Food

Komi Is Bringing Back Its Vegetarian “Happy Gyro” Pop-Up for October

Chef Johnny Monis's $60 meatless menus are inspired by his family's Greek-American restaurant.

Chef Johnny Monis. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Here’s some happy dining news: Mediterranean fine dining restaurant Komi is bringing back its vegetarian “Happy Gyro” pop-up for the month of October. The $60 set meal (plus a $50 optional wine/beer pairing) will be served Tuesday through Saturday starting October 1; tickets go live September 30 and will be available on Monday each week. 

Husband-and-wife owners Anne Marler and chef Johnny Monis first experimented with the meatless takeover of their Dupont Circle destination in June. While Komi can be seen as an elegant homage to Monis’s Greek family roots—and a special occasion meal that starts at $165 per person—Happy Gyro is a playful nod to the chef’s local upbringing. His parents, Greek immigrants, owned La Casa, a casual sandwich and pizza shop in Alexandria where Monis worked during the summers.

“The concept is basically vegetables masquerading as Greek-American carryout joint classics, so gyros and souvlaki and pizza and steak-and-cheese and hoagies,” says Marler via email. “All of the stuff Johnny grew up eating/making/serving at the shop his parents opened in the late 70s.” 

Happy Gyro is also a sign of the current times—Marler says the couple eats “mostly vegetable-centric.”  Wines will lean natural, as they do at Komi, while beer drinkers might see some fun, spontaneously-fermented brews from Pen Druid Brewing in Sperryville, Virginia. The multi-course menu will reflect new fall produce, but a few crowd favorites are making a comeback—namely the signature vegetarian gyro with homemade pita bread.

Komi’s regular prix-fixe will return November 5. As for a third appearance—or permanent home—for Happy Gyro? 

“Happy Gyro is all about having fun and making ourselves and the people under our roof happy,” says Marler. “As long as that’s the case, I wouldn’t put it past us to bring it back from time to time, in one fashion or another. At 15 years into our Komi lifespan—16 in November—we’re thinking a lot less about permanence and a lot more about continuing to evolve and finding ways to turn all of our crazy ideas into reality, even if they don’t fit onto the menus at Komi or Little Serow.”

Komi/Happy Gyro. 1509 17th St., NW

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.