Friday, July 2, 2010

Gyro House vs. Papu's Cafe: gyro vs. gyro

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 12:00 PM

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​Street tacos are the lead singers here in Kansas City. Gyros are the roadies. They may not be as sexy, but you gotta have 'em.

This week, we set Gyro House and Papu's Cafe head to head. Charles Ferruzza and I roped in Pitch staffers to try lamb gyro sandwiches. 

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Papu's Cafe (604 West 75th Street, inside a Shell gas station): Oklahoma Joe's isn't the only food in a gas station that's starting to get noticed. Papu's Cafe has a steady stream of lunchtime traffic to the three-table restaurant, which takes up a third of the Shell in Waldo.

After about 10 minutes, you'll have a griddle-warmed pita that fits snuggly in your hand. The salty lamb patty is offset by the creamy tsatsiki and the sweet crunch of onion. A few big slices of tomato and a handful of chopped lettuce push the gyro to the edge of manageable size, but the pita maintains a good sandwich integrity from start to finish.   

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Gyro House (240 East Linwood): Located in a tiny storefront adjacent to the former gas station that was, for the last half of the 20th century, the original Lamar's Doughnuts, Gyro House may be one of the most charmless, uninviting dining venues in the city. Most of the business is carry-out (there are only a few tables in the dining area), and the staff -- usually only one employee taking orders, cooking and generally looking put-upon -- isn't very friendly. "They're generally out of something, too," griped one customer yesterday, who looked aghast when the cook-cashier informed him the shop was out of both hummus and falafel: "Our chickpea order has been held up in Customs," he explained.Customs?

The gyro sandwiches, however, are big -- nearly twice the size of those at Papu's Cafe, and generously loaded with grilled meat (lamb, chicken, kofta), tsatsiki, onion and tomato. It's not inexpensive, but you won't need to eat again for hours.


The Verdict: Papu's wins in a walk. One of our tasters put it best. "If I were hungry and in that area, that's a sandwich I'd remember. Yeah, I'd stop and get that."

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