La Pita Fresh nears opening of first Ann Arbor restaurant
La Pita Fresh, which offers Middle Eastern cuisine, should be ready to open on Liberty Street by mid-May, owner Kasey Chammout said.
Chammout has been a successful restaurateur in Dearborn for decades, owning Kasey’s Salad Bar, La Pita and several other eateries.
Six years ago he decided to expand the fresh, quick, student-friendly offerings to a college campus and opened a second La Pita location at Wayne State University. The decision fared so well that he is expanding into yet another student friendly area, Ann Arbor.
“We designed the menu for Wayne State, and it really goes with students on the go. (The food) takes a short time to eat, and it is fresh Lebanese cuisine," he said.
Shwarmas, tawooks and other wrap-style sandwiches can be made very quickly, once the meat is properly prepared, Chammout said. “The wait time (will be) nothing. We can make 20 sandwiches in minutes,” he said.
The Middle Eastern fare is quite popular in the vicinity; there are at least two other such sandwich spots within two blocks of the site.
The Lebanese-styled ambiance that is standard in the other two La Pita Fresh locations will be carried out in Michigan-themed colors at the Ann Arbor bistro. Chammout also plans to offer free wireless Internet access and to install a large plasma TV so that diners “don’t ever miss a game.”
The restaurant also plans to do a great deal of take-out and catering business, said Chammout, who explains that the prices make it a reasonable office or university lunch option. He is pleased that the eatery is so close to campus and is not worried that the opening will come just after the students have left for the season, noting that other business like Google are nearby.
Chammout is hopeful that the business will be successful, maybe enough to warrant a second Ann Arbor location eventually. He said he has been living in Ann Arbor for the past few months while he readies the restaurant. He has grown to love the city, saying it is “so full of potential and excitement.”
La Pita Fresh is still looking to hire six line cooks, and Chammout hopes to fill those positions before the restaurants opening mid-month.
Angela Smith is a freelance contributor for AnnArbor.com. You can reach her via email at email@example.com