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Pita Inn Maiden Voyage

Pita Inn Maiden Voyage
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  • Pita Inn Maiden Voyage

    Post #1 - November 16th, 2004, 9:56 pm
    Post #1 - November 16th, 2004, 9:56 pm Post #1 - November 16th, 2004, 9:56 pm
    We were there Sun. Nov. 7.My sister saw the piece on Check Please and decided to go.I will have to ask what they got.I tried the vegetarian combo.The only thing I did not like is IIRC called fatoush.Everything else hit the spot.Washed down with tamarind juice.Have not had falafel in ages so it is hard to compare but the hummus was wonderful.Next time meat and lots of it.
  • Post #2 - November 17th, 2004, 10:54 pm
    Post #2 - November 17th, 2004, 10:54 pm Post #2 - November 17th, 2004, 10:54 pm
    Yes, meat works quite well in that fine establishment, though I stuck with the chicken shawarma over the beef (done gyro-style?) thanks to this forum thread. I'll have to branch out the next time I go.
  • Post #3 - November 18th, 2004, 12:32 pm
    Post #3 - November 18th, 2004, 12:32 pm Post #3 - November 18th, 2004, 12:32 pm
    And to think, your wallet is now $2.40 lighter! That place bumps prices about 1% per decade.

    Have you checked out the Pita Inn market - just west of the restaurant? They have some nice packaged items, good olive bar, and you can get their hummus & babba ganoush by the quart. Fresh, hot pita too.
  • Post #4 - November 18th, 2004, 1:00 pm
    Post #4 - November 18th, 2004, 1:00 pm Post #4 - November 18th, 2004, 1:00 pm
    Pita inn has been a significant part of my nutrition for almost 20 years, and although their price changes are rare, they took a good-sized leap with the opening of the Niles restaurant (a little over a year ago, I think). For over 10 years, I would buy for $4.01 a small hummos, falafel sandwich and a coke, that's now over $6! A good sized piece of that is because they now have a larger, refillable cup for soft drinks (I don't think skokie has refills, and they're somewhat cheaper on drinks because of that, but it's still gone up).

    That being said, their falafel is still my gold standard, and my kids are seriously addicted to their shawarma with hummos. Perhaps there's better, but not out in this corner of the world for a fast meal.
  • Post #5 - August 22nd, 2005, 2:28 pm
    Post #5 - August 22nd, 2005, 2:28 pm Post #5 - August 22nd, 2005, 2:28 pm
    I found myself in the Northwest burbs today around lunch time and decided to check out the Pita Inn Glenview location. I've been going to the original Skokie location for well over 20 years, but this is the first time ever trying one of their other locations. Pita Inn Glenview was even better than the original (well, it was today, anyway). I went with my standard order of a small Hummus and a falafel sandwich. The hummus seemed a bit dryer/firmer than I remember getting it in the past, which seemed a good thing. The falafel was very nicely browned, resulting in a crispier than Skokie version which I also preferred. I ordered ice tea, which is serve yourself form a typical ice tea urn, however Pita Inn's ice tea is iced mint tea, which I found very refreshing. I've never ordered ice tea in Skokie, usually sticking to the tamarind juice instead. I'll have to check out the tea there next time as well.

    Pita Inn
    9854 N. Milwaukee Ave
    Glenview, Il
    847/759-9990

    Pita Inn
    3910 Dempster
    Skokie, IL
    847-677-0211
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:00 pm
    Post #6 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:00 pm Post #6 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:00 pm
    The iced tea in Skokie is also mint. Had it there on Friday.
    Paulette
  • Post #7 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:01 pm
    Post #7 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:01 pm Post #7 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:01 pm
    Hi,

    My Mother always orders the iced tea because of the mint.

    They also have a 3rd location which has been remodeled in the last year.

    Pita Inn
    122 S Elmhurst Rd (83 just south of Dundee Road)
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    http://www.pitainn.com
    847-808-7733
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:15 pm
    Post #8 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:15 pm Post #8 - August 22nd, 2005, 3:15 pm
    I love Pita Inn, and frequent the Wheeling location on my lunch break. I usually go for the falafel sandwich which sets me back $2.75, which seems almost unheard of for a lunch these days. Even with a drink (I love the mint ice tea), I'm still coming out under $5, something you are pressed to do at the cheapest fast food restaurants. Their prices did jump in the past year or so, as the falafel sandwich used to run $1.95, but at $2.75 I still can't complain.

