I need a gyro

The gyro plate (olives and feta included this time) at Nick’s Greek Deli hits the spot.

The gyro plate (olives and feta included this time) at Nick’s Greek Deli hits the spot.

Photo By David Robert

Nick’s Greek Deli

600 S. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89501

How do you say the word “gyro"? I have heard so many mispronunciations of this word that I am confused—jairow, jeerow, yairow, yiddow. It’s called YEE-ROW. OK. Now that we got that over with, Nick’s Greek Deli has big, delicious gyros.

This little hole in the wall—on the corner of Virginia and Moran—is easy to miss because it’s so small. I’ve driven by it more than a hundred times and didn’t even see it until it was recommended to me by a friend. Places like this always have the best-tasting food because the owners stick to what they know—in this case, Greek food.

Nick’s is small. There are about six tables and seats for maybe 20 people. The Greek heritage is all over the place with white walls, blue lattice on the ceiling and scenic photography of Greek villas and the sea. I always feel comfortable eating at restaurants like this, and when you are extra hungry, Greek food really hits the spot.

My girlfriend, Cherie, and I had just driven back to town after a tough backpacking trip on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Needless to say, we were starving. Freeze-dried mountain house food keeps you nourished, but it doesn’t quite satisfy hunger the way home-cooked food does. It was a Monday afternoon, and I think Nick’s was having an off day because they looked like they were closed, but the door was open.

We walked inside, and all the lights were off. It seemed nobody was in there until a lady came out of the office. I think she was the bookkeeper. She told us that she would go find the lady who ran the restaurant. When she arrived, she told us she was out of gyro meat. But I talked her into finding some for us and making us a couple of gyro plates ($7).

This plate was awesome. The pita bread was toasted on her little electric skillet in her amazingly tiny kitchen. I couldn’t believe she was able to feed a restaurant with that kitchen, but sometimes, simple is best.

Inside the toasted pita bread was the beef gyro meat, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and tzaziki—the creamy yogurt dill sauce. Her tzaziki sauce was nice and thick. On the side was a Greek salad made with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano and pepper. It was pretty tasty, although I would have enjoyed some olives and feta cheese. Like I said, I think they were having a bad day, but we didn’t care. We were just hungry, tired and beat up from backpacking. We wanted some good food—and it was very good food.

The menu at Nick’s is simple, yet effective. It has standard Greek specialties, such as dolmas, pita and tzaziki, spanikopita and baklava. It also has some daily specials, which include soup and a sandwich, and a sandwich selection of pastrami and cheese, grilled cheese and turkey and cheese. I guess this is why it’s called a deli.

Considering the circumstances of our visit to Nick’s, I will be back to try the spanikopita and the baklava and other Greek specialties.