Those of you who have visited our restaurants have likely also been graced by the presence of Angelo Giovanis, our owner, and possibly the friendliest person in Minnesota. Beyond extending openness and hospitality to all Naughty Greek visitors, Angelo is also the backbone of The Naughty Greek’s commitment to honesty, care, and authenticity. Angelo’s drive for the best stems from several places - besides the fact that the way we do things is tried, true, and absolutely delicious, he is also invested in educating us statesiders about Greek food and culture. In his 18 years of living in the States, Angelo became frustrated by the nontraditional gyro-style foods being served in Minnesota. While gyro-style sandwiches featuring lamb and beef, or tzatziki made of sour cream can taste perfectly nice, they rang in as inauthentic, and opened a gyro-shaped void in Angelo, making him miss home even more than he already did.
So, in the spirit of education, I sat down with Angelo to find out what (honestly) makes a true Athenian Greek pita wrap. He showed me how the Naughty Greek is working to redefine gyros - and fill that void - in the Twin Cities. In Greece, if you want what we at the Naughty Greek refer to as a heavenly gyro pita, you ask for it tilihto, or wrapped, as the word gyro itself refers to the rotisserie style of preparation, rather than the way in which it’s served. Our gyro meat is slow roasted chicken or pork, shaved from a vertical rotisserie. If you want it tilihto, it’s then rolled up in a grilled, seasoned pita bread along with tzatziki sauce, onions, and tomatoes, with a handful of fries and a dash of paprika added. Alternatively, sometimes we prepare our meat as souvlaki - skewered chicken or beef, cooked to perfection on the grill.
In Athens, you never find gyros made of anything but chicken or pork, because gyros are street food - any other kind of meat is too expensive, and reserved for special occasions. And as tasty as gyros are, they aren’t meant to be fancy, something the Naughty Greek wants to stay true to, as we provide nutritious, honest food to our customers, while creating a positive environment in which to share it. Because beyond the food, Angelo also hopes to create an atmosphere that mirrors that of his family’s taverna back in Greece, where eating is about communion, relationships, and relaxation. We hope our guests come, and then stay to enjoy the atmosphere of our restaurants and the company of other diners - and hopefully, our company as well! So stop by to experience the magic of Greek street food, and Greek hospitality - because those of you who have already experienced it know just why Angelo missed it oh so much.
- Jessie Lee-Bauder