Tony Dragonas Food CartA month ago I went to Tony Dragonas' food cart to get a chicken gyro. While I knew that all of New York calls it a JAI-row, I insisted on calling it a YEE-ro, as I'd been taught that this was the correct pronunciation. When it was my turn I said, "One chicken yeero please." Before I could do anything about it I heard, "One chicken hero, coming up." Oops.

Today, I went for another one and my friend suggested I just call it a chicken pita. Hmm, good point. Then I realized that the word "gyro" is broken in the Mark Hurst This is Broken sense.

The most import aspect of ordering your food is properly conveying what you want. While I might impress a Greek man with a true pronounciation, saying "yeero with tzatziki" instead of "chicken pita with white sauce" will probably confuse the other 95% of servers. This seems especially true at a streetcart where speed and price are their two greatest assets.

Cultural heritage may be worth preserving, but not if I get my chicken on a hero instead of a pita. More broadly, it's often worth sacrificing something that benefits those in the know to help the general public. A parallel in web design would be the question of semantic mark up. In this case, <b> is to "yeero with tzatziki" as <strong> is to "chicken pita with white sauce". The first tag is more concise but could be confusing, while "strong" is more easily recognized by those who are new to HTML.

Really, how you order your food is a "know your audience" issue. Try ordering a hoagie outside of Pennsylvania and you'll see what I mean.