    I think the thing that hooked me at Pita Inn is their hot sauce (I'm not sure of the offical name for it in Mediterranean cuisine). I'm a sucker for a really spicy sauce and Pita Inn's does the trick. I like to slather my sandwhich with hot sauce and a little Tahini to take the edge off. Their falafel is flavorful and has a nice crunchy outside without being dried out in the center. My only 'complaint,' if you want to call it that, is that they put the lettuce and tomato on the bottom of the pita and then the falafel on top, so my last few bites are usually sans falafel.

    Side Note - Pita Inn in Wheeling gets quite crowded for week day lunches. I usually try to make it there before 11:45 to ensure getting a table and avoid the line that can wrap around the restaurant. I think this is a good sign, though, and in their defense I always do find a table, and they keep the line moving quickly so that even if I don't miss the rush, I still can make an hour lunch with a 10-15 min drive each way.
  • Post #9 - August 22nd, 2005, 4:20 pm
    Post #9 - August 22nd, 2005, 4:20 pm Post #9 - August 22nd, 2005, 4:20 pm
    That strip pf Dempster where Pita Inn is at is definitely a good destination for Middle Eastern delights. Starting with Kabul House (3320 Dempster by McCormick) which is an Afghani restaurant more formal than Pita Inn. Then, you have Basha on the south side of Dempster a few blocks west (3445 Dempster) which is similar to Pita Inn but from the two times I was there it was not as good (or cheap) as Pita Inn. Then, you have my favorite, Larsa's (3724 Dempster) which is owned by an Assyrian family. It has the same staples but also does these beautiful freshly baked zaatar, meat and cheeze "pizzas". Finally you have a newer restaurant called El-Baraka right of off Dempster on Skokie Blv (north of Dempster). It is very good, but slightly more expensive than Pita Inn. They do have live music on the weekends.... (of course you also have New York Bagel, and Hubs and ........)
    Elie
  • Post #10 - August 22nd, 2005, 4:27 pm
    Post #10 - August 22nd, 2005, 4:27 pm Post #10 - August 22nd, 2005, 4:27 pm
    HI,

    Erik M and I were at Kabul House and Larsa's several times last winter. Wherever the menu's overlapped, we favored Larsa's offerings over Kabul's. Though Kabul House has some unique items well worth the visit, especially the dumplings and the pumpkin.

    I was advised Larsa's has open air seating in the rear, which is not obvious from the front dining room.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - August 23rd, 2005, 12:47 am
    Post #11 - August 23rd, 2005, 12:47 am Post #11 - August 23rd, 2005, 12:47 am
    ett094 wrote:That strip pf Dempster where Pita Inn is at is definitely a good destination for Middle Eastern delights. Starting with Kabul House (3320 Dempster by McCormick) which is an Afghani restaurant more formal than Pita Inn. Then, you have Basha on the south side of Dempster a few blocks west (3445 Dempster) which is similar to Pita Inn but from the two times I was there it was not as good (or cheap) as Pita Inn. Then, you have my favorite, Larsa's (3724 Dempster) which is owned by an Assyrian family. It has the same staples but also does these beautiful freshly baked zaatar, meat and cheeze "pizzas". Finally you have a newer restaurant called El-Baraka right of off Dempster on Skokie Blv (north of Dempster). It is very good, but slightly more expensive than Pita Inn. They do have live music on the weekends.... (of course you also have New York Bagel, and Hubs and ........)
    Elie


    It is a pretty great strip actually - though not just Middle-Eastern (NY Bagels and
    Hubs arent, listed above :-) In addition to the above, there is also
    Poochie's and Herm's for hot dogs of course. (And, if you go another
    200 yards down from La Baraka... then you have Hot Dog Island, and
    Kauffman's etc.

    BTW, of the above, I prefer Pita Inn to the rest I think - though Larsa's is
    good too (but slower, and more expensive - however I like their kababs
    more, but miss the hot and white sauces from Pita Inn etc).

    There also used to be a Moroccan place (right next to Kabul House), but
    it is now closed.

    c8w
  • Post #12 - August 27th, 2005, 1:56 pm
    Post #12 - August 27th, 2005, 1:56 pm Post #12 - August 27th, 2005, 1:56 pm
    Let's not forget Barnum & Bagle on Dempster, just east of Skokie Blvd. Still a great place for Chicken Soup and overstuffed Corned Beef Sandwiches. Great prices too.
  • Post #13 - August 27th, 2005, 3:39 pm
    Post #13 - August 27th, 2005, 3:39 pm Post #13 - August 27th, 2005, 3:39 pm
    david1340 wrote:Let's not forget Barnum & Bagle on Dempster, just east of Skokie Blvd. Still a great place for Chicken Soup and overstuffed Corned Beef Sandwiches. Great prices too.


