Dino's Gyros & The Crowned Egg

The owners of The Crowned Egg breakfast/lunch cafés in Chandler and Gilbert officially took over Dino’s Gyros, a popular fast-casual restaurant in Ahwatukee Foothills featuring Greek, Mexican and American dishes, on March 1.

The new name combines Dino’s Gyros and The Crowned Egg, and the menu reflects a scramble of both concepts as well.

Popular items such as the gyros, Greek salad, carne asada platter and beloved fried zucchini and onion rings are all still on the menu, even as the breakfast offerings have been expanded to reflect the new brand. The Crowned Egg is known for its Hatch chili specialties such as the green chili burrito, green chili skillet, huevos rancheros and chilaquiles.

He adds that the New Mexican dishes and carnitas have been especially well received in the Ahwatukee community.

Linares admits some favorites were cut so they can keep costs low while maintaining the best quality, but some items have been improved.

“We did away with frozen chicken tenders and we do them fresh here,” he says. “We bread them and fry them.”

Although The Crowned Egg’s other locations only serve breakfast and lunch, the one in Ahwatukee, at 1319 E. Chandler Boulevard near Desert Foothills Parkway, is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Breakfast, however, is served all day.

The restaurant, housed in an old Jack-in-the-Box building, was previously home to Eat Smart, which opened in 2019. Dino’s Gyros was the next to occupy the space, and the owner met Aguayo while shopping at Restaurant Depot. She mentioned she wanted to sell it, so he offered to buy it.

The interior’s gleaming white tables, cherry-red vinyl chairs and fluorescent lights still recall a fast-food ambiance, but the new owners offer full table service from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

Also, the Ahwatukee location is the only one with a drive-thru, although the menu for that and takeout is smaller than the one for eating in. It seats 60 inside, and there are three patio tables that seat four each. Meal prices generally hover around $10 to $12.

Linares and Aguayo initially went into business together with The Crowned Egg in Gilbert in April 2018 and then opened the Chandler location in August 2020.

Both had long histories in the restaurant business: Linares worked at Red Lobster for 10 years, mostly in customer service. Aguayo, meanwhile, had experience in the kitchen with a variety of cuisines, including Greek, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and New Mexican.

“So I knew a lot about the front of the house, he knew definitely a lot about the back of the house, and we merged our ideas together,” Linares comments.

Opening two new locations during the pandemic was challenging, Linares says, but “at the end of the day, we kept our heads down and went with the punches.

“Supply chain issues affected everybody. We try and just move past it. We try to find a solution to the problems we have. If we have to travel a certain distance to acquire something we know is going to bring a value to the experience, we will.”

For example, Linares explains, there is a certain brand of coffee creamer people enjoy, and if they have to travel a few more miles to find it, they will.

The duo came up with the name The Crowned Egg because they joked their eggs were so good, they were the king of eggs. They built their business on a simple formula of good food and good service.

“We want to give people the best value we can,” Linares states.

Dino’s Gyros and The Crowned Egg

1319 E. Chandler Boulevard, Phoenix