Lamb-beef gyros

Gyros: At the seemingly gazillion gyro shops around, most serve meats that arrive in wheel form -- that is, resembling and bearing the flaccidity of shoe insoles. No, I'm not knocking it because I grew up on that specific taste and I'm fond of that smooth, preformed, meatloafish texture. But Covo Gyro Market , the 6-month-old Wicker Park fast-casual from the owners of Prasino, doesn't serve that kind of gyro. They source their hormone-free meats from a Wisconsin farm, which are then hand-packed on the spit each day: lamb on top of beef, on top of lamb, etc. At Covo, comparisons to Chipotle are unavoidable. You walk up to the counter, choose your vessel, protein, then topping. There are chicken, pork and vegetarian options available, but I opted for the standard-issue lamb-beef gyro ($7.50 for regular, $3.80 for mini). That familiar gyro meat texture everywhere else isn't present. Rather, Covo's is less rubbery, more fibrous with crispier heat coil-exposed nubs and end pieces. You know, what grilled meat actually tastes like. Pitas are made-in-house, too crisp along the edges, warm and soft in the center. This isn't some radical re-imagining of the gyro; it's one that ticks every requirement box on the checklist. (For the record, it's pronounced year-oh.) Covo Gyro Market, 1482 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-626-2660

Kevin Pang

Kevin Pang/Chicago Tribune
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