Thursday, Jul 31, 2014 03:36 pm est

MamaGyro serves homey, healthy fast food

Posted on February 20, 2013 | by Sanjana Kucheria

Rachel Cabitt/WSN

Union Square is now home to the freshest of Greek fare. MamaGyro’s second New York City location opened on Feb. 6 and now officially caters to those in search of healthy, fast, homemade Greek food with a cultural flair.

MamaGyro is run entirely by Stella “Mama” Likitsakos, her husband and their daughter, Vicki. All of the specialties and menu items served, as well as the vibrant cyan and white décor, reflect their Greek heritage and exhibit genuine customer service. The objective is to offer an inviting, caring and family-friendly atmosphere.

“The only reason we call it ‘fast food’ is because there is no waiter service,” Vicki said. “There is noth- ing about our food that is [like typi- cal] ‘fast food,’ in terms of quality.”

Every recipe followed at MamaGyro is from the Likitsakos family, passed down from “Mama” to “Mama,” who only occasionally tweak the ingredients. All the dips, pies and desserts are made from scratch, and to deliver authenticity and freshness, new batches of dips and pies are made every two to three hours.

An extremely popular choice is the tender rotisserie chicken gyro (one for $4; two for $7.50), which comes in your choice of white or whole wheat pita, wrapped with tomatoes, red onions and French fries with Mama’s sauce, spicy mayo, tzatziki, honey Dijon, barbecue or hot sauce drizzled inside as well. Another favorite is the veggie burger ($5), which can come on either a toasted potato bun or your choice of pita, with tomatoes, red onions and hummus.

“People are generally not too adventurous when they first step into the restaurant and usually get the gyro,” Likitsakos said. “But there are so many other options that have to be tried.”

The homemade dips, in particular, stand out. There are the typical hummus and tzatziki dips, but MamaGyro concocts unique blends such as the eggplant (which includes onions, sun-dried tomatoes, sea salt and pepper) spicy pepper feta (also containing jalapeños and oil) and the black olive tzatziki (Greek yogurt, kalamata olives, cucumbers, dill, garlic, sea salt and oil) dips. They come in different sizes and are served with pita triangles.

Savory pies are also offered, such as the spinach swirls ($4), a feast of spinach, feta, onions and dill, and the ricotta and feta-filled cheese swirls ($4).

Further accompaniments include sides such as sweet potato fries ($4) and char-grilled souvlaki skewers (one for $2.50). The Likitsakos family also recommends Mama’s tasty desserts, including the bite-sized chocolate baklava, which has a smooth, chocolate and honey filling, encased by a crunchy shell.

With its convenient location and student-friendly prices, MamaGyro is sure to become a neighborhood hit.

“The food we serve really is for all ages,” Likitsakos said. “We have students, families and [those from other businesses] trying our food.”

MamaGyro is located at 820 Broadway between 11th and 12th streets. 

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 20 print edition. Sanjana Kucheria is a contributing writer. Email her at


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

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Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

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