The Great Gazali's
The 'G' in Gazali's stands for great, Greek and gyros. I started my Greek eating adventures in Des Moines at the Olympic Flame but that has since changed. Gazali's now holds title of the best gyros west of the Des Moines River.
Gazali's is nestled next door to the Varsity Theatre near Drake University, right on the corner of Dog Town. Inside you'll find brightly colored walls, four hilarious donkey pictures (all with fun names) and of course, great Greek food.
If you're stopping by, you might even be lucky enough to meet one of the owners — MJ Gazali. He has numerous acting and restaurant endeavors and loves chatting up customers about his vision for Gazali's.
His plans: MJ will soon be opening up to the retail space next door, providing Drake students and other community members with not only a bigger space to eat lunch, but a stage to play live music and enjoy free WiFi.
Like I said, that will be coming soon. In the meantime, the food is what I'm here to talk to you about.
Gazali's offers pita wraps, salads, specialties, vegetarian options and some really delicious sides like Greek salads and homemade hummus.
If you haven't had a spicy gyro ($6.95), this is the place to have one. The signature dish features feta, gyro strips, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a cool cucumber sauce all wrapped up in a soft pita. The jalapenos and hot sauce are what make it spicy. The hot sauce is a treat because it's sriracha sauce mixed with a special blend of peppers that MJ gets from back home.
Another noteworthy item: the spicy garlic chicken gyro ($7). This was also an outstanding wrap. The pita bread was so soft and warm and the chicken was tender with just the right amount of garlic.
If you're looking for something light and fresh, go with the Mediterranean specialty wrap ($7.95). It's very similar to the veggie but with grilled chicken. They don't skimp you out on sauce either. I recommend keeping a stash of napkins on hand or else you'll dirty your precious phone trying to take a #foodporn pic.
If you're not into gyro meat, the veggie wrap ($6.50) is also a winning choice. Crunchy cucumbers, crispy lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, red onion and feta are loaded into a pita wrap. The best part of the veggie wrap was their house dressing. I wouldn't mind a bottle of it to take home. If you're looking for sides, try the creamy pasta salad ($2.50).
Gazali's has a lot going for it right now. With fresh food, enticing flavors and a community-connected owner who takes great pride in his food — Gazali's should hit the top of your list for restaurants to try this spring.
Find it: 1205 25th St.
Hours: Monday - Tuesday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Wednesday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday noon - 4 p.m.