    While once my favorite deli in the area, B&B has fallen on hard times lately. Since changing hands around 5 - 6 years ago, the new Greek owners have not been able to keep the same quality of food. As a result, their level of business has dropped off significantly (of course it could be that a lot of the Alta Cockers that used to patronize the place on a daily basis have died off). It just doesn't have the same energy and buzz or quality of meats that it had when the Oshers were the owners. At one time, I had an office down the street and ate lunch there a minimum of 3 times a week, with Poochies taking up the slack on the other days and an occasional trip to Myron & Phils. My last several visits have been dissapointing to the point that I no longer go, opting instead for the Bagel in Old Orchard when I need a deli fix in the Skokie area. It's a real shame.

    P.S. The soup is still pretty good, though

    Barnum & Bagel
    4700 Dempster
    Skokie, IL
    847-676-4466

    The Bagel
    50 Old Orchard Center
    Skokie, IL
    847 677-0100
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - March 16th, 2006, 5:21 pm
    Post #14 - March 16th, 2006, 5:21 pm Post #14 - March 16th, 2006, 5:21 pm
    I have been going to Pita Inn since 1989, and would love it if I could find restaurant just as good in Chicago. Their falafel is so crispy on the outside and tender and flavorful inside--everywhere else I've tried in the city is either too dry or too mushy. Their prices are as lovely as the food (haven't had anything I didn't like) and will still make the drive up to Skokie if need be, but would love a closer option.
    Any suggestions?
  • Post #15 - March 16th, 2006, 5:28 pm
    Post #15 - March 16th, 2006, 5:28 pm Post #15 - March 16th, 2006, 5:28 pm
    Jeffmh wrote:I have been going to Pita Inn since 1989, and would love it if I could find restaurant just as good in Chicago. Their falafel is so crispy on the outside and tender and flavorful inside--everywhere else I've tried in the city is either too dry or too mushy. Their prices are as lovely as the food (haven't had anything I didn't like) and will still make the drive up to Skokie if need be, but would love a closer option.
    Any suggestions?


    Jeffmh,

    I'm interested to hear about the other places you've tried. I've always considered Pita Inn to be very good, solidly better than average, but far from the best.

    My falafel cravings always take me to Salam. If you like it spicy, ask for their house-made "hot sauce" which is really a minced chile relish.

    Salam sells falafel as a sandwich, plate, or by the piece.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #16 - March 16th, 2006, 5:32 pm
    Post #16 - March 16th, 2006, 5:32 pm Post #16 - March 16th, 2006, 5:32 pm
    Jeffmh wrote:I have been going to Pita Inn since 1989, and would love it if I could find restaurant just as good in Chicago. Their falafel is so crispy on the outside and tender and flavorful inside--everywhere else I've tried in the city is either too dry or too mushy. Their prices are as lovely as the food (haven't had anything I didn't like) and will still make the drive up to Skokie if need be, but would love a closer option.
    Any suggestions?


    God, I love Pita Inn too. Here's what I'd say: There are places in Chicago with good Middle Eastern food, as good or better than Pita Inn, but NOTHING approaches the value of the Inn.

    The places I most frequent these days in the city are Semiramisand Steve's Shish Kabob, and when I'm leaving Costco, Babylon. None of these places will remind you of Pita Inn however.

    Salaam has provided me with many good meals over the years, but between hitting Pita Inn when I am in the 'burbs (say by my parents) or the above places, I have just enough meals to go there.

    I know a lot of people like City Noor. I've not been blown away on my few attempts.
  • Post #17 - March 16th, 2006, 5:53 pm
    Post #17 - March 16th, 2006, 5:53 pm Post #17 - March 16th, 2006, 5:53 pm
    Thanks. I'll try Semiramis. I've been eyeing it since its not too far from me. I wasn't that impressed with City Noor, and I've had Salaam's falafel (I still think Pita's is better) and Salaam has a limited menu for other things.
  • Post #18 - March 16th, 2006, 5:58 pm
    Post #18 - March 16th, 2006, 5:58 pm Post #18 - March 16th, 2006, 5:58 pm
    Just my two cents about Semiramis --

