Denver Food Truck Grecian Gyros Express Serves Chicago-Style Greek Eats | Westword

It's a Family Affair at Grecian Gyros Express, Which Serves Chicago-Style Greek Eats

The Fotopoulos family ran restaurants in the Windy City for decades before bringing their culinary skills to Colorado.
Grecian Gyros Express hit the streets of Denver last May.
Grecian Gyros Express hit the streets of Denver last May. Grecian Gyros Express
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If a food truck needed an anthem, "We Are Family," by Sister Sledge, would be the perfect choice for Grecian Gyros Express. This new venture is a true family affair, with the entire Fotopoulos clan joining forces to bring delicious Chicago-style Greek cuisine to the streets of Denver.

John Fotopoulos is originally from Elmhurst, a suburb of Chicago, and he grew up in the restaurant industry. "My dad, Peter, and mom, Helen, had restaurants since the ’60s. Back in ’96, we decided to open up another restaurant called Rocky's Gyros, and it was me, him and my mom who were all partners in it," he explains.

John moved to Colorado in 2009, following his wife, Mahe, who grew up in the state. "We actually met in Greektown, Chicago, go figure. ... My parents and her parents are from the Tripoli area of Greece," he says.

"John came out here because we got married and started a family here," Mahe adds.

In 2011, his family leased their restaurant to another couple, but "they faltered, and I had to move back to Chicago to reopen it," John says.
click to enlarge Gyro and fries topped with crumbled feta and Greek oregano.
A Chicago-style gyro with a side of feta fries.
Chris Byard
After years of traveling back and forth to Chicago, John decided to sell the business in 2022. "I didn't want to get back into the restaurant business, especially the brick-and-mortar business, because the kids are young and I wanted more flexibility to be with them instead of working sixteen to eighteen hours a day," he notes. But a food truck offered more options.

It also provides a learning opportunity for his children. "The main reason we opened this food truck is to teach the kids work ethic, customer relationships and just learning the work," he says. "Pano takes care of the marketing. Dimitri helps with marketing and takes care of the cash register, and he's with me right now, cooking with me. So it's been a fun experience."

After having the truck fabricated and shipped from Virginia, the Fotopoulos family officially launched Grecian Gyros Express in May 2023. Utilizing family recipes passed down from his father, John emphasizes that his dishes are traditional and based on his family's experience in the Chicago gyros industry. From the tzatziki sauce to the gyros and souvlaki, everything originates from his family. Mahe's family also influenced a few dishes: She makes her homemade baklava, loukoumades and spanakopita based on recipes that she learned from her family.
click to enlarge bakalava and fried balls of dough
Mahe Fotopoulos makes desserts like baklava and loukoumades using recipes passed down by her mother and father.
Chris Byard
The star is the gyro sandwich. "This is not your typical gyro," John notes. "This is a Chicago-style gyro, where you get a ton of gyro meat on there, you get your homemade tzatziki sauce, onions and tomatoes."

"People really like the feta fries because it's something different and something unique," adds Pano. "People don't just want regular fries. Also, people love our loukoumades or honey puffs. You can't really find those here."

Dimitri adds, "Personally, I think everyone loves the chicken gyro sandwich" — his personal favorite — "and the baklava." The truck also serves falafel, salads and a pizza puff, which is a popular regional staple in the Chicago area.

One year into operations, the family is happier than ever and has learned a lot about the food truck business in the process. "The food truck business is not a brick-and-mortar business. ... You have to really plan ahead more than anything," says Mahe.

Despite any challenges, "we have grown and have established awesome relationships," she continues. "One thing I've learned doing this is I've been reminded that there are good people out there. People are amazing, and it's just really nice meeting so many different people and sharing laughs. ... We'll turn the speakers on and play Greek music, and people will dance. We make it fun; it's a whole family experience."

If you want to support a true family-run business and get your gyro fix, visit for the truck's schedule.
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