Popular Gyro Restaurant Makes It to The North Hills
Set to open this fall, the Ross location is Mike & Tony's Gyros' sixth eatery.
To the owners of Mike & Tony’s Gyros, customers are like family. So, when you walk into any of their Greek eateries, you instantly become a Makripodis.
“We have the best, most loyal customers,” says Helen Makripodis Devlin, who runs the local chain with her parents, George and Mary, siblings Tasso, Jimmy and Amalia and a small army of aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws. “Family businesses are the heart of every community.”
Fifty years after the original spot opened on the South Side boasting the “freshest lamb in town,” the company is about to unveil its sixth restaurant at 2240 Babcock Blvd. in Ross. Other locations include Downtown, Bridgeville, Moon and Dormont.
The former Kretzler’s Tavern — another beloved family-owned business that closed in December after 71 years — has been transformed inside and out by the Makripodis clan. It’s expected to debut this fall with a full bar, local beers and a menu bursting with Greek specialties and classic pub fare.
The traditional gyro is the best-seller across the board. Even actor Joe Manganiello, a Mt. Lebanon native, mentioned Mike & Tony’s Gyros in a 2012 issue of Vanity Fair. He also talked about Primanti Bros. in the same interview, so it should be noted that the North Hills location of that Pittsburgh-based chain opens in McIntyre Square on Sept. 27.
Speaking of celebrities, may I recommend the Georgie Mak, a hamburger loaded with gyro meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo and stuffed between two grilled pitas. It’s named after Devlin’s dad, who emigrated from Greece at age 17.
I usually opt for the M&T fries, which are fresh cut and topped with gyro meat, feta cheese, buffalo sauce and ranch dressing with house-made gyro sauce on the side. If you want to make your meal even more Pittsburgh-y, swap out the fries for deep-fried pierogies.
There are options for veggie lovers (I can house their hummus platter faster than you can say Kalamata olives) and dessert fans (the bougatsa is a deep-fried Greek custard pie dusted in cinnamon sugar).
For Devlin, a North Hills resident, the Babcock site is her baby — and that’s in addition to her four actual children, who enjoy greeting patrons at the door. They’re pictured with their cousins on the menus.
Before taking over the gyro empire in 1983 from cousin George Takis, who named the business after his sons, the Makripodises ran other enterprises, including an ice cream shop. As a kid, Devlin would stand on a milk crate behind the cash register to ring up orders.
These days she serves as general manager of M&T’s, but she also handles its social media accounts and has its take-out system down to a science. All of the restaurants offer to-go grub, but 1414 E. Carson St. is the only one that doesn’t have dine-in service.
During my interview with Devlin at the under-construction site in Ross, her dad was bustling around the enormous facility putting the finishing touches on the interior next to his cousin who flew in from Greece to help out.
Service, to customers and to each other, is in the Makripodis blood.