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Olympos Gyros offers mountain of Greek flavor

| Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Years of experience precede the start of many new businesses. The lineage of Olympos Gyros, which opened on Jan. 20, goes back 30 years. No wonder it has attracted a loyal clientele in less than two months.

Located near Robinson Town Centre, Olympos Gyros has a narrow storefront facing Steubenville Pike. The inside is unadorned basics -- a counter as well as chairs and tables, with the food prepared in the same room.

Owner Georgette Varotsis learned her gyros from working for 15 years with an uncle who ran several restaurants in the Pittsburgh area and recently retired to his native Greece. She operates Olympos Gyros with her children and co-owners Alisha and John King.

All the recipes are homemade, but two of the basic gyro ingredients are commercial products -- the lamb and beef mixture is ordered from Chicago and the pita bread comes from a New Jersey baker. The meat mixture is cooked on the electric vertical broiler familiar to gyro fans.

The tzatziki sauce, which goes over the meat and sliced onions and tomatoes, is a point of individuality for Olympos Gyros.

"We make our own tzatziki sauce and it's not based on the yogurt and cucumber mixture you find at most gyro places. We use sour cream, four spices and extra virgin olive oil," Varotsis says.

Many of the gyros are served with French fries under the meat.

"We do it because that's how they do it in Greece," John King says. "It didn't have anything to do with Primanti's," which puts fries about the sandwich filling.

Olympos Gyros serves 10 varieties of its signature sandwich, all but two costing $6.50. The Zeus is the basic gyro. The Poseidon, the Hades and the Hera feature differing tzatziki sauces -- ranch flavored, spicy and barbecue, respectively.

Four other gyros at $6.50 substitute different fillings. The Ares has fried chicken strips; the Apollo , marinated chicken; the Hermes, marinated shish kabob; and the Artemis , feta cheese.

The Athena ($3.50) is a vegetarian gyro, while the Hepha ($6.75) is filled with steak.

Olympos Gyros makes its own Spinach Pie, $3.25. Other side dishes include hummus with pita, $2.25; French fries, $1.75; and feta cheese, $1.25.

Varotsis also makes her own sauce for the Greek Salad, which includes several kinds of pasta, such as bowtie and rotini, as well as red beets, chick peas, yellow zucchini, red and green peppers and shredded carrot -- $2.25 for a small portion, $4.50 for a large one.

Dessert is, no surprise, homemade baklava ($1.75). Beverages cost $1 to $1.50 but the selection is limited.

Varotsis is gratified that her business plan is working out well. "We're fast, so no one has to wait when we're packed," she says. "We also deliver."

Additional Information:

Olympos Gyros

Location: 5950 Steubenville Pike, Robinson Township

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Details: 412-489-5279

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