Ah, another relaxing, sunny Sunday! I should be grabbing Julian and heading out to a park or something outdoors ASAP, but I just can’t do it until I drop a short note about a place I stopped off at on the rush home from a convention several weeks ago and can’t forget: Gyros Hut. I know, the name isn’t the most intriguing, but I’ve been curious about them since I saw the sign go up out in front during construction; after all, it isn’t every day that a business is brave enough to open in Toms River and specialize in one ethnic specialty (without trying to hedge their bets as just another pizzeria or burger joint). And so, turning off the Parkway onto Route 37, I took the opportunity to sample their wares.
Walking in, I had a great first impression: a spankingly clean, shiny, and new storefront with several tables to eat at and a smiling woman at the front counter. The sign reading “Please be patient, all food is cooked to order” was even more encouraging. The menu was simple, with the focus on gyros, of course, but I was surprised to find that they had four kinds of meat available: lamb, beef, chicken, and pork, all slowly roasting on gyro spits, emitting a mouth-watering aroma. Also available were dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), hummus, falafel, various Greek salads, and baklava, but I chose to stick with two basics: a lamb gyro and an order of dolmades.
As the woman prepared my order, carefully grilling the pita and gyro meat slices, I learned that she and her husband have been open since the spring and work the entire 7 days a week (how does one do that and stay sane?). But soon the food was ready and baby was indicating to me that she wanted a gyro NOW, so I was off to eat. What can I say? It was the best gyro I’ve ever had. Granted, my experience in good gyros is limited (a few Greek places in North Jersey, local diners) and some awful ones off a grease truck, but the perfectly seasoned meat, fresh tomatoes and onions, grilled bread, and homemade tzatziki (yogurt, garlic, cucumber) sauce combined to make a perfect sandwich. I was a bit surprised by the dolmades-they were served warm with tzatziki (I am used to them served cold with a squeeze of lemon)-but that made no difference, they were still homemade,fresh and delicious.
So, if you’re looking for a quick, inexpensive bite in the Toms River area and are sick to death of burgers or pizza, check out Gyros Hut and support something different and fresh (and local!) for a change! -Lisa
Gyros Hut – 181 Route 37 West (near Community Surgical Supply), Toms River. Open Mon-Sat, 10:30am-9:00PM, Sunday 11:00am-8:00PM. (732) 240-7100.
UPDATE (January 2011): This location has since changed ownership and is now called Gyros and More. We found the gyros to still be pretty good, and the service a little friendlier. – John