I traveled to Boones Creek in Johnson City with three friends to visit Pizza N Gyro, which emerged victorious in the recent Pie Wars III: Dawn of the Dough.
Pie Wars is an annual event sponsored by Young Professionals Tri-Cities.
This year’s benefit was held Jan. 20 at The Charles in downtown Johnson City and raised funds for the Children’s Advocacy Center. A total of 10 local establishments competed for the top honor. Pizza N Gyro faced some stiff competition from such pizza places as Schmuck’s, Scratch Brick Oven and Main Street Pizza Co.
Understandably, we were eager to try this relatively new restaurant for ourselves. The eatery is located in a small strip mall located conveniently close to the Boones Creek exit off Interstate 26. The interior of the eatery is uncluttered. There are only five tables, each capable of seating a party of four. Tile floors, beige walls and light wood paneling give the dining area an airy feel. There’s a large framed motto — “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” — displayed on one wall and a large screen television mounted in a corner of the dining area.
Customers can pick up carryout orders at the front counter and place orders at the same location. The eatery’s Pie Wars trophy, incidentally, is also on display at the front counter. We obtained some paper menus and claimed a table so we could scan the offerings in an unhurried fashion.
The menu is fairly basic, offering a selection of gyros, hot oven subs, pasta, pizza and calzones. There’s also a listing of appetizers and side orders, which include such items as Chicken Wings, Cheese Sticks with Marinara Sauce, Grape Leaves, Onion Rings and Hummus.
We wanted to try the Hummus, but the restaurant was temporarily out of this appetizer. Instead, we placed two orders for the grape leaves. Each platter featured a half-dozen Grape Leaves stuffed with minced meat, rice and spices. The Grape Leaves were served on a bed of lettuce and accompanied by a tomato slice, kalamata olives and a couple of pickled pepperoncini.
We enjoyed this appetizer, which helped whet our appetites for the main meal. With assurances I could try the pizza ordered by one of my friends, I considered some of the other options. I was tempted by the Homemade Meat Lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan and Lamb Gyro Platter before I ordered the Greek Spaghetti.
Of course, the friend ordering pizza chose a large version of the pie that helped the eatery claim top honors at Pie Wars — Italian Chicken Garlic Supreme. My other two friends chose the Chicken and Lamb Gyro Platter and a Chicken Gyro Sandwich.
All the meals, save for the pizza, came with Greek Salads. Other entree salads listed on the menu include a Chef Salad and Antipasto Salad.
Our salads were served ahead of the main meals. They consisted of an ample amount of Romaine lettuce accompanied by red onions, kalamata olives, tomato wedges and a heaping portion of feta cheese. Dressed with house Greek dressing, these tangy, fresh-tasting salads were enjoyed by all.
Our main meals arrived shortly after we had finished our salads. Every dish looked and smelled great.
My Greek Spaghetti consisted of a generous amount of noodles tossed in a light tomato sauce with red and green bell peppers, chives, parsley, marinated chicken and feta cheese. This dish, too, impressed me with its fresh, flavorful taste.
My dining companions with the gyro sandwich and platters had nothing but good remarks about their dishes.
Of course, the pizza was the hit of the meal. Each member of my dining party got to sample this delicious pie, and we all agreed that we could see why it won the Pie Wars. This pie features an absolutely delicious white sauce along with succulent grilled chicken, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and Italian herbs and seasonings.
The hand-tossed crust is of medium thickness and is nice and chewy. Overall, this sensational pie is simply a masterful melding of some fantastic flavors.
Of course, it also made me want to return for future visits to sample some of the other specialty pizzas, including the Greek Pizza, All-Meat Supreme and Veggie Supreme.
Patrons can also customize their own pie with various toppings, including pepperoni, sausage, salami, ham, beef, bacon, olives, onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, jalapenos, spinach, pineapple and linguica, which is a type of Portuguese sausage.
All pies come in medium and large sizes with a choice of white sauce, red sauce or no sauce.
Pizza N Gyro offers Baklava and Cheesecake for desserts, but after such filling meals the members of my dining party decided to skip a concluding sweet.
To find out for yourself how Pizza N Gyro claimed the top prize in Pie Wars, plan a visit soon. Let them know they came recommended and congratulate them on their victory.
AT A GLANCE: Pizza N Gyro, 3043 Boones Creek Road, Johnson City. 929-2929 or 929-2928. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Entrees range from $4.99-$12.99. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available. Limited delivery available.