For 30 years, Tony Konstandinu was a regular at events around Turtle Creek, peddling Tony’s Gyros at church and community festivals. But when Tony retired to Florida earlier this year, he didn’t want to leave high and dry the folks who’d come to love his food.
Enter Thom Gulish.
Gulish, a graduate program coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University and friend of Tony’s son, worked an event with Tony in June. After a brief time training with Tony’s assistant, Ron Gielarowski, Gulish and his wife, Katherine Baverso took over the operation, renaming it Gyros N’at.
His first order of business was to expand the business beyond Turtle Creek.
“Most of these church and community festivals have the same gyro guy come every year, so I just started to look for other events, like arts and music festivals,” he says. “Our first weekend, we had gigs at the Brew Gentlemen and the Polish Hill Arts Festival.”
Response was so positive that the Brew Gentlemen asked Gulish to be their regular on-site food vendor every Saturday.
“People have these businesses for years and struggle to find regular gigs, so to have a weekly one at a brewery is awesome,” Gulish says. “With me having a full-time job, weekends are really the only time I can do it. A lot of weeks I’ll set up by 11 or 12 to try and catch some lunch business.”
Strictly speaking, Gyros N’at isn’t a food truck. Like local mobile food favorite Blowfish BBQ, Gulish operates out of a small tent with his equipment on-site. Gulish says that he’d like to find a way to run the tent exclusively through solar power by next spring, and he credits PGH Taco Truck owner James Rich with helping him learn to navigate Pittsburgh’s mobile food scene.
Though the owners and the name have changed, the signature food hasn’t.
“The gyro hasn’t changed a bit. We still make it the ‘Tony way,’ but we’ve added a bunch of vegetarian menu items,” Gulish says, adding that hummus, tabouleh and stuffed grape leaves all regularly appear on his menu. Just don’t expect to find a salad wrapped into your gyro.
“Lettuce is used by lesser gyro makers as a filler. We use that space for meat. And we don’t offer an extra meat option because we already use as much meat as the pita can hold,” Gulish says. “And people shouldn’t feel like they need to say “gee-roh” when they order. It’s a gyro. We’re yinzers.”
In addition to Gyros N’at’s weekly appearance in Braddock, follow them on Twitter and Facebook for a complete schedule of events.