    I think that they could really use the business right about now. It seems to me that the closing of the Kedzie El stop may have taken away some of their walk-in customers. I, myself, was in the habit of calling them to place a take-out order while I was on the train, and then picking it up after exiting the stop. Very spur of the moment. Now, since I get off at another stop, I have to make an effort to go there. The effort is well-rewarded, obviously, since their food is so good. However, I would imagine that they've seen a drop in business.
  • Post #19 - April 17th, 2006, 1:45 pm
    Post #19 - April 17th, 2006, 1:45 pm Post #19 - April 17th, 2006, 1:45 pm
    I have visited Pita Inn several times over the last three weeks based upon a friend's recommendation and I have to say this place is one of the best in the area. Not only the high quality of the food but the value you get from it and the "chaotic" but fun atmosphere. I first tried the chicken schawarma plate with rice pilaf and enjoyed it a lot. Got two fallafel with it that were some of the better ones I've had before...not too heavy. The last two times I've gone I've gotten what appears to be the legendary Beef Schawarma and was simply blown away as to how good it is. Simply awesome!! Got the hummus and pita the last time I was there and love how they throw some olive oil and spice on top.

    Anyway, I gotta say this place is a once-a-week staple for me now, if not more.
  • Post #20 - April 18th, 2006, 3:48 pm
    Post #20 - April 18th, 2006, 3:48 pm Post #20 - April 18th, 2006, 3:48 pm
    I have never been that impressed with Pita Inn. Their chicken is always quite dry; the pitas never seem to be fresh, and too much iceburg lettuce that they pass off as "salad".

    However, I do have to say that my middle-eastern food tastes are extremely skewed now that I've spent a few weeks in Israel... it is hard to top real food from the middle east! No place in Chicago seems to do things quite right... just the little things.

    An example: Falafel in Israel is pretty much *exclusively* sold by small little counter service joints where they are frying fresh balls right there in front of you. It is then stuffed into a pita, and usually topped with "salad" which is a concotion of olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Then, garnished with tahina sauce (of the thick kind, not white, runny kind you find at Pita Inn) and small sliced dill pickles. Absolutley delicious.

    Haven't found any place in town that does it that way.. I'm searching, though!

    And, the best part, of course... a sandwich like that would run you about $2.50 USD :wink:
  • Post #21 - April 19th, 2006, 10:06 am
    Post #21 - April 19th, 2006, 10:06 am Post #21 - April 19th, 2006, 10:06 am
    I'll tell you what, good falafel is an art form...

    I was able to do a little comparison a few weeks ago, when visiting NYC for the first time. Snagged a falafel sandwich off a cart at the corner of W. 52nd St. & 6th Ave. Great taste, messy as heck, snappy onions & green peppers, but the falafel itself was somewhat mushy, lacking that crispy crust that Pita Inn's 'balls' have.

    When I lived in Skokie, Pita Inn was my 'go to' healthy fast food place. A falafel sandwich & Jerusalem salad (tahini, cuke, diced tomatoes, parsley) was just right after a long day.
  • Post #22 - April 19th, 2006, 9:52 pm
    Post #22 - April 19th, 2006, 9:52 pm Post #22 - April 19th, 2006, 9:52 pm
    jonjonjon wrote:. . . the pitas never seem to be fresh, . . .

    Their pitas are made fresh, constantly throughout the day in their bakery just 2 doors west of the restaurant (Skokie location). I can't recall ever walking past that window (at lunchtime) and not seeing the baking crew in there working. I'm not Pita Inn's greatest fan by any means, and I definitely agree about the iceberg lettuce, but I've never found freshness (or lack thereof) to be an issue. And I think it's an exceptional value too. That said, the other guys in my office choose it for lunch far more often than I would like.

    =R=
    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #23 - April 20th, 2006, 9:42 am
    Post #23 - April 20th, 2006, 9:42 am Post #23 - April 20th, 2006, 9:42 am
    I'm relatively new to Mediterranean food, with limited experience at Pita Inn and Taza downtown. Is there a place that people just love, love, love, even if it's not the "value" that Pita Inn is. Specifically looking for near-north/northwest suburban recommendations.
  • Post #24 - April 20th, 2006, 10:36 am
    Post #24 - April 20th, 2006, 10:36 am Post #24 - April 20th, 2006, 10:36 am
    HI,

    I'm not in a convenient position to link, do a search on Larsa east of Pita Inn on Dempster, Salam and Semiramis (sp?) to just begin. There is a concentration of middle eastern restaurants at Kedzie and Lawrence.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #25 - October 27th, 2006, 2:27 pm
    Post #25 - October 27th, 2006, 2:27 pm Post #25 - October 27th, 2006, 2:27 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,

    I'm not in a convenient position to link, do a search on Larsa east of Pita Inn on Dempster, Salam and Semiramis (sp?) to just begin. There is a concentration of middle eastern restaurants at Kedzie and Lawrence.

    Regards,


    Are any of them as value-riffic, or are they the typical $10 plate place? Kedzie & Lawrence is much closer to where I live - perhaps I'll drive around there sometime and collect menus.

