then sampled Greek cabbage rolls and meatballs, which looked like they should be served at a more expensive restaurant. The flavor was extraordinary. The lamb, beef, and rice mixture in the rolls combined nicely. The light acidity of the tomato sauce over it provided a nice contrast in flavors.

Fried Smelts

Fried Smelts


King Gyros' Calamari

For the main course, Yianni brought two lamb dishes to the table. One was a combination of lamb legs, lamb shanks, and peppers, which were served over saffron rice. Saffron is one of the most expensive spice in the world, which is why you don’t often see it in everyday cuisine. The other dish was King Gyros' Lamb-kabob, marinated lamb, peppers, and red onions served over the saffron rice.

Papa's Lamb Shanks

Papa's Lamb Shanks

Yianni's Lamb Kabob

King Gyros' Lamb Kabob

Yianni then presented a plate of four types of Greek pastries for dessert. King Gyros' baklava was extremely fresh, and Yianni does the baking on-site everyday. The picture should speak for itself.

A selection of Baklavas

A selection of King Gyros' Baklavas

King Gyros is a hidden gem here in Columbus that you must try. The staff is friendly, the portions are huge, and the flavor of the food is unique and superb. What’s more, all the prices are very reasonable. They even have a drive-thru, so you can get your Greek fix on the run at lunchtime. You can visit King Gyros of Columbus on the web where you can actually order your food for pickup. King Gyros can also be followed on Twitter at @gyros2nv.

Dine in, Take out, or Drive-thru at King Gyros Greek Restaurant - 400 South Hamilton Road, Columbus, OH. Order online at, or call them at (614)866-9008!

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