Abe's Pitaria - 32 West Park Avenue, Long Beach NY 11561
LIRR to Long Beach
On my way back from Long Beach last week, Dan urged me to visit Abe's Pitaria--a Greek take-out joint famous for falafel and gyros. Having worked in its Wantagh location back in High School, he's sort of biased, but after trying it, I certainly know what he's talking about. Abe's also happens to be owned by the brother of Dan's dearest childhood friend, Matt.
Abe's is a take-out joint, which is pretty obvious as soon as you step inside--no frills in terms of decor but it works for them.
I think that the best thing about this place is the location--it happens to be right across the street from the Long Island Rail Road, therefore getting plenty of foot traffic from beach-goers. Although random passerbys are common, I observed that Abe's has a loyal following. The place was never empty and every time someone came in, they seemed to really know the staff and the staff knew them--it felt like a trusty neighborhood hangout.
The menu offers all of your favorite Greek/Mediterranean staples such as gyros, falafel, spinach pie and such. I was in the mood for something substantial so I ordered a beef gyro. Quite delicious and one of the best I've had in a while. Here's why...
Beef Gyro Sandwich - Dan warned me about the amazingness of this gyro. The secret lies in its untraditional sauce, made up of tzatziki mixed with barbecue sauce. It sounds weird and it has a slightly pinkish hue but once that sweet tanginess hits your tongue, you won't look back. This was by far my favorite aspect about the gyro--the incredible flavor that the sauce brought. I also loved that they put feta right on the gyro. I happen to love feta and in Astoria, it typically doesn't come with the gyro unless you ask for it. I loved it and it melted nicely into the tender meat. The pita was also excellent and looked like it was whole wheat.
Although I didn't have any room for their famous falafel, I might try it next time in a sandwich. Dan still hasn't stopped raving about it!
Service and Cost:
The service was full of personality. Aaron, Abe's owner is quirky, spunky and not afraid to show how much he loves his job. His interaction with his staff was endearing, as they all seem to sing their customers' orders to one another. They laugh a lot and seem like they have a jolly good time, which rubs off on patrons. It's a fun and positive place to visit.
The prices are reasonable and while you might find a better deal on Greek fare in Astoria, the quality of food at Abe's is worth the extra bucks. My gyro and drink set me back around $8.