Ustick Road is a surprise. Watch it for an hour or two and you'll see a diverse sampling of the people who live on Ustick or nearby, who utilize the various and sundry commercial enterprises on that street or who use it as a thoroughfare. An excellent vantage point from which to watch this microcosm of local community is from a table outside of the Gyro House, an aptly named little blue-and-white building near the Garden City end of Ustick.
Diners are expected to bring one little thing to the order counter besides an appetite and a few bucks: an understanding that the tagline "Home of the $2.99 Gyro" means that's what is available. Other than a handful of salads, a hummus and pita app ($2.49) and a choice between chicken or traditional lamb, that's what's available. Gyros. So the menu options are about the extra ingredients available for each gyro, although that is no way inherently obvious in the descriptions--original, deluxe, super--each one with more items wrapped up inside, respectively. Food in hand, we sat on one of the benches outside and watched as a classic Model T-type car with a giant stuffed Idaho Spud mascot strapped to the outside running board drove by.
Feta, red onions, tzatziki sauce and tomatoes dressed a chicken deluxe ($4.29). Cool tzatziki dripped out the bottom of the thick, warm pita that strained to contain a generous helping of moist, but oddly spongy white-meat chicken and large scoop of feta. We watched as a woman left the nearby do-it-yourself dog groomer and crossed Ustick, her hands wrapped in the leashes of four full-size, shoulder-high standard poodles.
With extra meat and the addition of pepperoncinis and a rust-red chili sauce, the deluxe gyro becomes super ($4.79): super big, super meaty, super-duper spicy. Even big, throaty gulps of soda ($1.29) didn't completely quell the burn or stop beads of forehead sweat. When she brought out a side of cool tzatziki with chunks of cucumber, the sweet young woman who had taken our order explained that being from New Mexico, she had an immunity to the kind of heat the super gyro puts out. Lucky girl. A tall jogger with a long ponytail stopped in for some water for himself and the happy little pug he had in tow.
A triangle of honey-covered pre-made baklava ($1.29) satisfied the need-a-sweet-after-a-meal craving, layers of sticky phyllo dough and nuts sticking to fingers, forks and faces. A carload of adolescent boys followed by a truckload of the same peeled out of a nearby parking lot, yelling and pointing back toward the shack.
Sitting outside the Gyro House, pale bits of lettuce and sauce dotting our shirts and a mountain of used paper napkins and gyro detritus between us, we had unintentionally become an addition to the evening's little parade of Bench culture.
--Amy Atkins cries at parades.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about the Gyro House.