Sam’s Kebab Gyros, Hwy 70S at Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN
Taking a break in the middle of a 13 hour shift a couple weeks back I set out on an extended journey to find something decent to eat, my only options in relatively close proximity being Krystal, Whitt’s, and the fancy restaurant at my work where even with my 50% discount I still can’t justify eating. Working deep in the outskirts of the city, practically on the county line, I had to do a good deal of rural excursion style driving before locating a prime suburban business district. Like a landing strip the options unfolded before me; Captain D’s, KFC, Hardees, it wasn’t looking any better than where I’d come from. In desperation I shifted my focus towards locating a Wendy’s, tricking myself into believing that could make me happy. The good lord had his eye on me that day my friends, and he batted that fast food demon in front of the subway with a casual nonchalance only a sentient being could have. There, off to my left, tucked snugly between the TJ Max and CVS, the similarly bold red lettering managed to capture my attention, ‘Kebab Gyros’ emblazoned on the structures beige plaster façade for all the world to see. An obstacle presented itself; I was in the wrong lane. I could just go a little further up and flip around, I thought to myself before remembering the difference in size between my vehicle and the majority of others on the road. I clicked on my left blinker (which I later discovered to be broken) and forced the comical smidge of a car next to me to stop in its tracks, tooting its kazoo-esque horn, as I eased my way across the lane into the parking lot.
I ordered a Gyro, what else, agreed to have everything available stuffed inside, and watched hesitantly as Sam (I would presume) sculpted what looked to be a rather tiny, neat, and compact sandwich. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, it seemed too delicate and precise compared to the Gyros I was used to, but lone behold it proceeded to thoroughly impress me. The meat was sliced painstakingly thin and came packed in with generous helpings of taboule, lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce. I’m not sure how it all fit in there really, an optical illusion perhaps. They had me sold, I returned the next day to try the chicken sandwich and grape leaves, both of which were soaked in oil and brutalized my stomach for the remainder of my nighttime shift, pointing cars in the general direction they might find someplace to park. Had they sold me? Was I rushing this? Did things get serious too fast? I think so. I took three weeks to think it over, and returned with slight reluctance to try their Gyro sandwich lunch special.
Sam’s assistant sprinkled a layer of seasoning salt across my basket of fries, glancing at me first with the shaker poised readily in his hand, looking for an expression of approval to which I obliged, taking my seat after hitting the iced tea dispenser. Positioned in view of all patrons is an oversized widescreen television, blaring CNN at considerable volume. It demands the attention of all in the restaurant, acting like a debriefing station, subjecting all customers to a barrage of inconsequential information you have no choice but to absorb along with your food. Their story on young conservatives brewing up trouble at a gay rights rally proved to be upsetting, leaving me with hate for all involved parties by the end of the segment, a feeling which seemed to linger in the air around the entire restaurant. New customers would walk through the door approaching the counter with an irritable attitude and disgusted expression, for which the television vibe could be the only thing responsible. I shoveled in the crispy fries and the Gyro that seemed somewhat less full than the previous one, emptying the contents of my tray into the tzatziki sauce smeared trash can, and escaping the medias hypnotism. My final opinion on this place has still yet to fully form, one part of me would like to move on and leave it a thing of the past, while the other part knows theres really no better place to eat and can clearly see future CNN stories transfixing my thoughts while food involuntarily finds its way to my mouth. Time will tell.