With Mediterranean classics made from scratch, GyroHouse causes a stir in Wilsonville.

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The two managers of GyroHouse are Ryan Tahi, left, and Ahmad Yaghi. Walking in the doors of GyroHouse, the new Mediterranean grill in the Wilsonville Old Town Square, customers are greeted with the savory smell of fresh herbs and spices imported from the Middle East. For owner Asem Sammam, bringing his recipes for beloved Mediterranean dishes to Wilsonville fulfilled a longtime desire.

"We actually had a large customer base at the original Beaverton location that have been requesting for years that we open on this side in Wilsonville, and we've seen most of those customers from that side bringing their families to this side," Sammam says.

When Sammam found out the previous tenant of the Old Town Square space — Itchi Teriyaki — was closing, he jumped at the opportunity and opened GryoHouse in late August. As the third location in the Portland metro area, the restaurant did a soft opening before redecorating and mounting its digital menu boards that play high definition video of the restaurant's signature dishes being made.

"It was quick," he says. "We took over from the owner and opened right then."

A lawyer by trade back in his native country of Jordan, Sammam says his love of cooking inspired his transition from lawyer to restauranteur.

"I've been doing restaurants for the last 15 years," he says. "This is something that I like to do, actually. I like to cook, so I wasn't happy and I found myself working in restaurants as managers until I worked my way up to being an owner. We have four restaurants now."

The packed parking lot and unsolicited rave reviews on social media speak volumes to the success of Sammam's home-cooked mantra. And with a fourth location that opened just this month in Sherwood, Sammam is thrilled with the public's response to GyroHouse.

"We have a very successful first location in Beaverton and we've been there for over eight years now," he says. "The quality of Mediterranean food is very healthy. It's a homemade, fresh food that I do from scratch. All of the hummus, the baba ganoush and even the sauces we do from scratch and we use the highest qualities of olive oil, tahini and garbanzo. Even the spices we import from overseas to get the same taste as we have back home."

For first-timers as well as Mediterranean aficionados, he recommends the restaurant's namesake, the gyro, hummus and baba ganoush, but he also recommends that people try the Greek Fries — fries with feta cheese and their signature spicy garlic sauce.

"I like that we're in Wilsonville and I would like to serve the community of Wilsonville," Sammam says. "I would like for the people who live and work here to come and try our food. I know for sure that we're a good fit for this community and people should just come to give us a try."

Contact reporter Claire Green at 503-636-1281 ext. 113 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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