Business Focus: Pita Pit

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Business-Taking-OrderPhotos by Melanie Schoettle

Pita Pit was founded in Canada in 1995 on the idea that people want a fresh, healthy alternative to fast food. Today, there are over 240 locations in the United States and over 580 around the world. While fresh and healthy alternatives sound great, the first thing many people ask when they hear about Pita Pit is—what is a pita? Well, in the words of Huntsville Pita Pit owner Elizabeth Florer, a pita is simply a rolled sandwich. More specifically, it is a Lebanese flatbread, steamed soft and opened like a pocket to be stuffed with whatever proteins, veggies and sauces you desire. Business-IngredientsThe combinations of ingredients offered at the Pita Pit are endless. While some of the menu options may be new to you on your first trip, if you mention that it is your first time, you will have the staff’s full attention and patience to answer any question you may have. In just a few minutes, I learned that gyro is a combination of beef and lamb, falafel is a meatless protein with a slightly nutty flavor, and tzatziki sauce is a sour cream or yogurt based sauce with simple flavoring like cucumber.

Florer prepares a local favorite, The Chuck, on the grill

Florer prepares a local favorite, The Chuck, on the grill

Every Pita Pit around the world has the opportunity to create a pita recipe of their own, called “The Local” on the menu. The Huntsville Pita Pit has two. The Sammy is the sweet option; The Chuck is the spicier option, and by far most popular pita offered. Named for Chuck Norris, the pita starts with some chicken, bacon, Ancho Chipotle, hot sauce, and bar-b-que sauce on the grill, to be topped with your choice of vegetables and cheese, rolled up and enjoyed. The Chuck is only on the menu in Huntsville, but Florer has gotten calls from Pita Pits across the nation asking for the recipe. It seems local customers want their favorite pita, even on vacation to other states. There are plenty of pita options that include meat, like prime rib sliced and grilled in house to your liking. Not all the pitas have meat, though. There are several tasty meatless options for those who are vegan or vegetarian, and the staff is proactive about preparing your food in a way that is satisfactory to you—everything from changing gloves to cleaning the grill before starting a spicy black bean or falafel pita. They are even willing to take vegetables from new bins to prevent any cross-contamination with meats or undesired dairies. Each menu item is offered in three options: a regular size pita, a smaller petita, or a fork style (salad) option for anyone looking for a gluten free meal. Fresh cookies and several smoothie options are also on the menu.

Business-PatioPita Pit, located at 2100 Sam Houston Avenue, has been in Florer’s hands since 2012, and the staff and customer base she has fostered in the last four years is one of loyalty. It is so rare that she has to hire someone new that she doesn’t bother advertising for help, but instead has a list of people who want to work for her if an opportunity presents itself. The employees of Pita Pit are all very helpful and don’t mind answering any questions about the menu or pita making process you may have. Business-KitchenLong-time customer Emily Williamson, who recently moved to Livingston, visits every time an errand brings her to Huntsville, and calls Pita Pit one of Huntsville’s “hidden treasures.” “It’s like the show Cheers (but with no alcohol) for the rapport and recognition you find here. They know you. They know what you want and how you want it, and it’s nice to go somewhere with such great customer service,” she says. Plus, her son loves to come in to play with the games on the rack in the corner. “Every time we pass by, the kids start asking to come here. They love it.” The soft sitting area occupying one corner, combined with the rack of games, fun mainstream music, free wifi, and the big, outdoor patio area make Pita Pit a great place to meet up with friends or co-workers for a bite.

Comfy couches, a rack of games, music, and free wifi add to the welcoming Pita Pit environment

Comfy couches, a rack of games, music, and free wifi add to the welcoming Pita Pit environment

The local shop has such a great atmosphere, you’ll want to visit Elizabeth and the staff again and again, but there are other options you can use to get your hands on a delicious pita. Delivery is available for everyone in a four mile radius, or you can call ahead and pick up your order to go. The Pita Pit app can help with both of those options. They also cater events with pita trays or with box lunches that include a pita, chips, a cookie, and a drink. For those who call in orders often, you can write your order down on a sheet and put it in ‘the book.’ When you call after that, all you have to do is tell them your name, and your pita will be made to your specifications. The employees follow Elizabeth’s example and are friendly and put the customer first.

Business-ChalkboardFlorer’s two daughters both work with her at Pita Pit, and her eldest Kat has been helping co-manage, making this restaurant a family affair. Elizabeth puts in a good forty (sometimes plus) hours a week and enjoys being able to assist the customers with their orders while making new friends. She says one of her favorite parts of having bought the Pita Pit has been being able to help mentor her young staff and be there when they have questions about things like balancing checkbooks and addressing envelopes. “We have a good product. I think it’s just the unknown that keeps most new people away, you know? People don’t know what a pita is, but I feel like if they give it a try, they will enjoy it.” Come see Elizabeth and the rest of the staff! The hours for the summer are from 11-8 Monday through Sunday. Regular hours of 10-10 will resume the weekend SHSU begins the fall semester.

Contact Info:

2100 Sam Houston Ave
Huntsville, TX 77340
(936) 439-5230
pitapitusa.com

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