Story by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
Pita Pit celebrated its grand opening in Warrensburg, Mo. last week. Co-owner Allison Norton said traffic for the first week was really steady and a raffle at the grand opening Sept. 14 raised more than $1,000 which was donated to Twister Sports. Pita Pit is located at 303 East Cooper Blvd. Suite I, which is known as Liberty Plaza, just a few doors down from Orange Leaf in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
While many Warrensburg residents are unfamiliar with Pita Pit’s offerings, Norton said most people have been ordering the gyro. With the restaurant’s ordering system, patrons order a menu standard item, such as the gyro, and then pick what types of vegetables and sauces they want and then it’s all stuffed and wrapped into pita bread and served to the patron, all made to order.
Norton said she and the other co-owners, which include Norton’s husband Chuck, Philipe White, and Trevor Cowling, decided to open Pita Pit because the support they received from the local community when they opened Orange Leaf.
Graham Hanson, Pita Pit Real Estate Development Specialist, said potential franchisees or people interested in owning a Pita Pit come to a small town in Idaho for a two-way interview about the potential location.
“We don’t proactively look for markets, we look for qualified operators to come to us,” Hanson said. “What attracted us to Warrensburg is the growing population and the University of Central Missouri. Pita Pit started in primarily college campus towns. The location and area is good. We like the idea of being in an area in Warrensburg that is growing and being on the ground level of that development.”
Norton said the goal was to fill a niche by offering a menu unlike anything already offered in the area, which Hanson said is exactly what Pita Pit aims to do when restaurants open in new areas.
“Our concept has the potential to fill a few niches within a community,” Hanson said. “We do late night, we do delivery. We’re constant so someone can come get a healthy sandwich, but since we’re so adaptable customers can make their sandwich as healthy or hearty as they want.”
Pita Pit started catering within the first week of being open. Norton said a delivery option would come available in the next three to four weeks but the dine-in shop is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and open from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Norton said she hopes to continue the success of Orange Leaf with the new venture.
“The support with Orange Leaf from the community and UCM has been really amazing,” she said. “We’re really excited to own another business. It’s awesome to talk to customers and see them smiling when they leave.”