The traditional, basic gyro is made with pork or chicken, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce, which, to us, is the key to the whole thing. Great tzatziki equals a great gyro, and good tzatziki equals a good gyro. In Athens (and much of Greece), local vendors add french fries into the mix, ensuring added texture and that you will be full after just one. Since they cost only a couple dollars and are literally everywhere you turn in Athens, the gyro is the budget traveler's best friend.
Some shops will offer variations of the traditional recipe, mostly in terms of the accompanying sauce, substituting mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, cheese, pepper, or some combination of them as a dip.
You can get a gyro in the States pretty much anywhere, and we suggest you continue to enjoy your local spot while you can. Once you have one in Greece, you will have officially ruined your appetite back home.
[Photo: Will McGough]