Pita Pit moves in at the bottom of Linda Vista
SARAH BREWINGTON | NEWS EDITOR | THE USD VISTA
At the bottom of Linda Vista sits Dominos, zPizza, Urbane, and Rose Donuts, just a few of the options University of San Diego students have for off-campus food. And yet another eatery will be competing for the attention of students come the end of the year. Pita Pit, a restaurant that prides itself on healthy eating, will move into the vacant lot next to Urbane Cafe.
Pita Pit serves pita sandwiches, and other menu items. More popular in other states, Pita Pit has a small presence in San Diego. There has not been a demand for the presence of Pita Pit around USD’s campus, as some students have never heard of the eatery.
With the exception of a location near San Diego State University (SDSU), Pita Pit has not been near other San Diego college campuses. The lease of the SDSU Pita Pit property was removed due to SDSU expansion plans and caused Pita Pit executives to search for a new location.
Pita Pit may be the umbrella company, but ultimately each location is locally run. Blake Weber and Joseph Warhurst are the owners of the new Pita Pit location.
Blake Weber, graduated from Northwestern in 2009 and moved to San Diego to get his Pita Pit location up and running.
“I was in Chicago, looking for a restaurant with a concept of healthy food,” Weber said. “A place where a healthy concept would do well, Josh and I chose between opening a Pita Pit in San Diego or Chicago, so it was easy to move out here and choose San Diego.”
Weber explained that moving to the bottom of Linda Vista had to deal mostly with the location of their clientele.
“As a whole Pita Pit does well around universities, we wanted to be around one of the three big ones, SDSU, USD and UCSD, and there used to be a location at SDSU but the deal fell through.” Weber said. “We were between UCSD and USD, it made more sense to pick USD, the area in particular has residential, commercial, and college atmosphere.”
After touring USD this past summer Weber is hoping to establish a Pita Pit presence during campus events.
“We would like to have free food for students at residential life events, maybe sponsor a club,” Weber said. “What we really want to do is community outreach.”
Weber addressed concerns about sustainability.
“All our food is sourced through US Foods so for the first few months we will be using them,” Weber said. “We want that within a year of opening we will look at more local options and local grocers for our produce.”
While Weber is excited for Pita Pit’s grand opening, which he hopes will be by November, many USD students are unaware of the prospect of another eatery.
Junior Tanya Ibrahim has never heard of Pita Pit before.
“I have never been to it or really heard of what it has other than pita being used in some way,” Ibrahim said. “I think it’s great to add even more options to what’s available for food close to campus.”
Ibrahim hopes that Pita Pit will establish a presence at club meetings.
“It will be something new and [it] brings more variety to what we have at meetings,” Ibrahim said.
Pita Pit executives seem to be the most excited about the prospect of reaching USD students.
Bill Wilfong, the vice president of franchise development for Pita Pit, hopes that this new location will prove fruitful.
“We choose any division one school location, we go by franchise interest,” Wilfong said. “Pita Pit fits the need [of college students] portable, healthy, and open late nights. That is always the target market.”
Wilfong elaborated on targeting division one schools.
“Division one kids are well-funded, we do not sell the cheapest option, but then again ours is the healthiest,” Wilfong said.
Wilfong fully anticipates this location to have a high success rate.
“We expect that it will open with above average numbers,” Wilfong said. “Based on where it is we think it will be an above average store.”
With a few weeks left before a grand opening, Weber and his partner hope to stir more excitement and encourage a fun environment for employees and students.
Despite the excitement that the Pita Pit employees have for this new location, it will be students that determine if the new eatery is worth their division one dollars.