2 Free Gyros Sandwiches: Tasty Bite Marks 20 Years Of Business

MINOOKA —Who doesn’t love a delicious tasting, mouth-watering gyros? This Saturday, for 10 hours, or while supplies last, the Minooka Tasty Bite restaurant along Ridge Road will give away free Gyros sandwiches. This marks restaurant owner Emre Kok’s way to say thank you to his loyal customers to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Tasty Bite in Minooka.

If customers purchase one gyro sandwich or platter, they get one gyro sandwich for free. The maximum number of free gyros sandwiches per customer is two, explained Kok.

“It will be all day long,” Kok explained. “If we run out, we run out. There will be a limitation of a maximum of two. I didn’t want companies to order” hundreds.

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There’s Only 1 Tasty Bite And It’s In Minooka

Tasty Bite opened in Minooka in 2004. Although there had been a similar sounding restaurant in Joliet on West Jefferson Street called Tastee Bites, the Minooka restaurant was never affiliated with it.

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Minooka Tasty Bite is at 438 W. Mondamin St., one of the main anchors of the Parker Square Shopping Center. Tasty Bite has 582 Google Reviews, averaging an impressive 4.6 stars.

Kok said he selected the gyros sandwich for the anniversary giveaway for a couple of reasons. Above all, the gyro is his top-selling sandwich.

“It’s to promote our gyros meat quality,” Kok explained. “We use the top-notch, Kronos, and we’re also trying to promote our homemade Tzatziki sauce.”

Kok said that Tasty Bite, like many restaurants, overcome two major challenges to remain in business.

The first came in 2008 when the economic recession happened. The second storm came in 2020 when COVID impacted all indoor dining restaurants.

Tasty Bite does not have a drive-thru window. Customers order inside the restaurant, where there is plenty of seating. On the other hand, many of the customers prefer takeout.

Kok is proud that Tasty Bite has made it for 20 years as a standalone, locally owned and operated restaurant. Originally from Turkey, Kok moved to Minooka as a teenager, and graduated from Minooka Community High School.

When he arrived in the U.S., he didn’t speak the English language.

Tasty Bite Owner Achieves American Dream

Determined to achieve the American dream, Kok found work as a dishwasher at the Tasty Bite.

“I started here in 2011,” Kok pointed out.

He worked hard and became fluid in English. He rose through the ranks, becoming the restaurant store manager and, finally, owner of the Tasty Bite restaurant in 2016.

He has been the Tasty Bite for eight years and counting. Today, Kok speaks fluent English and owns a house in nearby Channahon.

He said his friends who own the Minooka Collision business have been a great source of inspiration for him to reach the American dream as a small business owner.

“You can be a small business to survive. You don’t have to be a multi-million dollar company,” Kok said. “We’ve been through the recession in the 2000s and then Covid. With everything that has happened in the last two decades, Tasty Bite was able to survive.”

Tasty Bite is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It’s closed on Sundays.

Kok stays active in the community and customers know that they can approach him when he’s out and about.

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“I bump into customers at the Jewel-Osco, and I call them by their name,” Kok said.

How Many Gyros Will Tasty Bite Serve At Saturday’s Celebration?

“We will project around maybe 1,000 pounds of sandwiches. It could be more, it could be less,” Kok explained. “It will be a limited menu for Saturday. Gyros, Italian beef, hot dogs, but we won’t be doing a full menu that day due to (food) storage purposes.”

What helped Tasty Bite last for 20 years?

“The consistency of the quality,” Kok answered. “Whatever we do, we keep everything top-notch. No low-grade suppliers. We use Red Hot, Vienna Beef and Kronos. The key is the product, but also the dedication and service and hard work. I’m also loyal to my customers to supply them with a product they are used to.”

Tasty Bite Owner Contemplates Opening Another Location

In recent months, the Minooka shopping center has welcomed a new Chipotle Mexican Grill, plus the new Roosty’s Chicken N Shakes — which is owned Emre Kok’s brother, Kerem Kok.

Despite having the two new fast-food restaurants within walking distance of Tasty Bite, Emre Kok said that Tasty Bite continues to thrive.

“I have variety here, and I have an established business here,” he noted. “So far, we’ve still been very busy, and we’re doing a lot of catering for graduation parties.

“Eventually, I want to go to a second or third location. Maybe in the next few years we will be opening our second location.”

Kok said that when he expands, he will probably open closer to Coal City or Ottawa, rather than near Joliet.

“For now, it’s just a thought,” he stressed. “If the opportunity comes, we will jump on it.”

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