Messini is Greektown's gyro king. Known citywide for their hulking pita wraps, this homey Mediterranean restaurant is an affordable staple for Danforth locals and visitors alike.
A quick takeout service with a family friendly sit-down environment, the establishment has made a name for itself since it first opened in 2002, and to this day maintains its Greek Swiss Chalet-style appeal with fast service and ultra-comforting meals.
Though Greek cuisine no longer makes up the disproportionate majority of restaurants on this strip, Messini's owner Marino Dafnas remembers a time when there were over 30 restaurants serving plates of rice, souvlaki, and baked potatoes.
Back then, there were a lot of clubs too, he says, and Messini's was one of the only restaurants that stayed open until 6 a.m. to fuel the Ouzo-dazed patrons of Danforth's nightlife.
The clubs have long gone, and after 13 years of operating into the wee hours of the morning, Messini now closes up shop at a sensible 11 p.m., on most days.
But walk by the restaurant's stall during the neighbourhood's annual Taste of the Danforth festival, and you'll find that Messini's reputation still reigns supreme, with lineups for their gyros dwarfing others on the block.
It's just $5 for a pork gyro, and $6.50 for chicken or pitas filled with a mix of both.
Arriving in massive pitas stuffed with french fries, onions, tomatoes, and garlicky housemade tzatziki sauce, these hulking wraps will easily fill you up for lunch or dinner.
All meat is tender and shaved from the spit; lamb and beef gyros are available for $8 as well.
You can pair that meaty, carb-filled meal with a classic Greek salad ($7 for small, $10 for large) of feta cheese, green peppers, olive oil and kalamata olives.
Greek fries are notoriously addicting, and Messini's version is a satisfying $5 plate of round potato slices baked with feta cheese on top.
Larger plates are still incredible affordable: a chicken souvlaki dinner portion ($12.45) comes with a skewer of grilled chicken and your choice of french fries, roasted potatoes or rice.
The chicken souvlaki ($12.45) is just as tender, and the roasted potatoes are perfectly greasy. Each dish comes with an overflowing container of tzatziki.
Despite the fact Messini gets packed during dinner with patrons hankering for a hearty gyros, you won't have to wait too long to get your order. Service here is lighting fast and meals come cheap and quick.