The name of Ari’s Gyros & BBQ Ribs was the first thing about it that threw me for a loop. I tried to go into the restaurant and discovered it was drive-thru only. This was my first experience ordering a half-slab of ribs through a car window. The strange surprises did not stop there though.
In addition to a drive-thru, there was a walk-up window, but that seemed to be overlooked by one customer. Instead of using the walk-up window where there was no wait, he chose to trail behind a car in the drive thru lane four feet in front of my own.
After approximately 15 minutes, my boyfriend and I reached the first menu posted and found the options overwhelming and unfocused. It was a strange mix of Greek cuisine and American traditionals with a few extras. The different categories included burgers and dogs, classic sandwiches, chicken wings, gyros, wraps, seafood and freshly made salads. The side options also sported a wide range from hummus with pita bread to pizza puffs.
My boyfriend and I decided to stick to the dishes in the restaurant’s name. I ordered a half-slab of ribs which came with a side of fries, coleslaw and a piece of garlic bread. It cost $8.95. My boyfriend went with what he considered a safer option, a gyro with a side of mozzarella sticks. The gyro cost $4.95 and the mozzarella sticks were $3.95.
The prices were reasonable and as varied as the items, with sandwiches and hot dogs, ranging from $2-5. Bigger dishes remained under the $10 mark, other than the full slab of ribs which cost $15.75. The menu also offered options to order dinner for groups of four, 10 and 20 people.
After approximately 25 minutes in a line of about 10 cars, we received our food from a friendly woman in a blue cap with “OPA!” written in white. We were pleased by the aroma. Back at my apartment, this strange experience came to its final test. It was time to eat.
My expectations were low, so they were easily exceeded with my first taste of the thick ribs that were slathered in sweet homemade barbecue sauce. I’m a sucker for barbecue and the sauce was satisfactory but nothing spectacular. The ribs were mostly tender but dry in spots. Overall, it was a good slab of ribs, a little above average, but certainly not the best in Huntington. My boyfriend was pleased with his gyro, but admitted it didn’t stand out from any other gyro he has had.
The sides were sub-par. The fries lacked any crunch and tasted as if they hadn’t been seasoned at all, not even with salt. The garlic bread was decent, but it was hard to judge properly since it had been placed on top of my ribs. Garlic and barbecue don’t mix well. The coleslaw tasted as bland as it looked. The breading on the mozzarella sticks had good flavor, but it was overdone. The inside of each stick was missing about half the cheese it should have had. Luckily, the excessive amount of grease that dripped out with each bite filled the void.
The only side we enjoyed was the one we didn’t order. We found an extra order of onion rings in our bag that had just the right amount of crisp and a good breading-to-onion ratio. They must have thrown them in to make up for what the other sides lacked.
In the end, the scattered menu had a typical result, nothing was exceptional and some things were especially disappointing. I don’t see myself returning to Ari’s for the food. But if you order a side, stick to the onion rings.
Ari’s Gyros & BBQ Ribs is located at 201 S. Jefferson Street in the building that used to house Malta Burger. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Michelle Embree is a junior English major. This review reflects the views of the writer only.