by Mitchell Brown, Reporter
Recently, a plethora of popular food franchises has opened in Warrensburg, Mo. Within the span of two years, Starbucks, Chipotle, Steak ‘n Shake and Spin! Pizza, among others, all found a home in Warrensburg.
Pita Pit opened in Warrensburg in 2015, and then closed its doors, but this spring marked its return under new ownership with a grand opening May 20.
Danielle Johnston, the new owner of the Warrensburg Pita Pit, has a personal history with food service work.
“For nine years, all through high school and college, I worked in restaurants, and I was a server and bartender,” Johnston said. “I’ve always loved food.”
She has experience as a local business owner – the first business she had any ownership in was Twister Sports.
“When we opened Twister Sports, that’s not the first business I ever thought I would start,” Johnston said. “I thought it would be a restaurant.”
Johnston said it was at Twister Sports that she noticed the popularity of Pita Pit. She said parents would come in with food from the restaurant.
“We saw how popular it was, we liked Pita Pit, so we weren’t big fans of it being closed,” she said. “So we called the corporation and purchased the franchise.”
Pita Pit was founded in 1995 in Canada, and in 1999 it opened in the United States. The restaurant was founded by Nelson Lang, with the aim of providing “a fresh, healthy alternative to fast food.”
Pita Pit differs from run of the mill fast food places that primarily deal in burgers and fries. The eating experience at Pita Pit is comparable to that of Subway, in the fact that customers are able to customize their order, as it is then prepared right in front of them.
There are three primary divisions of pita wraps served at Pita Pit: meat pitas, veggie pitas and breakfast pitas. Johnston explained how customization and variety with orders is a crucial element at Pita Pit.
“We get a lot of people who are like ‘I don’t want anything healthy,’” Johnston said. “It’s as healthy as you make it. We have really healthy options, but we also have Philly Cheese Steak and Gyros that are maybe less healthy. There is something really for everybody.”
Johnston said she thinks Pita Pit fits with the recent business boom that’s been happening in Warrensburg.
“Warrensburg is definitely a growing community,” Johnston said. “We are just responding to a demand that’s been there for so long now. “
Acknowledging the impact the University of Central Missouri has on the area, Johnston said she is confident business will increase when full-time classes start in August. Although Pita Pit has reopened during summer break, she said a consistent flow of customers have been coming in for lunch and dinner.
“There are a lot of people that are crazy about Pita Pit,” Johnston said. “There are some people we see every day. There are some people who get the same pitas every single day when they come in, and within a week, we already knew what to expect, what they were going to order.”
For more, follow the Warrensburg Pita Pit on Facebook here.