The best part about ordering a gyro is listening to how everyone pronounces it differently. Gyro looks like it sounds like “jy-roh” or “gee-roh”, but it’s pronounced “yee-roh,” like the word “hero,” but with a “y” sound in the beginning. Arby’s gives its spin on three different gyros, and while each one is delicious, one does stand out as the “hero.”
Arby’s has traditionally always been a bit of a rule-breaker and a pioneer in the fast-food world. While everyone else is serving hamburgers, they are serving roast beef sandwiches in various styles, making it a fan-favorite for more than 50 years.
Arby’s was also one of the first fast-food chains to offer a “lite” version of its menu items in the early 1990s, with low-calorie, low-fat, and low-sodium options on its menu.
Staying true to its pioneer spirit, Arby’s created its version of the classic Mediterranean sandwich, the gyro, in 2006 and again in 2014 for a limited time. But as of 2016, gyros are a permanent menu item. Arby’s now sells more than 27 million gyros per year, which is more than any other restaurant in the US. What an oddly-brilliant idea.
Where Did the Idea for Gyros Come From?
Greece, of course! Traditional gyros originated in Greece, and are widely popular in the US. A classic gyro consists of lamb and beef that is cooked on a rotating spit, seared, and sliced. The meat is then placed inside a pita bread with slices of tomatoes and onions, lettuce, and tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is a creamy yogurt-based sauce that usually contains cucumbers and Mediterranean spices. Arby’s is a leader in providing high-quality meaty sandwiches, so why not give the gyro a fun, fast-food spin?
Arby’s Three Gyro Options
Arby’s offers three variations of the gyro – Roast Beef, Turkey, and Traditional Greek. Besides the difference in the meat, the gyros include the same ingredients – shredded lettuce, crispy red onion slices, fresh tomato slices, and cold, creamy tzatziki sauce. The meat is seasoned with a blend of Mediterranean spices, which are also sprinkled across the top of the sandwich. And the whole sandwich is folded up into a warm piece of pita bread.
The Roast Beef Gyro features a pita bread filled to the brim with Arby’s famous thinly sliced roast beef. The Turkey Gyro is crafted with Arby’s classic thinly-sliced roast turkey. And the Traditional Greek Gyro is filled with seared lamb, cooked on a traditional gyro spit (a rotating metal rod stuck through a piece of meat to cook it slowly over low heat). Note that Arby’s doesn’t cook the lamb on a spit on location, but the meat is sourced from a supplier who cooks and cuts the meat this way.
Arby’s Gyro Review
All three gyro options have the same innards except for the meat. Choose thinly-sliced roast beef, turkey or gyro meat – a blend of ground beef, ground lamb, and Mediterranean spices. So, which Arby’s gyro comes out on top? Let’s find out.
1. Taste and Texture [5/5]
Arby’s gyros are a creative spin on a traditional Greek sandwich, so while they are not necessarily “authentic,” they are surprisingly close, especially Arby’s Traditional Greek Gyro. The meat in all three gyros is abundant, juicy, flavorful, and generously seasoned.
If you’re looking for a low-calorie version, I would recommend choosing the turkey. If you’re a super-fan of Arby’s classic roast beef, ordering the Roast Beef Gyro would offer a distinct flavor difference you’ll enjoy. And if you’re looking for something out of the fast-food norm, the traditional Greek version is the supreme choice.
The Greek seasonings complement the flavor of the meat very well. But the real flavor winner here is the tangy Tzatziki sauce, authentic Greek dip made with cucumbers, yogurt, dill, and garlic. This sauce is commonly paired with gyros, kebabs, and other Greek salads and sandwiches.
The pita bread is warm and soft, but also thick and hardy – it has to be strong to hold so much meat inside, right? Some locations seem to offer a flatbread that is a little harder, which makes them prone to cracking or falling apart. But the regular pita bread holds together well.
2. Are they Healthy? [3/5]
Of the three gyro options, the Turkey Gyro is the healthiest choice with 470 calories. Arby’s tends to pack their sandwiches with an overload of meat, which is great for some diets, not so much for others. The Traditional Greek Gyro is made with lamb meat, which is abundant in protein. Consuming lamb also provides you with some vitamins and minerals, but it’s high in fat and cholesterol. The fresh vegetables balance out the health factor, and with less grease and oil than other fast food sandwiches out there, this is a good middle-of-the-road sandwich option as far as health and nutrition go.
While Arby’s offers gluten-free variations, the franchise doesn’t guarantee that these menu items are completely free of allergens because of the differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, product assembly at the restaurant level, and/or season of the year.
Arby’s also offers an entire ingredient list that you can review here.
Arby’s Gyro Nutrition
Roast Beef Gyro
- 550 Calories
- 29 g Fat
- 48 g Carbs
- 3 g Fiber
- 24 g Protein
- 470 Calories
- 20 g Fat
- 48 g Carbs
- 3 g Fiber
- 25 g Protein
Traditional Greek Gyro
- 710 Calories
- 44 g Fat
- 55 g Carbs
- 4 g Fiber
- 23 g Protein
3. Are they Worth it? [5/5]
I love a good sandwich, and I especially love it when I find one that stands out from the crowd. Arby’s gyros are surprisingly tasty and so unique when comparing them to other fast food menu items.
As far as the price, Arby’s offers a great deal. Though they vary slightly by location, one gyro is $4 and some change. However, for a limited time, Arby’s is offering two gyros for $6, which could easily feed two adults.
It’s a filling sandwich with an abundant amount of juicy meat, fresh veggies, and a cool sauce, so it is a complete meal on its own. However, you could order it with a side of Arby’s curly fries and an iced tea to make it the perfect afternoon meal.
Arby’s hit the mark with its gyros. Keeping in mind that they are not authentic in the sense that they are not prepared traditionally as they are in Greece, the flavors are similar. These sandwiches are more inspired by gyros than copied, but the big plus is that we don’t have to travel as far to enjoy one.
So, what do you think? Which is your favorite Arby’s Gyro version? How would you compare it to an authentic Greek gyro? We’d love to hear your experience and comparison in the comments below.