All prices mentioned are based on the accuracy of my memory at the time...which may fluctuate depending on amount and type of beverage consumed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pita Pit

If you have high standards for quality food, customer service, and hygiene...keep driving. Before we even walked in the door we had to walk through cigarette butts and trash, and it didn't get much better once inside. The cashier was on the phone, acting like she was taking an order (but it seemed more like a personal call) and expected us to give her our orders while she was taking another one. We had to repeat ourselves more than once, and after it was said and done...$12.58 later, we had a Chicken Breast and Buffalo Chicken Pita on order.

Although it was 8:30pm there were 4 people in front of us, and upon moving closer to the glass window of toppings the outlook was pretty bleak. Brown, gummy sprouts....beige, translucent, wilted lettuce....5 lone pineapple slices floating in a murky bed of liquid with multicolored, misshapen flecks (I had to examine closely to ensure they weren't dead gnats but I never was able to confirm or deny)...and that was all I noticed upon first glance.

I was asked what bread I wanted 'wheat' and the jaded pita-maker removed it from its package 'last one' and continued finishing the teen's pitas who were in line in front of me. During this process I noticed a fly buzzing around and landing on all of the fruits and vegetables displayed, but its food of choice was my lonely, empty pita bread. After I watched the fly do the cha-cha, waltz, and tango all over my pita the woman standing behind me LOUDLY stated "ECH, I WOULDN'T EAT THAT...EVERY TIME A FLY LANDS IT TAKES A S#@%!"

After her bold statement (I normally am non-confrontational and will eat anything that doesn't move off my plate), the pita boy shoo'ed the fly off my pita, peered over his brow at me, and remarked, "What do you want on it?" I responded meekily, "Umm, that fly just danced all over it." After a long sigh, pita boy remarked sarcastically with furrowed brow, "Do you want a new one?"

HMMMMM, no Pita Boy, I just like to make random statements about insects crawling on food I am about to put into my mouth in about 60 seconds because it's fun and FEELS GOOD!

So after said thought left my head I replied, "Yes." He then had to throw away the empty bag where he grabbed aforementioned fly bread, walk three steps ALL the way across the floor, and grab a new bag of wheat pitas. After lettuce (I opted for the fresher looking iceberg rather than the wilted Romaine), tomato, feta cheese, onions, green peppers, avocado, pineapple, olives (I had noticed by then that he was grabbing the pineapple and olives from the other, fuller, fresher station so I took my chances) and mustard (don't ask me why I thought mustard would be good with feta but by then I was just ready to get the heck out of there) my pita lay behind the wall of glass unfolded, while Pita Boy had for some reason been beckoned to run into the back to grab more dijon mustard for the people in line behind me.

The cook, upon noticing this, decided to take it upon his blessed, little heart to take his aqua-colored, meat bit covered, latex, medical gloves and attempt to fold our pitas. During the process he managed to tear no less than 12 gaping holes in my innocent pita bread. Have you ever seen the game in the arcade where you try to roll a silver marble up a ramp without letting it fall through any holes or off the edge? Replace the ramp with my pita bread and the silver ball with any of the vegetables contained within. That's what I saw in my pita consuming future.

After the cook put the finishing touches on wrapping our pitas, former Pita Boy returned with the mustard but took no notice to the fact that he left our pitas stranded for Bob the Butcher to ...butcher.

After Bob handed us our soggy pitas complete with wet chicken and turkey bits stuck to the outside wrapper, I asked politely for a bag to put them in (I had my keys in hand the whole time, yet was never asked if it was to stay or go...) and once that sack was in my hand I was out of there like...hmm there aren't really any politically correct analogies I can say here.

CONCLUSION: If I were the owner of this place I would be royally embarrassed and quite upset at the state my shop was kept and at the way my employees treated the customers. It was a complete disappointment and a sandwich joint that I will be wholly reluctant to ever return to.


david said...

WOW -- now that is what I call a no-holds barred review! We ate there a few times shortly after it opened last year, and in the span of about three months we watched it deteriorate into the present state. It started off fresh, clean, polite, etc, but as you noted -- they just haven't even been trying to meet the standards. Wonder what it will take for Pita Pit to right itself?

