For 17 years, Robert Tanner was better known as Gyro Bob, operator of the beloved food cart that served Kent's hungry — and often tipsy — masses till long after last call. It's been his life since he was 19.
But these days, Gyro Bob has gone mobile: He traded his cart for a full-sized truck last year and took it to the streets of Greater Cleveland as Street Sensations.
At the summer season's first Walnut Wednesday, the weekly food-truck gathering in downtown Cleveland, office types dressed in skirts and blazers are pouring out of nearby buildings a full 15 minutes before starting time — and Tanner is ready for them, efficiently serving up sandwiches and gyros while keeping an eye on fresh-baking bread in the oven he installed in the truck's cab.
All the bread he serves is baked fresh on site. "That really makes the difference," he says.
One of his signature cheese steaks, served on that fresh Italian bread, will run you $8 — but there's no scrimping on portions here. Gyros, sausage sandwiches, and carnival fries are also available.
For now, Tanner is content to see where the business takes him, though he is considering a move from his home in Akron to the Cleveland area in order to keep things rolling here. When he'll get around to that, he has no idea.
"There is no free time," he says with a smile. "There is always something to do." — Justine Stump