Pano's Big Boy: Calumet City, IL

Gyros are one of those foods that are sentimental to me. Not because there's even a tiny bit of Mediterranean blood in me, but because when I was growing up there was a little restaurant around the corner that served up really good gyros.

I grew up in the south suburb of Dolton, just steps away from the Riverdale border. At 144th and Indiana there was a small place that was first called Sammy's on Indiana. It later became Andy's Hot Dogs. It's one of this joints that serve a little of everything - hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza puffs, fries, polish sausages, chicken sandwiches, ice cream - and gyros. Really, they were the best gyros I have had to this day. Maybe that's the nostalgia talking, but I always loved when dad would go there and pick up a gyros plate with some extra pita bread and each of girls would make up our own sandwich.

Later when I was a teen the bus stop to our high school was at the corner in front of Andy's, so we'd get dropped off there and go in for some after school grub. Often there were 6 of us in a booth sharing one order of fries and they'd get tired of our antics.

Andy's is still there, but it's been quite a while since I've stopped in there for a bite to eat. I might have to do that soon.

Anyway, this post is on Pano's Big Boy in Calumet City. It reminded me a lot of Andy's. Same kind of menu and atmosphere. I happened to be driving through Calumet City recently at lunch time thinking about what I might like to stop and eat. I was thinking a light turkey sandwich or some soup, but as soon as I spotted Pano's Big Boy, I knew I'd have to get a gyros. My husband was at work that day and he really dislikes them, so I usually only get them when he's not home or I'm out running errands on my own.

Although I've lived in the south suburbs all my life, I've never had a meal at Pano's even though I'd driven by it many times. The gyros didn't disappoint and I was surprised by a few additions I haven't seen before. What we always ordered from Andy's had onions, tomato, thin cucumber slices and tzatziki sauce with meat and pita bread. Pano's had meat and pita with feta, tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions, peppers and olives. Never had one like that, but I thought they were some neat little additions.

I was very satisfied with my gyros and would definitely return again. Give them a try if you happen to be driving by on Burnham Avenue.

Pano's Big Boy
732 Burnham Ave.
Calumet City, IL