An ‘explosion of flavors’ is how executive chef Kevin Culmer describes Tropical Gyros the ‘Carib-Greek fusion’ take-out restaurant which has been attracting a strong following since its official launched last May.
Chef Culmer believes that consistency is key to customer loyalty. “One of my philosophies as a chef is that the food should taste the same the tenth time as it did the first time. I believe in consistency. I’m really humbled by the response we are getting to this product right now. People call us and tell us how much they enjoy the foods and I’m humbled by that because it goes to my purpose of being a chef. I want people to be happy when they eat. My greatest satisfaction is to see people happy when they eat something I have prepared,” says chef Culmer.
Tropical Gyros blends fresh fruit with menu offerings which include jerk chicken, jerk pork, sweet fire shrimp, barbecue salmon, cracked lobster, grilled veggie and the three cheeseburger gyro. We are going to offer a coconut curry lamb gyro, a lemon chicken gyro, a cajun beef gyro and a cracked conch gyro. We actually use a panini as opposed pita bread. Most greek gyros are made with pita bread. We use panini bread which is more Italian,” says chef Culmer.
“We recognize the crunch of the economy right now. We want our clients to get value for the money that they are spending. We don’t want people to feel like they are begin cheated.”
Chef Culmer whose first stint and last stint in an actual brick and mortar restaurant was Naughty Johnny’s, said that after leaving the bistro, he had no idea what his next pursuit would be. “I was the executive chef at Naughty Johnnys and I will always be grateful for Mike Pikramenos for giving me an opportunity to present a full menu and show people what I could do. Mike gave me the opportunity to create the menu. Chefs are artists. I don’t want to paint someone else’s painting, I want to create my own. When I left there I had no idea what I was going to do but I knew it was going to be something related to food. I had booked a booth at the World Relays and Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. I was going to do ribs, chicken and maybe roasted corn with a little twist. The Junkanoo Carnival people called me and said that they need to present them with a sample the next day and I was no where near ready. I had been thinking about something and I had bought these flat breads. I went to the store and bought some things. My wife and step kids came home and I told them to try them and it blew them away. My step daughter came up with the name Tropical Gyros because I used the fruit and that’s how it came into being. In earnest we launched it in May of last year,” said chef Culmer.
Chef Culmer said that the business began with just a delivery option Tuesdays – Fridays and as the business continued to grow and become more organized it expanded to eight hours of service per week 11 am – 5pm. In April, Tropical Gyros moved into its current outlet at Munroe’s landscaping Gladstone Road, a garden cafe setup. “We have been rewarded by customer loyalty. Our main focus is customer satisfaction. We go the extra mile.”
Chef Culmer says that he has his sights set on a Palmdale location with the ultimate goal of launching a franchise. “My ultimate goal is to franchise. People may say that’s ambitious. I feel that we have a great product and a healthy option for people. The only thing deep fried option is the cracked lobster. Everything else is grilled. We want to encourage people to eat as healthy as possible.”