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REVIEW: Ari’s Gyros and BBQ Ribs-an entertaining but disappointing drive-thru blunder


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.

5 comments to REVIEW: Ari’s Gyros and BBQ Ribs-an entertaining but disappointing drive-thru blunder

  • Lee Ann Gerrard

    Michelle Embree,
    This is in regards to your recent published article in regards to Ari’s Gyros and BBQ “drive-thru blunder”. Factual and educated information appear to be lacking in your article. First, it appears that you are not from this area, nor are you familiar with this former Malta Burger location which has a history of being different restaurants at different times without an indoor dining area. It also does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how to read enter and exit signs along with the proper locations of such.

    It appears that you are reflecting your views and critiquing a newly recent opened restaurant in this area, that has a successful history in other locations in Indiana, prior to opening in Huntington, IN. Fort Wayne also has had a sucessful chain of retaurant with similar menu items that has been very sucessful over the years.
    If you are going to critique a new restaurant, perhaps you may need to acquire proper credentials along with appropriate experience in doing so, before printing your opinion and views. You also neglected to allow an appropriate time span for a newly opened restaurant, to work out their “kinks” so to speak as an offical restaurant critic would do so, and also not critique in the first pase of grand opening. This reflects the writers views only.

  • Michelle Embree

    Thank you Lee Ann for your suggestions. I will keep them in mind if I write any restaurant reviews in the future as my goal in writing for the University’s newspaper is to gain the experience you speak of. I was not overly familiar with the previous restaurants that occupied this location so I was surprised at the fact that it was a drive-thru, but I did not count that against the restaurant. The anecdote about the man was meant to be humorous, not negative toward the restaurant. As for waiting for them to work out kinks, I did not know this was etiquette. This review reflected only my experience at this particular restaurant within this chain at this time. It was an honest reflection on my experience, not what everyone’s experience will be. I urge all readers to keep that in mind as you read because your experience may be radically different.

  • Kris Burgess

    I would just be scared of what I was getting if my half-rack of ribs was under $10.00.

  • Anonymous

    For as critical as Lee Ann is attempting to be here, her comments are in a disarray and don’t make sense.

    For instance- what exactly is “Factual and educated information appear to be lacking in your article” supposed to be directed at? she proceeds to address an issue, understanding the entrance situation, that doesn’t even tie in logically to the original statement. The assumption she makes as well is that if you’re not “originally from the area,” you have no room to speak. that’s simply bizarre.

    The idea that someone has to have “credentials” to speak on the quality of a restaurant or fast food place is such an ignorant thing to say. I can speak from experience that Lee Ann doesn’t possess the credentials she’s rambling on about, so the entire statement is bordering on painfully hypocritical. And as a waitress who consistently accumulates complaints for her poor service, she has no room to speak. This is just embarassing.

    Lee Ann, perhaps you shouldn’t spend time on college newspaper websites if you’re going to get so pointlessly critical about silly things.

  • Anon

    I find the fact that you were quite focused on fries, mozzarella sticks, and onion rings to be quite odd since the menu is filled with middle eastern gems that are not available anywhere else in Huntington… We are finally blessed to have an offering such as this and give altitude oomph! to local fare. What about the tzatziki? It is a must!!! Have you ever been in an actual city? If so, you would have been familiar with a drive thru and order window-
    Please expand your horizons!

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