The Place: The Original Greek operates from a mobile kitchen in a bright blue food truck that can be found in Wynwood and various locales two hours south or north. The blue and white Greek flag flaps by the logo depicting a trio of Greek islands in a white sea done like a woodcut print. Order at the counter and take your food to go or stand and scarf your gyros at one of two high-top tables. The truck is out mostly in late afternoon and evening. There are plans to move into a permanent location with an expanded menu before the end of the year, with the truck participating in events like the Wynwood art walk and roundups and available for on-site catering.
The History: Greek-American owner Michael Kritikos served in the Greek army to honor his heritage. His parents are from a village on the island of Karpathos between Crete and Rhodes in the Aegean Sea. They emigrated to Cleveland in the early ’60s and both worked in factories until opening street food stalls around the city. Michael had his own stand in the worst part of town when 13, so he learned street smarts (a family spy kept an eye on him). He studied international marketing at the University of Akron and did some import export business but ended up helping a good friend open a Mediterranean restaurant in the Little Italy of Cleveland. In 2011 he came to Fort Lauderdale to run an exclusive restaurant and club. When the food truck trend hit he invested in a custom-built truck with a kitchen he designed. He also owns the OG Meat Distributing Co., delivering 60-pound stacks of hand-sliced meats for gyros and other sandwiches to restaurants in Florida and the Bahamas.
The Food: All items served are made from mother Joanna’s recipes passed down through the generations. Gyros are the specialty, with stackers slowly rotating on vertical electric rotisseries. The outside of the meat is sliced vertically in thin shavings once the outside is crisp, with lower parts basted with juices running off the upper part. Gyros include pork, chicken, lamb and falafel with pita bread, red onion slivers and diced tomatoes with thick yogurt tzatziki with dill dusted in oregano and paprika, all good with skin-on Greek fries with crumbled feta. Spreads include chickpea hummus and Kalamata olive tapenade with grilled pita triangles. Dolmades are pliant grape leaves stuffed with lemony rice with tzatziki. The spanakopita is a golden coil baked in the truck’s oven just before opening. Of course there’s a big fat Greek salad and walnut baklava sticky with honey syrup.
You Didn’t Know This: There is evidence from the Mycenaean Greek and Minoan periods that Greeks were the first to create gyros. Gyros, pronounced “yeeros,” means “to wind up” in Greek. Originally, the term referred to intestines wound around a spit and broiled. Gyros comes from the Greek word “gheereezo,” meaning to turn a stacked pile of thinly sliced meat on a vertical spit, traditionally pork or chicken. Surprisingly, in Greece you will not find lamb gyros, as lamb is reserved for cooking at home.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food blogger and writer and creator of Mermaid Sea Salt and Indian Spiced Toffee, available at Cream Parlor, 8224 Biscayne Blvd.
If You Go
To find the Original Greek Food Truck: Check the schedule of where the truck will be each week at originalgreek.com and on social media
Hours: The truck is usually open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. but opens earlier for special events.
Prices: Gyros $10, Greek fries $5, spreads $8, spanokopita $8, Greek salad $10, baklava $5