The falafel truth

Chelsea Bunch stuffs The Pita Pit’s namesake full of Greek-inspired fixins.

Chelsea Bunch stuffs The Pita Pit’s namesake full of Greek-inspired fixins.

Photo By David Robert

The Pita Pit

6633 S. Virginia St., Suite B
Reno, NV 89511

(775) 852-2999

Being raised in a family that tended toward health food and vegetarianism, I often saw falafel—those tasty Middle Eastern balls of fried chickpeas—at our dinner table. It was nutritious, assembly-line food. If you came to my house on falafel night, you’d be handed a pita-pocket half with three or four falafel balls, then be left to your own devices to stuff it with cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, tahini and whatever else was lined up on my mom’s counter.

Several places in town offer excellent pita/falafel options amid larger menus, but I was excited when I heard about the recently opened Pita Pit, a quick-stop restaurant dedicated solely to the Greek-influenced cuisine with a touch of the Middle East.

The Pita Pit operates in much the same fashion my house did. You begin by picking the primary substance of your pita. The options are diverse. You can choose from 15 meat pitas including turkey, Black Forest ham, roast beef, chicken souvlaki (Greek seasoned chicken), bacon, seafood, tuna and the gyro (seasoned lamb and beef strips). There are also seven vegetarian pitas, including hummus, babaganoush (eggplant spread for $4.75) and falafel ($4.95).

I waffled between the latter two. In retrospect, I should have paid the extra 95 cents to get both. My friend Ray ordered the Dagwood, the most expensive ($6.25) and meatiest of the pitas, including turkey, ham and roast beef. After ordering, the servers heated up the principal innards; then they told us to meet them at the “filling” station.

Preparing the pita for stuffing seemed a tedious task. Rather than just rolling all the food inside the bread, burrito-style, the high-school-age worker amassing my meal tore open the pita’s puffy, skin-like top layer, pulled it halfway back, then started packing it with my chosen toppings. I selected Romaine lettuce, green peppers, cucumbers, sprouts, black olives, mushrooms, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce. The tzatziki is a yogurt-like cream similar in taste to Indian fare’s raita—the yogurt and cucumber dip that cools a fiery tongue. The tzatziki, however, was thicker and sourer than raita. I’ll probably try a different sauce next time since they have about nine to choose from and because I wasn’t crazy about the tzatziki’s bitterness.

The vegetables were fresh, the lettuce and peppers especially snappy. The pita bread was substantial and soft, and the intricate process of opening it up proved useful in holding all the ingredients neatly in. The assembly process, though, was slow. Were it lunchtime, things would have gotten backed up. No doubt, the deliberate and measured pace of preparation had to do with the newly trained employee’s desire to get things just right. It paid off. It was a well-constructed pita.

Ray was satisfied with his pita, as well. Having selected some veggies, Swiss cheese and regular old mustard, he said it tasted like a good meat and cheese sandwich. It was a lot more filling than he expected it to be, which was also true of the falafel pita.

Before we left, Ray and I grabbed to-go menus, which are organized perfectly for placing phone or fax orders. We were quite content with our meal, so it was excellent news when we saw that Pita Pit delivers to anyplace within a 15-mile roundtrip radius for no charge. I could get used to having falafel delivered to my front door.