The sky over Oklahoma City has been comically foreboding since last Friday. The cold drizzle hasn’t stopped coming down as our favorite area businesses close their doors one by one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A strange feeling of uneasy fear that multiple generations have never really had to deal with, at least in this country, sulks over me and, I’m guessing, you.
It all resembles a scene from that Cormac McCarthy novel…you know the one, right?
Yesterday, I uncomfortably discussed funeral paperwork with my retirement-age mother, something I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about for another twenty years. Needing something to take my mind off these thoughts of impending doom, I walked down to one of the few restaurants still open, Sweis Pita Bakery, 2115 N. May Ave.
Even though I’ve never been to this locale of theirs, the Sweis eatery in the food court at Penn Square Mall, for over 25 years, has been my favorite Mediterranean joint in town, offering the best gyro and fries combo around. When I used to manage various movie theaters at the mall, almost everyday Sweis was my go-to meal; a pang of regret suddenly hit me, thinking that they might not make it out of all this.
This bakery, however, is their homebase and, living just a few blocks from it, seemed like a fitting enough place to put the bookmark on these Lost Ogle restaurant reviews, at least for the time being, at least until this virus is somewhat under control.
The menu is much smaller here, basically offering gyros and that’s about it, but that’s alright. As the spinning rack of spiced meat mesmerized me—I’ve always wondered how could I get my hands on one of those vertical broilers for the home—I ordered the House Chef Salad ($6.99), the Gyro Sandwich ($4.99) and a can of imported Vimto ($1.49) soda.
After popping a few fresh dates, complete with a sweet skin that made for a healthy enough appetizer, I hunkered down with the House Chef Salad; a house I wouldn’t mind being sequestered in, this bed of greens, tomatoes and onions was covered in so much gyro meat and even more feta cheese, it’s like no chef salad I’ve ever had, complete with an oil and vinegar dressing and multiple slices of pita bread on the side.
But if this is the last restaurant I’m going to eat in for a while, it’s their otherworldly Gyro Sandwich that I will gratefully go down with, clutching it tightly in my hungry hands. Featuring more of the same—except stuffed inside their wonderful homemade pita bread, of course—it’s the loving abundance of Sweis’s gyro meat and remarkable tzatziki that makes this meal forever memorable.
Normally I skip dessert, but this time, I’m leaving with a small triangle of their fresh Baklava ($1.79), the pure honey and chopped nuts resting on my tongue as I step out the door. Scared but satisfied, I coated my palms with a drop of hand sanitizer; two weeks ago, back when it was all so frustratingly simple, I was planning next month’s reviews and…
As I was in the middle of this minor breakdown, I saw a chicken try to cross the road, a living punchline for my amusement. It made me smile, then laugh, for the first time in a few days. Standing on the sidewalk with the light rain running down my face, we’ll make it through this, I thought. We’ve got to. Cómpralo ya!