Traveling Gourmand – Glory Bound Gyro Co. (Tuscaloosa)

First, a quick note: I’m trying out new themes. I’ve had several people say the coloration of the previous theme was just awkward, and I kind of agree. So, I’m changing it… unfortunately, most of the themes on WordPress lean toward use of pictures, which I don’t do, and require me to pay to change coloration. This current one hosts no color differentiation for links. Which is idiotic. But the coloration is better than grey on black, so I’m sticking with it for now. Likely, I’ll just have to shell out the $30 ($30?! It used to be $17! Ugh.) per year to get access to the CSS customization options and have someone whip me up something pretty. (I may have changed it by the time you read this so this paragraph is pretty pointless.)

…well, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these segments. Possibly because I eat absolutely nowhere new. But I’m bringing it back for this (and hopefully other places once I eat there once or twice). There’s a relatively new place in downtown Tuscaloosa on the corner of Greensboro and University, below the Twisted Martini where Brown’s Corner once sat. They call themselves a Greek restaurant with a Southern twist. They are the Glory Bound Gyro Co., the restaurant that my second place winning chili got me a $25 gift certificate to go to.

Incidentally, I think my two chilis split my votes… but I’m okay with that. This prize was way better.

Owned by the same people that own Mugshots, Glory Bound is a small chain insofar as it has a second original location in Hattiesburg, Miss. As you might be able to discern from the name, their specialty is the gyro, which someone with limited descriptive powers might be inclined to call a Greek taco. Really, a gyro is, traditionally, a lamb and beef seasoned meat mix with vegetables and tzatziki sauce (a sauce made primarily of yogurt and cucumber) wrapped in or held in a folded pita. Kinda like a taco.

While gyros are Glory Bound’s specialty, of which they serve something like 20-plus varieties, they have many other dishes. The first time I went, I noticed they had shawarma. Those that saw the summer blockbuster “The Avengers” may recognize that as the dish Iron Man wanted to try once they took care of business. From what I understand, however, Glory Bound’s shawarma is a bit different than what you might get elsewhere. Where Wikipedia tells me shawarma is actually the meat placed on the vertical spit and carved off, which I’ve seen used to typically create the beef and lamb mixtures for gyros and other dishes, Glory Bound’s shawarma is a bit different. It comes on rice pilaf, which has bell peppers in it I believe, and is covered in their shawarma sauce. I asked today what that sauce was, and I was told it’s a cream sauce of some kind. I forget what specifics the waiter mentioned the sauce had, but it tastes like a creamy cheese sauce of some kind. It’s tasty either way. The dish also came with sauteed zucchini and squash, and eight small slices of pita with a flavor of hummus, of which they have eight (with a ninth served special today).

I feel it says something when I have no idea what I’m eating (shrimp and beef shawarma) and still devour it entirely. Even more so, it says something when I DO know what I’m eating (squash and zucchini, and also hummus of which I ordered the spicy pepper), know I normally hate it and devour it entirely anyway.

Today when I went with my family, I had their most popular dish, the pepperjack gyro. This is a dish where the Southern twist comes out in full force. Their gyros, served with some tasty, flaky and crispy spiced cottage fries, come in a whole bevy of weird twists, such as the Italian gyro. This gyro comes with pepperjack cheese sauce and crispy bacon. And it was delicious. My family being there, they decided to try to spoil me. They ordered an appetizer (which I think was actually my mom spoiling herself as she and dad ate most of it), the cheese rolls. Completely different than what you’re thinking, they’re kind of like fried mozzarella sticks. They’re feta, pepperjack and cream cheese wrapped in bread and fried and served with a tasty pepper jelly that has just a bit of a kick. The cheese is very melty and mild enough to not be offensive while still maintaining a flavor.

They also let me order a dessert, something I don’t usually do. I ordered what I called (from the description) dessert nachos. In reality, they’re the Glory Bound Favorite, which I’m pretty sure is just their Pita Delight dessert with two scoops of ice cream. It’s lightly fried pita chips covered in drizzles of cinnamon and caramel (and sugar, I think?), served with two scoops of some rather delicious ice cream. I think it was vanilla bean, as the vanilla flavor stood out quite a bit. The dessert is definitely one that’s big enough to share.

As for the venue, there are several TVs most often showing sports of some kind. It doubles a little as a sports bar in that way. It offers your typical chain restaurant level of volume, unless there’s a football game on and a fan in the building. Then things can get shouty like they were with LSU vs. Alabama. The only problem I’ve noticed with the venue thus far is the Twisted Martini upstairs. My older sister and mother are both allergic to cigarette smoke, and the stairs leading to the Twisted Martini are open. So, at our original table, we could smell the cigarettes pretty heavily, and we had to move. But the first time I was there, I never noticed any smell like that. I can’t say if that’s a common thing or not.

Service was good and food came out quickly both times, and if you get a to go cup, you’re given a plastic Glory Bound emblazoned cup to keep. All in all, it’s a rather solid restaurant. On Tuesdays, they have a $5 gyro deal that my $10 remaining gift certificate and I will be using at least once. And they also offer a decent military discount (though I don’t know if that was promotional or what).

If you’re looking for a new place with a Mediterranean menu, I’d put Glory Bound at the top of my list.

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