State and County fairs are infamous for their eclectic food offerings. A week’s worth of food for a week at the Crawford County Fair.
What: Greek gyros from Vlahos
Description: An original gyro is a combination of beef and lamb served on soft, warm pita bread. This pita is then loaded with onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and of course tzataziki, cucumber sauce.
Testimonial: “All I came to the fair for,” said the person just behind me in line at the Vlahos Original Greek Concession stand.
The Vlahos stand is family owned and operated by the Vlahos, a Greek family from North East Ohio. ”He has a following,” said daughter Eleana Vlahos, “He’s like a rock band, he’s got groupies.”
People from around the region follow where the stand will set up shop next. However, John, the ‘original’ Vlahos himself, schools people on what they’re really ordering. Signs above the counter phonetically sound out the name, “yee-ros.”
“Can I order an original ‘JI-row’?” a customer asked.
“We don’t have any ‘JI-rows.’ You can order an original gyro,” he said with a smile.
“Whatever it is, I just want an original,” they reply.
That’s right, if you’ve been pronouncing this Mediterranean dish “JI-row,” you’ve wrong. But if you visit John Vlahos, he’ll set you straight. “Yee-ros.”
This vegetarian had a My Big Fat Greek Wedding moment after he was done serving the other customers. I had returned to the stand after enjoying my veggie gyro, and he asked if I’d gotten a gyro yet. After I assured him I’d loved my veggie gyro, he repeated himself. Like they said in the movie, “It’s ok, I make lamb.”
Cost: $5, but John Vlahos served me a piece of mouthwatering baklava and a bottle of water for free.
Verdict: A huge fan of any Mediterranean style cooking, I was impressed that the shop had a veggie offering. And what a handful it was: the pita was heaped with all the goodies–minus the meat, just the way I like it. A filling snack that isn’t covered in grease, a rare Crawford County Fair treat.
Have a favorite fair food? Let me know, so I can try it, too!