Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pita Pit

Jerome, the blurry individual, eats with great concern.
Pita Pit is Jerome’s favorite restaurant. So, when I let him know that Pita Pit is a chain, he insisted we review it next. I suppose this anecdote would make more sense if I covered the criteria we use for choosing which restaurants to review. There are only two: the restaurant must have a dine-in option, and it must be a chain with locations outside of Oregon. Pita Pit, a Canadian company with 350 locations, fits the bill.

The first Pita Pit opened its doors in 1995 in Kingston, Ontario, which is apparently someplace in Canada. It was founded by John Sotiriadis and Nelson Lang. In all my research, I was unable to find any special corporate mythology about Pita Pit. This will likely be its undoing.

Looking at its website, Pita Pit positions itself as a low-carb alternative to burgers, pizzas, and submarines. Judging from the nutritional facts (which it is not legally required to be honest about), the menu is fairly healthy. Pita Pit celebrates offering fresh ingredients, and our experience would not suggest otherwise. Though, would any restaurants advertise ingredients that are not fresh?

Fresh ingredients?
As its name might suggest, Pita Pit specializes in pita sandwiches. In fact, aside from some chips and beverages, that is all it sells. It is the largest pita sandwich restaurant in the world. And, as far as I know (I don’t know much), it is the only pita chain. If, for some reason, you go to a pita restaurant and absolutely hate pitas, Pita Pit doesn’t punish you for your idiocy (though it probably should): you can have your meal “fork style,” a saladized version of the pita options. It also serves breakfast pitas all day, which is good because it doesn’t open until 11am. Pita Pit also delivers and is open until 3am Wednesday through Saturday to serve the binge drinking crowd.

To me, our local Pita Pit, located at 11th and Willamette in Eugene, really lives up to its name: it’s the pits (and it serves pitas.) There are always stinky bums outside the door reminding me of why I don’t tattoo “F@#$ THE WORLD” on my face. Our Pita Pit does not have a bathroom, presumably because Mr. F@#$ THE WORLD would f@#$ the bathroom (seeing as how it would be part of the world). Also, if you want water, you have to pay for it.

Besides Mr. F@#$ THE WORLD, Pita Pit also offers cartoon anthropomorphized vegetables and meat products for its décor. Each character has bulging eyes. It’s almost as if they spend every hour of their existence witnessing customers savagely devouring their friends. Mr. Cooked Bacon was especially perplexing. Did he get his eyeballs from the original pig? Also, how can he be alive after being fried? Pita Pit seemed to offer more questions than answers.
Have you ever seen a zanier group of meat products?
Jerome and I visited Pita Pit at 1:45pm. There was only one guy working and six people ahead of us. It took eighteen minutes from the time we entered the door until we had our pitas in our hands. For a fast food company, which it claims to be, that is unacceptable. I vowed to whine about it on my little blog.

Our Pita Pit only has six seats: three tables with two chairs each. Luckily, we were able to claim a table for Jerome’s club sandwich (with lettuce, pickle, and olive) and my chicken souvlaki. With Pita Pit, you basically just order what meat you want in your pita. They throw it on a tiny grill until they get around to removing it. Then, they put it in a pita and ask you what toppings you want. If you don’t know the precise toppings that make, say, a gyro taste great, you are in trouble. The workers don’t seem to know either, and they count on you to tell them what goes in your pita (tzatzikikiasdfd sauce, tomato, feta, onion, and some other stuff in this case).

Our tab looked like this:

  • Chicken souvlaki $7
  • Club $6.95
  • Total $13.95
Underpaid employee prepares for body cavity search next to tiny grill.
We didn’t purchase sugar water. I also didn’t purchase plain water because respectable restaurants give it to you for free, and I did not want to reward their behavior.

Asked why he liked Pita Pit so much, Jerome tried really hard to explain it: “They make their food really well. It’s fast enough so you’ll get it in time for when you’re so hungry you could eat anything, but it’s slow enough to bring you to the brink of starvation. The longer the wait, the better the taste.”

I wasn’t famished, so the wait didn’t bother me. The food was unremarkable, but I will remark anyway since this is a food blog. The chicken was nondescript, it didn’t really capture the souvlaki flavor I enjoy, and it seemed like they just warmed it up and presented it to me (which they did.) The toppings weren’t particularly flavorful, which makes me think they went for the cheapest, mass-producing supplier.

How It Rates:

On a scale of 1 to 85 stars, Jerome gave it a perfect 85. “The food is just so good. They should put caution stickers on the pitas that say, ‘So good it might kill you.’”

I give Pita Pit 39 out of 85 stars. It was expensive for how full I got (not very.) I like that it is low in calories (the chicken souvlaki weighs in at 315 calories.) But, I’d need two pitas to get full, and that would run me about $14. And, for that kind of money, I’d rather have lobster. I recommend only going to Pita Pit if it is your son’s favorite restaurant, and he’s begging you to go. If your son has never been there, avoid it at all costs. In fact, if your son is hanging out with a friend for a long enough time that the friend’s parents feel obligated to feed your son, I would advise them that your son is allergic to Pita Pit. Mention explosive diarrhea, and they’ll likely steer clear.

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  1. Can you elaborate on the vague veggie it a veggie patty?

    1. I meant Five Guys...sorry