Ever since my sweet baby Athenos closed down, I’ve been hurting for some real ultimate gyros. Sure, Salem’s will do in a pinch, and Acropolis does just fine (if you’re a fucking snob), but I want my middle of the road, delicious time gyros! GOD ATHENOS, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME??!
Enter: Little Greek. I’m gonna just write it straight up – I’ve found my Athenos replacement. Really. That easy. This little guy lives next door to Mojo Music Books Coffee Magick Spells Records Awesome Hippies and Bands and More, in its new location in the same plaza as its old location. It’s uh… it’s near USF. So Little Greek just popped up recently, though apparently it’s an established national chain, spreading from Florida to Texas. Actually, it’s just Florida and Texas. And there’s only one Texas store. It’s a Florida chain.
My genius/sexy friend suggested we eat at this place for lunch today, and when we got there it was packed. A little lady (the little Greek??) at the counter who was obviously overworked was taking people’s orders, and apparently manning the phone. Right before I got to her the phone rang, and she picked it up. I guess nobody was there, so she hung up, looked up at me, and said “what?” …This was her greeting. But she’s overworked. Okay. I started ordering, then asked about the salad. She gave me another somewhat pissy, short response. Alright. Then I ordered a cannoli. “Ohhh well I’m gonna give it to you now, but don’t go eating it before your food comes out! You’ll spoil your appetite!” etc etc. She immediately became my mom and we were best friends forever. Insert Oedipus complex here.
After a billion years of waiting, the food finally arrived. I had eaten half my cannoli at this point. My appetite remained unspoiled. My order was pretty straight forward: gyro pita and a side Greek salad. It came packed onto one plate, and as you can see, the salad pretty much dominated the whole thing.
The salad was immense, consisting of lettuce, a quarter of a tomato (wtf??), a slice o’ green pepper, onions, a giant cucumber slice, an olive, a peperoncini, feta cheese, potato salad, and they threw a beet on top just for good measure. I mean, nobody eats those things, right? Gross. It was all covered in their homemade Greek dressing. All in all, the salad was pretty simple. But dear god… it came together perfectly. Their Greek dressing is some of the best I’ve ever had, and their potato salad is perfect (despite looking insane in the above photo). If you’ve never had Greek salad with potato salad, you’re really missing out. It is something uniquely Tampa somehow, it comes standard here, and it’s definitely something to be proud of.
The gyro pita was rather good too, with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, tzatziki sauce, and of course the gyro meat. The ingredients are all pretty decent, and the gyro meat is exactly the way it should be (do they manufacture this stuff in bulk? D: ). The pita was arranged somewhat strangely, though, which I’m not sure was intentional or not. The front had all the leafy beauty you see in the picture, and the back, hidden away underneath the wrapper, was coated in way too much tzatziki sauce. It was… not well balanced. Still, very good. But the salad was what shone through here, and is the reason I’ll be going back.
The cannoli was the type that they unnecessarily shove a billion chocolate chips into the ends (thankfully not throughout). Then they chose to cover it in a bag’s worth of confectioner’s sugar. Which is great, sure, why not. I mean I love diabetes. The cannoli itself was not bad by any means, decent shell (still crisp, not old or anything) and the filling was decent, not too sweet. But it was kind of dominated by the sugar and chocolate chips, which was disappointing. Meh. Still a good snack.
So the Little Greek (the little lady) has won me over, and I will be returning. It’s solid Greek food, not too expensive (my bill came to 14 bucks), and they have the best Greek salad ever. The mighty spirit of Athenos may now rest, for I’ve found a new love. And she’s a little old lady.