Western Fruit Basket
 Akron, Ohio    Date of Visit  10/25/13    

This should be relatively brief. A student mentioned they love the gyros at the Western Fruit Basket in downtown Akron. I like gyros. There are many horrible ones. I wanted a good one and off we go. The place isnít what I expected. With the name I imagined a small market with a little counter and a couple of tables in the corner. The market consists of a couple shelves with a dozen or so options and a refrigerated case with a few others.



That's The Whole Place

There were a couple of fruit baskets in the window; they wouldnít inspire you to purchase one, the display models are not at the peak of freshness. The place is dingy and worn. Typically, I would consider that a move in the wrong direction but the place really has something going for it, gyros aside.

If you imagine the little storefront restaurants featured in mob movies, gangsters sipping espresso while discussing the dayís business, they may have been modeled after this place. I donít know if there is Greek organized crime in Akron, Ohio. If there is I know where they meet. The three gentlemen grousing over a spirited game of backgammon may have been talking politics or talking about rubbing out a problematic politician, I donít know, my Greek is fabulously rusty. The owners are adorably doddering and friendly but difficult to understand through the heavy accent, so we had some difficulty ordering. There isnít a menu, we were told they had lamb or chicken gyros and salad. There were other things listed on their website, we didnít ask.

If You're Up For Backgammon, They Are Good To Go

It Was Salad, If Not For Feta Would Be A Definite Pass

The salad was plain but it did come with a frighteningly salty feta cheese, we should have bought a tub of cheese out of the case. My favorite gyro ever, from Billís in Atlantic City, is available with a handful of similar feta as an upgrade worth every cent. I wish I had added it to our sandwiches but at this point we were lucky to have ordered anything.

One of each gyro arrived in foil. The chicken was fine, the lamb wasnít, it was better. The chicken misses out due to the absence of that seasoning profile inherent in good gyro meat. The pita was warm and soft with thin crispy edges. A healthy pile of gyro meat blend, also with crispy edges but warm and juicy throughout. Fresh veggies and just enough tzatziki sauce to hold it all together makes for a well done sandwich. Next time I will see if I can get some cheese layered into there.


Chicken Was A Little Boring

Lamb Much Better

Thereís no way we were leaving without baklava. When he was grabbing some from the case I noticed some cookies which I think are called Koulourakia. Dry but soft and lightly sweet cookies with a few sesame seeds pasted to the top. The owner was right, they would be good with coffee. We took the sweet stuff home and were initially worried in regard to the moisture level of the baklava. After the horrifying soupy mess we had at Kiflis we have been trending towards a much dryer treat. These were just about oozing. Oozing with awesome. They were messy but in a lightly sweet and nutty way with just enough crisp and crunch. It might be easier to dine here if you are a regular or are fluent in Greek, but even newbies can get some well done classics. Next time more feta and weíll see if we can get some moustaka or pastitsio as well.

Lightly Sweet Koulourakia

Damn Good Baklava



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