When Gyro Republic owner and founder Rehan Ranpuri first immigrated to America from India five years ago, he had not eaten many gyros. In fact, he said he had not spent much time in the kitchen at all until he began brainstorming the concept that would later become the create-your-own-gyro restaurant.

However, Ranpuri, who first worked in Houston in the retail industry as the owner of 25 Boost Mobile stores, said he wanted to diversify and build a brand around his newfound passion for gyros.

“I think gyros are an awesome type of food; it’s a beef and lamb combo that tastes good. I think very few people are exposed to it, so there’s a lot of opportunity for people to get to know this food and eat it and enjoy it.”

Prior to opening the restaurant, Ranpuri said he spent two months in New York City learning from gyro chefs and was able to take the best ideas from each of them. To perfect the restaurant’s three sauces, Ranpuri said he tried more than 500 variations.

He said the name Gyro Republic symbolizes the freedom the Subway- or Chipotle-style fast, build-your-own restaurant affords customers. Gyro Republic patrons select from a pita, rice or salad base, then add a protein—choosing from chicken, gyro, falafel or a combo—fresh vegetable toppings and sauce.

“So the idea behind [the restaurant] is Gyro Republic—the name itself says power to the people,” Ranpuri said. “It’s the power to choose. The build-your-own concept [allows] people to choose whatever they want based on what they like.”

The restaurant first opened in November 2019, and while Ranpuri said business is down 15%-20% of what it was precoronavirus pandemic, he’s feeling confident they will be able to keep their doors open.

“We are mostly targeting people that are going to Chick-fil-A, Whataburger or other fast-food places, so instead of spending $7 on burger and unhealthy food, you can really have a meal for $8 here," Ranpuri said.

In the next couple of years, Ranpuri is looking to franchise and add additional Gyro Republic locations.

“We are ready to expand and grow out,” Ranpuri said.