    Last night we had our Maiden Voyage to Pita Inn (skokie). I made a mistake of not checking out any threads first, and ordered the worst thing on the menu - beef shawarma. It wasn't terrible, but wasn't good, either. I ended up picking off of the plates of my family members, who ordered the combination plate, the lamb kabob, and the chicken tender sandwich. Delicious, all of them, especially the lamb kabob. My own plate, I wrapped up into a napkin and fed to my dog. :oops:

    For the value and taste, it beats McDonald's ANY DAY!!!!!

    Oh yeah, and the falafel was amazing!

    So was the hummus... they poured some oil in the middle of the hummus plate that had a distinct olive flavor, which surprised me because I thought that olive oil wasn't supposed to have an olive flavor. Something I'm missing there?

    Someone in the thread above me said something about a kids menu. I didn't see one and was wondering if they took it off the menu. My younger son is a bit picky (no, we don't know where he came from either).
  • Post #26 - December 6th, 2006, 12:58 am
    Post #26 - December 6th, 2006, 12:58 am Post #26 - December 6th, 2006, 12:58 am
    HI,

    I was at Pita Inn in Glenview just after 10 PM for a post Christmas shopping light dinner of baba ghannoug (SIC) and Tabouleh Salad.

    I tore some pita to scoop up the baba ghannoug. All I tasted was tahini. I took another sample to find it tasted only of tahini as well. I took the dish back to the cashier explaining there was no hint of eggplant, only a strong taste of tahini. He commented it was a freshly made batch and would gladly replace it. I declined, then suggested they give me stuffed grape leaves. I reasoned I wasn't going to get any satisfaction with baba ghannoug from the same batch. Strike 1.

    The grape leaves had a gummy filling, which was strike 2.

    I finally tried the Tabouleh salad to find the seasoning was off as well. It usually has a crisp lemony taste, this salad lacked the acidity I usually associate with Pita Inn's Tabouleh salad. Strike 3.

    The pita was the only part of our meal which hit the mark and matched our prior experience.

    I never returned food at Pita Inn until this evening. I don't know if it was the time of day with a skeleton crew filling in. For years, the crew preparing the food was always of Middle Eastern descent with Mexican's present in minor jobs. This evening the only Middle Eastern was the cashier. At least for the time of day I was there, it was the first time I had seen a Mexican dominant preparation crew.

    I hope this evening the food was an anomaly.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #27 - December 6th, 2006, 1:00 pm
    Post #27 - December 6th, 2006, 1:00 pm Post #27 - December 6th, 2006, 1:00 pm
    I have heard from a few friends that the Glenview outpost has not always been as good as the Skokie and Wheeling locations, but have not been out that way to give it a try. I hope this one bad experience would not keep you away though from the other locations though. I know I would be willing to give it another shot after all the year of great meals at great prices I have eaten at Pita Inn.
    Butter
  • Post #28 - December 6th, 2006, 2:04 pm
    Post #28 - December 6th, 2006, 2:04 pm Post #28 - December 6th, 2006, 2:04 pm
    We eat at the Glenview location frequently (the Wheeling one is nearly as close, but not nearly as close to anything else we visit, so it's a good, quick "on the way to" meal).

    We've never been disappointed there, but our menu selections are usually limited to hummos, hummos-shawarma, kibbe, kefta kabob and the combo platter. I've never ordered the baba ghanouj (sp? I don't know either), as I often find it too bitter unless the primary flavor is tahini, so maybe I'd like what you sent back.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #29 - December 6th, 2006, 2:57 pm
    Post #29 - December 6th, 2006, 2:57 pm Post #29 - December 6th, 2006, 2:57 pm
    I've also never dined at the Glenview location, but have found Pita Inns Skokie & Wheeling to be outstanding, with the original location in Skokie maybe a hair better.

    But...I must say that even Glenview must be better than its competitor in Vernon Hills, Pita Grill on Rte. 60 just west of Hawthorn Mall. Imagine taking Pita Inn's food, then removing all semblance of taste & spice from the food--that's Pita Grill, formerly Moho Grill. What's next? Injera Grill?
  • Post #30 - December 6th, 2006, 3:07 pm
    Post #30 - December 6th, 2006, 3:07 pm Post #30 - December 6th, 2006, 3:07 pm
    HI,

    I have been going to Pita Inn since the late 80's. I have eaten at all their locations without once thinking to return food. I was surprised to not only return one dish last night, but to find all the dishes unacceptable. It won't keep me from visiting again, I was just surprised.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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