Signature flavors of Chicago traditionally include the famous deep-dish pizza and loaded Chicago-style hot dog — boasting the perfect combination of crunch, acid and spice. For Chicago-raised Johnny Katakis, the Windy City's ideal cuisine swings a little more Mediterranean.
"Every corner of the city, there's a little Greek shop," Katakis said.
On Yelp.com, a simple search shows more than 300 results for Greek food in Chicago. A quick stop, grab n' go gyro counter is exactly what Katakis envisioned with the opening of Johnny's Gyros in Red Wing this month.
Gyros done right
Katakis moved to Red Wing 22 years ago, working as quality technician at Food Service Specialities.
"In Chicago and here, I have always been in the restaurant business," Katakis said.
His first restaurant venture in Minnesota grew in Cannon Falls, when Katakis opened and operated Time Out Sports Bar and Grill for four years.
"It was your typical sports bar, but I did have my gyros on the menu. They were a big draw," Katakis said.
On both his mother's and father's sides of the family, Katakis comes from 100 percent Greek heritage.
"Greeks are known for flavor," Katakis said.
The marquee item on his menu — the gyro — is no exception.
"The tzatziki sauce is to die for," Katakis said. "People are loving it."
Katakis' sauce is a mixture of yogurt, cucumber and spices. The sauce complements the hearty flavor of the meat, meeting it with a cool, smooth finish.
As expected, the gyros has been the most popular item on the menu, Katakis said, but his variety of wings has also been well-received.
Delivery service is in the works and will be rolled out as Johnny's Gyros gets settled in.
"It's been really fun, these first few weeks," Katakis said. "I hope people come in and try out some new food in Red Wing."
For more information and menus, find Johnny's Gyros on Facebook.