A shout out to Bob and Kasey Kelly who gave me a number of suggestions of places to eat in Milwaukee. Kasey, who is a Milwaukee native, and Bob came up with a suggestion sheet of places to eat when a number of out-of-towners came to the city for their wedding last May. Even though I consider myself sort of well-versed with places to eat in Milwaukee, Bob and Kasey's list had a number of places that I'd never heard of before. One of those places was Oakland Gyros at the corner of Locust and Oakland, near the campus of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (see map).
Oakland Gyros is a favorite late night dining spot for young people who have been out partying earlier in the evening. Lines form outside after 1 a.m. with people waiting to get in and have a gyro. The portions that are served are big and the price is very cheap. The menu features not only gyros, but burgers, beef and chicken shishkabobs, and moussaka - a Greek-style pot pie with lamb and egg plant.
It wasn't much before noon when I got into Oakland Gyros. There was a small line at the order counter and it was moving rather quickly. I ordered up a gyro and a bottle of water. It wasn't more than a minute later that I had my gyro and water on a platter. But I didn't have any tzaziki sauce on the platter with the gyros. I looked over at a counter top and saw a number of squeeze bottles of the stuff. I was incredulous. I've never - EVER - been in a Greek restaurant where they didn't charge you for extra tzaziki sauce on top of the little tub of sauce they give you for your gyro. These guys give you your own 12 oz. squeeze bottle of the stuff! And I LOVE tzaziki sauce.
The lunch time crowd was coming in and I was able to find a small booth to sit and have my gyro. And it was good - the pita bread was light and flavorful, the shaved gyro meat was also tasty. But the tzaziki sauce was the key to the whole thing. Before nearly every bite, I would squeeze a little more onto the gyro and chomp into it.
I had eaten about a third of the gyro and I had it sitting in the basket open faced. I reached for the tzazaki sauce and accidentally knocked over my bottle of water. Splash! Right into the basket with the open gyro. Oh man! I just sort of folded the gyro up and let the water drip out of it onto the wax paper in the bottom of the basket. I then took the basket over to the trash can and threw the water-filled paper out. I then put the now soaked gyro back in the basket. I considered getting another gyro, but then I thought it would be OK. The pita bread was now sort of soggy, but the meat, onions and tomatoes were still good. I just put more tzaziki sauce on it.
I can see why Oakland Gyros is one of Kasey Kelly's favorite spots to eat in Milwaukee. As I said, the portions are huge - one gyro was a full meal in itself; and it was cheap - with a bottle of water, the total cost of the meal was under $6 bucks. While the place isn't fancy, and the menu is pretty limited to basic Greek food, I thought Oakland Gyros to be a great value with good food. I'm going to have to go back sometime in the future to get a gyro that I don't soak with water.