PHILADELPHIA, PA — For over 40 years the Ampatzis family have been serving millions of Philadelphians their family’s signature pizza, cheesesteaks, wings and so much more. In 1969, Pete and Effie Ampatzis emigrated to Philadelphia from Athens, Greece. After a couple years working as a tailor in a local factory, Pete decided to take the big leap to a new endeavor. Years of hard work and dedication taught Pete the ins-and-outs of the restaurant business.
Pete’s hard work paid off. Forty-two years ago in 1980, Pete officially opened the doors to the first Pete’s Famous Pizza in the Logan Square section of Center City Philadelphia. The fast-casual pizza restaurant was an immediate success, and it became a Philadelphia mainstay in no time. Soon after, Pete’s Famous Pizza was awarded the highly coveted “Best of Philly” for Best Pizza by Philadelphia Magazine. Pete’s Famous Pizza today operates a chain of fast-casual pizza restaurants throughout the Philadelphia region.
Fast forward to 2017. The Ampatzis family traditions continue as Pete’s grandson Peter Kada proudly continues his grandparents’ legacy expanding the family’s restaurant portfolio to authentic Greek Gyros. Peter Kada and his Wife Trish Hunt-Kada, the Founders of Moustaki Authentic Gyros were on a family vacation in Greece, when he and his wife decided the time was right to bring the true authentic Greek Gyro back to Philadelphia, the Greek Way. Since 2017 Moustaki Authentic Gyros have been serving the same authentic Greek Gyros that have been passed down from generation to generation. “My wife Trish and I were ecstatic to bring Moustaki Authentic Greek Gyros to Philadelphia,” said Peter Kada. Moustaki Authentic Gyros is a fast, healthy, casual dining experience for the whole family. All of their traditional meats are hand carved, cooked, sliced, and grilled in house to perfection, served with their homemade Tzatziki, Fiery Feta, or Moustaki Mustard sauce. “We make our Gyros, Souvlaki, Dips, and Sides consisting of roasted lemon potatoes, zucchini and eggplant served in pita or on a platter the Greek way. Enjoy! Kali Orexi!,” Kada explained. Their Pizza is handcrafted using fresh ingredients and dough made fresh in-house.
Greek gyros are served in a pita, stuffed with tomato, red onion, a few French fries, and a healthy dose of tzatziki (a Greek sauce or dip made with yogurt and cucumbers). In the U.S. lettuce is sometimes added to the mix, and the addition of French fries is usually only found on the side. Authentic traditional gyro meat used in Greece and Moustaki Authentic Gyros is lamb, pork or chicken and where the addition of French fries is served inside the Gyro itself. In Greek, the word gyro or γύρο (pronounced YEE-roh) means “turn or revolution,” and that’s just what this fabulous cone of pork does on an upright rotisserie grill. Other versions of gyro adapted from the Turkish döner kebap or Middle Eastern shawarma are never made with pork, only lamb and/or beef (sometimes ground), goat, or chicken.
The gyro became popular in the U.S. in the 1970s, thanks to the growing Greek population in New York City. “A sandwich that is said to have originated 2,000 years ago; the gyro’s origins are believed to be traced to soldiers from Alexander the Great’s army, who skewered their meat on long knives and cooked it by repeatedly turning it over an open fire,” said Kada. Greek gyros have a long and fascinating history. They have always been popular in the Mediterranean countries but gained popularity in the United States in the early 20th century. Greek immigrants began emigrating to the U.S. shortly after World War II. As they settled in America, the Greek population increased dramatically, and gyros followed them. This growth in Greek-American communities coincided with the American fast-food revolution. “Fast-casual Greek food continues to gain popularity in the US; we hope the gyro will one day be equally as popular as that of hot chicken or tacos in the United States,” said Kada.
Recently the gyro was named among four Greek delicacies that have made it to the top 50 foods of the world for 2022 according to TasteAtlas, (Four Greek Delicacies Among the Top Foods of the World for 2022 (greekreporter.com) an experiential travel guide for traditional food. “Demand for Greek street food like the gyro continues to trend upwards in the fast-casual dining segment of the restaurant industry,” Robert Katz, Managing Director and Senior Franchise Advisor with New Jersey based Franchise Development Company, The Stanwood Group.
“Greek Street Food’s popularity and customers’ growing desire for portable options, gyro establishments see huge gains by promoting healthful, customizable menu items that guests can easily take to go,” said Katz “We are excited to partner with Peter and his family in developing and launching their emerging Moustaki Authentic Gyro franchise system,” said Katz, a franchise developer and consultant of 22 years.
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