• Mike Sula
  • The lamb and beef from Covo Gyro Market

The gyro is one of the more dubious Greek contributions to western civilization. I’m not talking about the glistening, hand-stacked layers of beef and lamb roasting on vertical spits and shaved onto warm pita—that was actually a Turkish innovation (see doner kebab). Those have been around forever. I’m talking about the greasy, salty, breadcrumb-extended, molded mystery meat cones hawked by thousands of platinum blonde temptresses with something more on their minds than cheap sandwiches.

Although they were popularized by a handful of Greek-owned Chicago companies, the real father of the mass-produced gyro cone was a Jewish entrepreneur from Milwaukee named John Garlic. Yep, it’s true.

Since then it’s been relatively difficult to find a gyro made from real meat. You could go to a half dozen or so Middle Eastern joints for shawerma—but those are usually beef only. And if you’re feeling porky, there’s always Mexican (or Polish) al pastor.

But now there’s an excellent option in Wicker Park at Covo Gyro Market, from the folks who own the “eco-friendly” minichain Prasino.