Sunday, 29 April 2007


Walking downtown on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I was walking down Elm street and started thinking about my fav eatery on this street, GYROS. I wasn't going to stop in, but I was curious if it would be open on a Sunday, and was thinking how it would be a shame if this place was ever to close down.

Toronto is notorious for little eateries opening, lasting a few months, and then going out of business. I've only known about GYROS for less than 4 years, but it looks like its been around for a while. I was shocked and saddened to see this:

It might be hard to see, but the inside was completely gutted. My only hope is that its under renovations . . . but the realist in me has to just accept its gone.

Some of you might be asking, 'Wing King, whats the big deal, there are tons of kebab places all over the city? There's even one right across the street from GYROS!" Well, this place was different.

What is a Donair? Well, Wikipedia describes one as :

"Döner Kebab (döner kebap in Turkish and often simply kebab, döner, doner, donner, donair), which literally means "turning roast", is the name given to a dish made with lamb (or mutton), beef or chicken. Some have compared döner kebabs to shawarma, gyros, possibly because similar meat may be used, but they may be different in terms of the filling and/or form. Döner kebabs are generally wrapped in tortilla-like flat bread, and shawarma is generally in pita or sandwich form. Gyros are always wrapped in pita. The difference in fillings is also very great. The gyro almost always contains the same few ingredients. Döner kebabs and shawarma, though, can include various salad ingredients such as carrots or red cabbage and fresh mint as well as a number of creamy sauces or even hot sauce."

This place didn't just sell Kebobs; owner Chanho Seo brought with him the Canadian, East Coast and specifically Nova Scotian Donair:

"The meat in this version of the döner kebab (Halifax donair, as it is sometimes referred to) is sliced from a loaf cooked on a vertical spit, made from a combination of ground beef, flour or bread crumbs, and various spices, while the sauce is made from evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar, and garlic. The meat and sauce are served rolled in pita bread with diced tomato and onion. This version is generally so packed with ingredients, that the pita is almost there for ceremonial purposes; the pita of any true Haligonian donair will be so soaked in sauce that attempts to pick it up will be fruitless"


What really makes a NS Donair, is the Donair sauce. Its sweet, and its oh so good. All these kebab and shwarma places don't carry the sauce, which made GYRO so special. The first time I had one was visiting family in Halifax, and my uncle made sure I tried one. I was skeptical, never having seen a gyro in the first place . . . but I fell in love. One Christmas they sent me bottled Donair sauce for me because I liked it so much. Not having one for several years, I was over-joyed when about 4 years ago a Halifaxian (Hannah, who also introduced me to the Wing House) pointed out the place that so close, could provide an authentic product.

Now, its all gone. I was really looking forward to reviewing the place. I guess I will always have the memories.

*photo of donair taken from here


Ricky said...

I think there is only one solution for all your culinary problems. Open your own restaurant and serve Wings, Onion Rings with Ranch, Nacho's with Guac, Donairs and Cherry Coke... everything you like, just they way you like it! You can call it Jeff's Food-O-Rama!

Lord of the Wing said...

You and me - we should go into business . . .

Ricky said...

Give me say 10 years to pay off the student loans and make some mad engineering money and we'll do it! Oh...I see the name now.. Jeff and Rick's Gut-Fillery!