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Adventures in takeout: Curbside from Pizza N Gyro in Boones Creek

Mystery Diner • May 4, 2020 at 9:00 AM

My dining partner called me at work the other day, concerned that Pizza N Gyro, one of her favorite stops for lunch, had closed up shop. I told her that it was most likely that owner Maurice Jabbour was complying with the virus-caused statewide restrictions.

Now, my dining partner is quite particular about her eatery listing. Much time and effort on her part has been taken to locate, sample and create the short list of restaurants deserving of her patronage.

With several restaurants on her list having to shut up shop within the last week, whether virus-caused or not, I understood how troubling it is to my dining partner.

To soothe her concern, I contacted Pizza N Gyro, initially just to see if they’d answer their phone.

The phone rang three times and Nate, one of Maurice’s pizza creators, answered with a cheery “Pizza N Gyro, how can I help you?”

“That you, Nate?” I said, “Are you all still in business?”

“Of course,” said Nate, “Would you like to place an order?”

Pizza N Gyro occupies a strip mall storefront in Boones Creek. The dining room usually seats twenty or so, but is currently not in use due to the virus-caused social distancing requirements. No problem, hungry customers are still happily and ably served through counter service and home delivery.

Pita Bread with Hummus: If there is one thing that my dining partner insists on when ordering a meal from Pizza N Gyro, it is that pita bread ($0.75) and hummus ($5.50) is included as her appetizer. This pita bread bears no resemblance to the coffee saucer-sized loaves stacked in a plastic bag at your supermarket. Measuring twelve to fourteen inches across, each loaf is oven-baked until it inflates to the depth of a sofa pillow. Cooling, it deflates into chewy, nutty-flavored deliciousness that is the perfect accompaniment for an order of Pizza N Gyro’s hummus. The hummus is made fresh from the best ingredients in-house and is the best in the Tri-Cities.

Greek side salad with Greek vinaigrette: No meal from Pizza N Gyro is complete without one of their Greek side salads to go with it. Jabbour & Co. do not skimp on the salad’s components, using chopped iceberg lettuce, julienned carrots and purple cabbage along with pepperoncini, coarsely sliced chunks of cucumber, some Kalamata olives and a liberal dusting of feta cheese crumbles. What brings all the elements together is the Greek vinaigrette salad dressing, a flavorful mix of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and Jabbour’s own special spices, yielding a concoction that is as fresh and flavorful as the greens and veggies are.

Greek spaghetti: For our entrée, (yes, we decided to share) I chose my dining partner’s favorite, an order of Greek spaghetti ($9.99). Using a sauté of coarsely chopped breast of chicken marinated in Pizza N Gyro’s Greek vinaigrette to which is usually added chopped red and green bell pepper. However, my dining partner wanted more authenticity, and swapped cooked spinach for the peppers. Next was added some chives, parsley, a light ragu (tomato red sauce to Americanos) and then into the oven. After baking until bubbly, the Greek spaghetti is plated (or in this case, aluminum - panned), topped with more of that fresh and crumbly feta cheese, and served with a thick slice of toasted garlic bread close at hand. The serving size is plenty for two hungry diners, especially so when you can have a some of Jabbour’s pita bread in one hand and your fork in the other, with that hummus nearby to add some extra savor to the meal.

The bottom line: From my phone conversation, it sounded like Nate was busy. Even though Pizza N Gyro have their own door-to-door delivery service, I decided to avail myself of their curbside delivery. A 20-minute trip found me at their front door with Nate bringing our order curbside to me. In addition to pasta, Pizza N Gyro makes delicious appetizers such as dolma (stuffed grape leaves). They also have hot oven sub sandwiches, award-winning pizzas from the annual Pie Wars competition, and some of the best gyro sandwiches anywhere.

Despite the ongoing disruption of our daily lives and routines, it is comforting to know that there are people like Maurice Jabbour and the team at Pizza N Gyro who are determined to continue working, helping to serve and uplift their customers and neighbors. And isn’t that what being neighborly is all about?

Pizza N Gyro

3043 Boones Creek Road

Johnson City

929-2929

Sun – Thur 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Fri – Sat 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Limited home delivery and curbside pickup

Credit cards accepted