What’s in a name? Specifically, what’s in a restaurant name?
So when Afghan Chicken & Gyro opened in late 2017, we had a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Afghan Chicken & Gyro is located along Lancaster Avenue in South Reading. The small storefront shares a building with the Smokes Outlet & Vapor Shop. It’s not the most attractive location, but it does have off-street parking, and that always helps.
Inside, the restaurant is clean, but it feels sterile. This is, first and foremost, a take-out space. There are some booths and a few tables, but it was clear that there is not a lot of sit-down meals taken here.
Julie, Jakob and I arrived during what should have been the dinner rush and were the only customers (another person arrived later and sat at one of the tables while he waited for his take-out order). The television set in the corner was turned off, and the only ambient noise was from the kitchen where the staff had their own TV set turned up a little too loud.
We placed our order at the counter before grabbing a booth and waiting for the food to arrive. The good thing – and bad thing – about arriving on a dead night is that the warming table was empty so our food was prepared from scratch. That left us with a wait of about 15 to 20 minutes.
Everything was delivered on a bright red cafeteria tray, but conveyance aside, the food looked great.
I had ordered the lamb gyro. It was prepared with the traditional components – shaved gyro meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce.
There is no denying that this was a very good gyro. It was a little overfilled, but I’ll take that over one with a lack of filling. The lamb meat was flavorful. The pita was thick but airy. It all worked very well.
Guests can order just a gyro or make it a meal with fries and a can of soda. I made mine a meal, but I could have probably done without the fries. There was nothing special about them, just standard fast food fries. Yes, they filled me up, but I probably would have been full enough with the gyro.
The restaurant’s name, of course, is Afghan Chicken and Gyro. Julie has always been a fried chicken aficionado so that’s what she chose for her meal.
Her two-piece dinner was small – the drumstick didn’t have a lot of meat on it – and the flavor didn’t really stand out, but it was a solid fried chicken.
Chicken combos at the restaurant are served with a yellow rice. The rice was excellent with hints of multiple spices. If the chicken had been mixed in with the rice, Julie said she might have enjoyed everything even more.
I can’t help but feel that something was backward with their combinations. Rice feels like it would have worked well as a side for the gyro while the two fryer dishes could have been served together. Instead, things just felt a little mismatched.
The best part about a meal at Afghan Chicken & Gyro is the price. We got two meals for less than $15. It’s quite the steal for what was a very solid meal.
Afghan Chicken & Gyro certainly hit on the chicken and gyro, but I have to say that I would have liked to have seen a little more focus on the Afghan part. Yes, the meat is halal. But otherwise there’s no real connection to the middle east for the gyros, burgers and fried chicken.
If you’re looking for an alternative fast food take-out on your way home, then you should absolutely check out Afghan Chicken & Gyro.
But it’s not a place for your next date night and not a place to try a uniquely Afghan dish.
Service: Very Good
Afghan Chicken & Gyro
444 Lancaster Ave
Reading, PA 19611