At Montclair Place mall last month for a morning event, I decided to eat lunch before leaving. A trip up the escalator to the Moreno St. Market food court revealed a new-ish spot, Doner & Gyros.
Gyros are a longtime favorite; it’s typically a mix of lamb and beef, cut from a spit and placed in pita bread. It’s the Greek version of the Turkish doner kebab, which is likewise sliced from a vertical rotisserie. Doner really has been popularized by Berlin, which has a lot of Turkish immigrants and which turned doner into go-to fast-food meal.
Upland had SpireWorks, which didn’t last. Montclair may be the only other Inland Valley city with doner. Intriguingly, Doner & Gyros is based in Dubai, where it has multiple locations, and just two so far in the U.S., with Montclair being the first and Houston the second. (Reader DebB left a comment nine months ago on my SpireWorks writeup saying she’d just been to Doner & Gyros. She is far ahead of me.)
Styles are Chicago gyro, Berlin doner or classic wrap, with beef, chicken or falafel as choices. They also sell salads and bowls.
I got the Doner Grand ($9), which was the Berlin style, as a combo ($3.25) with fries and a soda. The food was ready after a moderate wait.
The pocket-like bread was similar to SpireWorks but otherwise unlike any pita bread I’ve ever had, thicker and chewier with rough edges. The gyro meat came alongside lettuce, tomatoes and onions. It was perfectly acceptable, although to be honest I ate it without really thinking about it. The flavors just didn’t stand out to me. It’s possible the halal meat didn’t have a lot of flavor or simply that I was too hungry to care. But give the sandwich this, it disappeared soon enough. The double-fried fries were crispy and pretty good.
Unusually, an employee (the manager?) came out to the communal seating area and checked her customers. She asked me what I thought and if I had any recommendations. I didn’t have any ideas, but as a customer I was a little surprised to be asked.