Wilkes-Barre, PA: NOTIS THE GYRO KING
Notis Vavlas, the Greek proprietor of Notis the Gyro King food truck, will serve you with a smile, and sometimes a song.
“You’ve got to make it fun,” he said. “I want to make the customer my friend before I take their dollar.”
Vavlas’ food truck has been a staple in Northeastern Pennsylvania for 20 years. It can be found in its usual spot along Route 309 in Wilkes-Barre Township, as well as at many an annual outdoor function in the area.
Vavlas said he has been able to keep the business going for so long because the most important thing about his food is it is all authentic and traditional.
“Many, many people make gyros now,” he said, “but a lot of them are not the real, Greek gyro.”
The key component, of course, is the meat.
“Gyro meat should be 80 percent beef, 20 percent lamb, with spices,” he said. “It’s also in the way you grill the pita bread. No squishing it, grilling it heavy. It has to be done lightly.”
Another incredibly important component to the Notis gyro is the tzatziki, or sauce.
“It’s my grandmother’s recipe. I use low-fat yogurt, sour cream, fresh cucumbers and some Greek secrets.”
Another feature at the stand is the Greek salad, topped with fresh feta cheese cut right off the block.
“Feta should not taste sour or coat your mouth,” Vavlas said. “The idea is to eat a little piece, and that piece should make you want more and more.”
All the ingredients Vavlas uses come right from Greece.
“I will only use those types of ingredients because that’s what I would want to eat,” he said. “If I’m making something that I wouldn’t even want for lunch myself, then what’s the point?”
Location: Kmart parking lot on Route 309 in Wilkes-Barre Township
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Saturday
Featured food : Greek gyro
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