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Gyro Guys Mediterranean Grill is back in business, opening the doors of its new location at 912 N Coast Highway in Newport last Thursday to a flood of excited patrons.
Staff had so many customers clamoring for a taste of authentic Middle Eastern food during its grand reopening Thursday that the restaurant was filled to its reduced 25 percent capacity, and the parking lot was packed with people waiting for to-go orders.
“It was very, very busy,” M.J. Jasm, staff member and nephew of owner Mohamud Alshemary, said Friday morning. “People were excited to see us open back up. We ended up pretty backed up, about an hour, but we’re excited to be back. We should also be able to open back up to 50 percent capacity this weekend, and that’s great news.”
The new location, previously home to Flip ’N Chick ’N, has undergone extensive renovations over the last few months to make ready for Gyro Guys reopening.
The restaurant now seats a maximum of 42 people with booths and a bar, which is reduced by 50 percent currently to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. The new location provides ample parking space, whether you’re picking up or dining in. It also has restrooms and plenty of room to expand.
“We did a lot of work over here, and we’re glad to bring back the taste of the Middle East here,” Alshemary said. He added that the restaurant was too constrained at its previous location on the Newport Bayfront, but the new building has opened up a myriad of new possibilities of what it can bring to Newport.
“It was a small location, a much smaller place. Our customers were complaining there was no parking lot. Even if they just called in to pick up their food they couldn’t find a place to park and come get it. There was nowhere for us to have a loading and unloading zone,” Alshemary said.
With more space to work with, Alshemary plans to expand in ways he couldn’t at the old spot on the Bayfront. He’s applied for an alcohol license and, when approved, plans to apply for Oregon lottery machines as well. Eventually, he plans to add a hookah bar in the back and create an outdoor seating area to expand the restaurant seating. Alshemary said he would also like to hold events like weddings or birthday parties at the location.
“Most restaurants in the Newport area are seafood and are working for the tourists. My restaurant is Mediterranean, and we do kosher slaughter meat like lamb, beef and chicken. Many other restaurants use regular oils, while we use olive oil,” Alshemary said. “We’re here for locals and might be the only ones serving Mediterranean food on the Oregon coast.”
The full menu will be returning and has been expanded with things like kebabs, Mediterranean drinks, yogurt, ice cream, Turkish coffee, tea and a menu of weekly, specials. The restaurant's signature dish is still its lamb gyro, served as a sandwich, over rice or with a salad.
“Our food is Greek and Mediterranean food, 100 percent. We use olive oil 100 percent, most of our veggie stuff is organic, and we have a vegetarian menu that is 100 percent veggie,” Alshemary said. “We serve lamb, beef and chicken as well. We pay extra for kosher meat because we care both for the animals and the humans who eat.”
Alshemary and his family were inspired to open a restaurant while they were vacationing on the Oregon coast. While visiting Newport, they realized that the closest place with Mediterranean food at the time was an hour away in Corvallis.
Before they first opened in 2017, Alshemary and his family had prior experience serving Mediterranean from food carts in Portland, their recipes handed down through the family from generation to generation.
Gyro Guy’s full menu can be found online at gyroguysgrill.com and on its official Facebook page. The restaurant is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.