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Making great Greek gyros is what they do
It all started because Andreas and Sheryl Pappas wanted good gyros right at home in Bremerton.
“I couldn’t find a gyro here or in Tacoma and didn’t want to go all the way to Seattle,” said Sheryl. “So, here we are.”
The couple have owned and operated the Greek Connextion in Bremerton’s Charleston District for the last eight years. When they first started, they took things slow.
“When we considered doing this, we decided to try and do festivals first and see if we wanted this much of a commitment,” said Sheryl. “We had a lot of encouragement from customers at the festivals to open a place near them.”
The walk-in shop, at 2717 Sixth Street, right near the intersection of Kitsap Way and Callow Avenue, has had a devoted following ever since.
“We have people come from Belfair, Kingston, Tacoma even,” said Sheryl. “It’s not limited to just the local people here.”
When you see Andreas, who goes by Andrew, carefully portioning out handmade doughs for pitas while Sheryl works on her homemade baklava, it’s not hard to understand why folks come from miles around to get their Greek fix.
Andreas was born in Athens and came to the United States at the age of 22 after serving in the Greek army.
“I never went back, other than to visit family,” he says.
In addition to the pitas and baklava, the shop’s tzatziki, hummus and chicken souvlaki are made from scratch. So, too, is the popular falafel, which consists of garbanzo beans, herbs and spices.
“That’s it,” says Andreas, shortly after declining to share what makes a perfect gyro. “If we tell you, it wouldn’t be a secret.”
Sheryl, though, says the key to all of their great food is using “the best quality products every step of the way.” The spiced lamb and beef for their gyros sandwiches, for instance, comes from popular Chicago-based Kronos Foods.
“We do as much from scratch as we can which limits what we can offer,” said Sheryl. “We just want to give a really good product for anyone that’s in the mood for a good gyro or falafel sandwich.”
The shop just started closing two days a week, on Sundays and Mondays, a couple of weeks back.
“I think our customers are fine with it and understand,” Sheryl said. “We’ve been here six days a week for so long.”
Be warned, though, that as a result of the new schedule, baklava is only available Wednesday through Saturday and not on Tuesdays.
“We make it a day ahead of time to soak up all the syrup overnight,” Sheryl said. “And it’s really, really good because it’s homemade and not the overly sweet industrial baklava.”
When asked what the best part of owning and operating a food business is, Andreas jokes, “Closing time and counting the money.”
The joke goes over well, but Sheryl is worried somebody might take it the wrong way and is quick to clarify.
“We meet a lot of awesome people here and a lot of our customers make us want to keep going with all of the nice things they say,” she says.
Sheryl goes on to say that she gets a lot of requests for catering.
“We don’t have the time or energy,” she says. “We might if we were younger, but we always have to decline.”