Thanks for the review, Epicuria!

Anonymous said...

Good Call. I wish your review would have been posted before I ate there. I made the mistake one rushed day and three hours later the toilet was my all night date.

Never again will I visit the Pita Colonic. You will find better sanitation in a dairy bard.

GeeGuy said...

I have to agree. When they were on their game, these pitas were a great and tasty alternative to Subway, etc.

Unfortunately, they have not been on their game since the first time I ate there.

It's all management. When you employ kids, you have to manage them. These people don't. It's the Carisch Theatres of fastfood.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago there was a local take out place we used to frequent. It served hot and cold sandwiches. My son ordered a hamburger. We were a few miles away when he started eating it and guess what? Raw inside. Cooked on the outside and raw inside. I drove back, walked in and showed the sandwich to the girl behind the counter. She asked if I wanted another one! I said "NO", I wanted my money back and I wanted to speak to the manager. The manager came out, a very young and disinterested manager and gave me a smirky, "I wonder how that happened?". Nobody cared. So I called the health department. They were great! Maybe that is what should happen here.

Anonymous said...

Hah! Pita Colonic. *smirks*

Is this the place with the big cartoon barnyard animals on the wall?

If this is the place, I ate there once, shortly after it opened. My dear sweet boyfriend, bless his heart, allowed me to choose where we ate lunch one day (I don't live in Great Falls and really don't know what's good and what's Ptomaine City (hmmm... Ptomaine City... Pita Colonic... could be like the DaVinci (Lunch) Code...) But anyway, I picked the place with oddly inappropriate dancing bunny or chicken or whatever the heck was (chicken) hawking sammiches.

The counter staff was young then, and borderline retarded. And I mean that in a bad way, not at all in a Corky-from-Life-Goes-On kinda way.

That was nine months ago - they've apparently had plenty of time to learn... er, well... nothing.

Oh, my captcha word is "ilyga" which sounds much like the gastrointestinal rumblings one might experience a few hours after enjoying a culinary delight from the Pita Pit.

Oh, and another thing - I think I had mustard on *my* pita sammich, too. No flies, though. That I know of.

Epicuria @ said...

Wow, thanks for the amusing comments everyone! It's relieving to see that I have some supporters and hope news travels back to the Pit faster than more future-disgruntled customers do!

Bri said...

Wow, I eat at Pita Pit at least a few times a week and have never ever seen anything close to what you have described.
In fact, I think it is one of the best places for lunch in town. I have always had a good experience going into Pita Pit, I do not think that the counter staff is 'retarded', nor do I believe that eating there makes you sick.
In fact every time I have gone in, I have been greeted at the door, the lady who cooks always has my food hot and ready when the counter people are adding my sauce, I have never had to wait while someone has walked away, and I am very sorry you did not have the same visit I have become accustomed to.
I do tend to wonder though about someone who's banner actually states that her/his memories can vary do to how much and what kind of drink has been consumed. I am not trying to trash you in the same manner you seems to trash others (in cyberland where it is non confrontational) but maybe you could give them another shot. Like I said I have never been disappointed, and if you have a problem talk to the cook (she might be a manager, I am just not to sure)

Epicuria @ said...

Bri, thanks for the comment from the other side of the fence. I have actually eaten there a few times in the past with better results, but don't think I will be returning anytime soon due to the fact that there are different options out there that I've yet to try.

The cook at the time was a male and all three employees that I came in contact with provided poor customer service, so I highly doubt (hopefully) that any of them were managers.

As far as trashing people? I may trash the food or the customer service, but this blog is a glimpse of my experience at the time and none of it is meant to be a personal attack.

Also, my note about memory refers to prices only, which refers to when I have food or drink at a place that sells alcohol, which does not include the Pita Pit.

Treasure State Jew said...

Any more recent experiences? I used to eat there, but stopped about a year and a half ago after seeing some of the same things mentioned in this post. It has been a year since you posted, they are still in business. Did they get their act together?

Epicuria @ said...

I have gone back once since and didn't have any problems. Hopefully they have permanently enacted some new procedures.