6/15/2005

 

Pita Pit, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Okay, it ain't Chinese, but this isn't a real restaurant review either. It's just a quick blurb to recommend Coeur d'Alene's latest downtown eatery The Pita Pit.
With it's distinct lack of any artwork on the walls, the place is happy just to let the quirkiness of the century-old building speak for itself. This is a concept that carries over into the food product as well: classy and classic. The concept is simple: you pick a main filling, ranging from chicken and turkey to more exotic flavors like falafel and souvlaki. While the cook is grilling your meat, you choose other fillings, much like Subway but with many more options. I ordered the Souvlaki and made mine with Romaine lettuce, greek olives, tzatziki sauce, feta cheese, onions, and green peppers. Other options included red onions, pepperoncinis, tomatoes, black olives, pineapples, sprouts, cheddar etc. Somehow they open up the pita shell in such a way as to accomodate an absolutely enormous amount of stuff, then they roll it all up and put it in wrapper and the darn thing weighs at least three pounds. All the ingredients seem so fresh as to make Subway seem like good 'ol Mickey-D's on the health-o-meter.
My pita was intense and delicious, so much so that I began having visions of myself returning to the Pita Pit day after day for a fix. My roommate ordered a completely different type of pita, but he agreed that it was the freshest, tastiest thing he had consumed in recent memory. The staff was cool and efficient, despite the lunchtime rush they were experiencing (and on only thier third day open!) Amazingly, both our pitas came to just over 10 bucks, including drinks. What a bargain!
The only hangup that I see for people is the extreme difficulty of finding a parking spot at 4th and Sherman that might keep some of the lazier diners from experiencing this great food. However, once you've tried one of these pitas you will be willing to park blocks away and walk - it's that good.
The Pita Pit is located at 320 Sherman Ave, next to Java in CDA.

Comments:
I agree with you that the Pita Pit's sandwiches are tasty... But I found too many other negatives for me to want to return on a regular basis. I thought the layout of the menu and the counter were very awkward. Also, with the line going right down the middle of the shop, it was very noisy in there. I had to fight through milling businessmen to get a pop refill.

Alas, the biggest reason I won't return soon is the lack of a kids' menu. My kids need small sandwiches and small drinks.

If they open Pita Pit in a non-touristy location with better parking, I'd probably give them another shot. It's easier for me to drive to Qdoba or Noodle Express to get my healthy lunch fix.
 
Hey,

Thanks for the review. It sounds like a alright place to pick up semi-healthy fast food when not in the mood for Subway.
 
The Pita Pit fits right into the 2008 economic recession & our depressed financial American environment, as well as serving as the AFFORDABLE dining experience for the millions of families on a tight budget who have stopped dining out. Many families & single parents wish there were an affordable place for them to feed their children & there is a children's menu that is very reasonable, as I have fed my grandchildren at our local Pitta Pit many time. This also helps ease the decisions as to where to spend our hard earned pennies:
FOOD for the family or
FUEL for the cars. Here you can afford to feed both.
This menu and the location of the stores have been smartly developed & placed in or near colleges; inexpensive but refurbished downtown heavy foot traffic locales; or near towns where tourism happens upon these locations. I will be looking for more Pita Pits - and observing the clientele-as I continue to travel around the US, writing about affordable dining for familles with Children & Grandchildren.
I have designed restaurant menus & layout, consulted to rebuild & develop practical designs, develop prep, presentation & training programs for foodservice coast to coast. I have 40 years of hands-on experience in every aspect of every type of Hospitality Opportunity. To assure the successful implementation of whatever menu I wrote, I had hands-on experience with an actual working unit, to assure my ability to train and open new units and the staff within.
The key to success for any "Fresh from scratch quick serve" restaurant is to avoid the term "fast food," as it conjures up bad vibes and -- even worse -- bad memories of low, mediocre quality, foods slapped together, dripping sloppily with over-ketchup'ed buns and slippery, greasy, deep fat fried foods to potential guests -- your customers. Pita Pit avoids those traps and can look forward to great success, as long as they keep their lines moving and their Pits a' filling.
I did notice one bottleneck area, however. I have an idea on how to speed up your service -- to provide your guests with hot foods inside the Pitta that was pocketed, stuffed, then rolled into a huge shape that was larger-than- bitesize, so my idea - since you are basically creating a Pita Pocket into a "wrap" is TWO fold:
1: Provide each store with manual pizza wheels, to help "ZIP OPEN" the pocket. I watched as my Pitta Guy finished filling my product with the cold "fixins'", but the food that was on the hot side was ready well before my pocket was. The slowdown came as I watched Pitta Preparer struggle, tear, & wasted his time with each order, as he tried to open each Pita.
2: Or perhaps the company could use an already existing product: THE 12 INCH flour - white or wheat - wraps-- large enough to hold all the ingredients, yet ready to fill and speed up the service to prevent cold foods being served. I say this only because by the time I sat down to eat my deliciously tasty "hot falafel & chicken souvlahki " cooked to order fillings were as cold as the cheese and veggies I ordered to customize my Pita Pocket. Interestingly, there already exists Pita Wraps in a diameter, or a thinner flour wrap in white or while wheat, and calling these Pita Wraps, rather than struggling with the Pocket dilemma would not be changing your concept at all -- and in fact, only enhance your service and profitability. And please trade in those black T-shirts for a lighter brighter color
 
By the way, my spell-check didn't quite catch every error! I opologize.
 
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