The Gyro Spot (Manchester, NH)

As I’ve mentioned several times, there are several major gaps in culinary coverage up here in Northern New England. One of the major ones is Greek food: there are almost zero Greek places, either fancy or fast food, between my home and Manchester, with suitably few options in the opposite direction, and it’s even rare for a Greek-owned pizza place to over up so much as a gyro. So that’s a gap of almost 100 miles in diameter lacking Greek foodstuffs, so I’m often finding myself craving a gyro.

But a trip to Manchester takes you back into the Greek belt, since I can think of at least a dozen places around Manchester that will happily serve you up plates of hummous, tabouleh, and big giant pitas filled with souvlaki or gyros. There’s just one subtle problem here, and I’ll admit it’s a minor one: Most of these places don’t serve up true Greek gyros, but instead serve up Greek-American gyros made with “gyro meat”, that giant cylinder of spiced lamb meatloaf-like mixture toasted up on a spit. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy a good “gyro meat” gyro on occasion, especially with well-crisped meat… but it’s much akin to eating a double-decker taco from Taco Bell when you are really craving proper Mexican-style Tacos al Pastor. You’re in the right ballpark, but not playing the right game. Proper Greek-style Gyros are pork, marinated up nicely and cooked up to a nice crisp on those same vertical spits, and often served to you with Greek-spiced fries jammed into the gyro as well. I’ve had these many places around the world and enjoy them, but hadn’t had any luck finding such in New Hampshire. Until I found the Gyro Spot.

Located on Elm Street, I’ve known about the Gyro Spot for a while (they opened about a year ago), since it’s next to one of my other perennial Manchester favorites, Republic Cafe and Bistro. My last two dinner trips to Republic had me gazing into the Gyro Spot’s bright storefront, and vowing to come back, and last month I was finally able to drop in and check them out.

True to form, the Gyro Spot is trying to crank out some authentic Greek street food. Gyros are the main menu item, but missing is the “gyro meat” lamb loaf, instead, their options include pork (served up with tzatziki sauce, onions tomato and parsley), chicken (served up like the pork, although using their secret “G sauce” instead of tzatziki), and veggie. They’ve also got fries served up with Greek spices, and a nice array of Greek sides like dolmades, spanakopita, and fakes (a lentil soup, if you’ve never tried it).

For this visit, I went simple: I ordered up a basic pork gyro. After a nice flourish of the knives as my pork was carved off of the rotisseries, I quickly found myself served up with a nice, soft pita stuff with a plentiful helping of crispy marinated pork, some onion and tomato, and a healthy handful of fries. It was one of those dishes that doesn’t photograph that well, but this was a seriously good gyro. The meat was flavorful and tender, without being fatty, and having a nice marinade that seemed particularly rich in marjoram and oregano. I don’t normally go for the fries on my gyro (mostly, that’s like putting potatoes on a non-breakfast burrito to me), but here it worked. And the tzatziki was a pleasant tangy sauce that was obviously house-made and not something out of a giant Sysco can.

Overall, I really liked the Gyro Spot. They’ve got a good, authentic product, served up at a reasonable price, with a good variety of Greek sides and treats. I’ll have to come back and try out more of their menu.

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