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Posted on Mon, May 9, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

La Pita Fresh nears opening of first Ann Arbor restaurant

By Angela Smith

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.

La Pita Fresh is opening at 529 E. Liberty St., the former location of Beyond Juice. It's an 1,850-square-foot space with seating for about 40.

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 You can reach her via email at


Mike D.

Tue, May 10, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

I worked in Dearborn for years, and La Pita was always the best Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food around. I had lunch there literally daily. If this location lives up to the original, we have something to celebrate!

Adam Jaskiewicz

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 11:46 p.m.

I'll have to give it a try. I just moved back to Ann Arbor from the Warren/Schaefer area of Dearborn, and I've been missing the food. I've tried a few places around town and always been a bit let down. I've not had anything that was really *bad* in Ann Arbor but it doesn't come close to what I could get at Al Ameer, Hamido, or Cedarland, and the prices are pretty high for what you get.

Tex Treeder

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

Is La Shish still open? I thought they had issues with taxes, connections to unsavory characters, etc. I never cared for their place on Carpenter. Lots of foot traffic near this location on Liberty, but it seems like restaurants there come and go.

rusty shackelford

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

I was referring to "Shish" on N. Main. It's owned by former employees of La Shish, and has the same food. The former owner fled the country before he could be arrested, but the people who run it now are not affiliated with or responsible for the former owner's lack of scruples. Their fatoush with their fresh pita is amazing.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

La Shish is now Palm Palace and I believe under different ownership. The menu is awesome, and I think very similar to La Shish's, and the interior of the restaurant is gorgeous. A bit pricy, however. I'll have to try La Pita!

rusty shackelford

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 10:41 a.m.

Excellent. La Shish mostly is for sit-down, a different experience, JGarden is fine but overrated, and that place on William is just craptacular. Look forward to this place and La Marsa.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 10:36 a.m.

La Pita in Dearborn is fantastic so this is very good news.

Angela Smith

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

Agreed, it is one of my favorite spots for Middle Eastern Food in Dearborn -- and there are plenty of good options there! My favorite is their Chicken Tawook.