UPPER EAST SIDE — A new pick-up window on East 96th Street is offering gyro and falafel sandwiches for $5 a piece.
Gyro96, a tiny 85-square-foot gyro shop at 141 E. 96th St., near Lexington Avenue, opened on May 9 with a large menu of sandwiches, salads, and falafel dishes based on a family recipe from Egypt, according to restaurateur Waled Haredy who owns the business with Inna Sobel.
The menu encompasses the favorites from Haredy's childhood, including a grilled chicken gyro plate for $6, a gyro sandwich for $5, a falafel wrapped with hummus, eggplant, fries, tomato, Egyptian pickles, cilantro, egg and tahini sauce for $8.
It also offers a Philly cheesesteak sandwich that Sobel swears is the best in New York.
Gyro96 also sells karkadé, a homemade Egyptian hibiscus iced tea slightly sweetened with honey for $3, and side dishes, like eggplant, pita bread and grape leaves all for under $3.
Haredy, 37, is hoping to fill a need in the neighborhood for meals that fit between fast food and a sit down restaurant, he said.
"In this neighborhood, there are not many options of food," he told DNAinfo New York on Monday. "Growing up in New York, I found that people end up eating fast food because it's the cheapest alternative to a sit-down restaurant, where they pay top price. I figured if I can get this down to a reasonable price I can get more people to eat and enjoy it."
He also said people understand that some businesses on the street aren't as clean as they should be. At the eatery, customers can get a full view of the kitchen, including its vertical rotisserie.
"People feel more comfortable in a clean place," he said. "You are entitled to see what you eat. What you see is what you get. It can be hard in a small place, but the more I spend time here, the more it feels cozy."
Haredy, a Riverdale resident, ran Habibis NYC on 125th Street for a number of years, and when his landlords raised the rent, he moved his restaurant to a food truck at an empty 14th Street lot for two years.
Then when a developer came in and took over that space, Sobel, who lives on the Upper West Side, encouraged him to open in a brick and mortar space.
Resident Bill Coleman said on Monday that he had eaten lunch at the new window every day for the past six days.
"I live right around the corner," he said. "I probably shouldn't say this but I can't believe these awesome chicken gyros are only five bucks!"