In November 2019, Pita Pit posted a sign saying they would be permanently closed after Thanksgiving. Several months later on March 2, 2020, Andy Gibson, the general manager of Tubby’s Tavern, Shots Inc., Uptown Downtown and Liquid Bar, posted a tweet that he and a few others bought Pita Pit, with plans of reopening the restaurant in early April this year.
“Now that all of the contracts have been signed, I can officially announce that Nate, Wally, Troy and myself have bought the Pita Pit restaurant here in BG and will be reopening it sometime in early April. Excited for this opportunity to become a first time business owner,” Gibson said.
Alongside Nate Cordes, Troy Myers and Micheal Wahle, the four have worked together for nearly 10 years now, before owning the local Bowling Green restaurant.
Gibson made mention of a Monday night at Downtown sitting at the bar while business was open. Cordes and Myers told him about the opportunity and asked for his thoughts.
“They asked my opinion and I had mentioned to them when I was in school here at BG, Pita Pit was a very popular restaurant; you’d see it everywhere. And you know it was one of the sponsors at the ice arena, it was sponsored through athletics and all that so the name was out and about and in recent years you haven’t really seen a whole lot about Pita Pit,” Gibson said.
However, Gibson hopes to change this by reopening of the restaurant.
“I’ll put it this way, I feel reinvigorated, I guess would be a good way to put it. I’m cautiously optimistic. I believe that we can turn this business back into what I know it used to be,” said Gibson.
Gibson has been working in the bars for 10 years and although he is the general manager of four Bowling Green bars, he sees taking this opportunity of being a business owner as the next step.
“I love what I do, there’s no doubt that I do love what I do. But I’m ready to take that next step, which is natural evolution, you know. No sense being complacent, always push for more,” he said.
Gibson’s goal is to build a reputation for the restaurant that will attract customers.
“I guess from a business to consumer, I hope to- my goal is to provide a great product for a customer, that you know the buzz builds and people want to keep coming back and they want to recommend it to their friends,” he said.
The restaurant plans on having fresh produce every day to provide a more healthy meal. Their intention is for produce to be local, “From the market, to your pita,” he said.
The restaurant offers gyro meat, grilled chicken, chicken souvlaki, steak, falafel and so many other proteins -- plus all of the fresh toppings.
Pita Pit corporately has just embraced beyond meat, as another alternative.
“I know it’s kind of in the grains of an impossible whopper, or impossible meat, but we went with the beyond meat, because it’s a little more known,” Gibson said.
As far as changes customers can expect to see when Pita Pit reopens is a bit of a face lift, minor repairs and a fountain machine taking the place of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.
“We’re going to try and keep it more simple. So, we’re going to have different options on the fountain machine, but we’re going away from the freestyle machine, because economically it just didn’t make logical sense to continue with that program,” Gibson said.
There will also be a new menu. While Gibson was training at Pita Pit’s corporate headquarters, he was able to sample everything on the new menu and was one of the first people to get training for it.
“Basically, what we’re going to do is— it’s going to go back to how Pita Pit originated,” Gibson said. “We’re gonna have a few core pitas that are like the known go-tos, but then as far as everything else, it’s gonna be kind of a build your own, so you’re gonna get your own experience. We’ll still be able to make all the old sandwiches, don’t worry about that.”
With being one of the new owners of Pita Pit, Gibson is excited about the new people he is going to be able to meet.
“Honestly, the thing I’m looking forward to the most is, seeing some new faces that I wouldn’t normally see at the bars that I work at. I always enjoy seeing and meeting people in this town,” Gibson said.
He said he does what he can to make the world a little bit smaller.
In response to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announcing the closure of all Ohio bars and restaurants effective at 9:00 p.m. March 15, 2020, due to COVID-19, Gibson said right now it is a fluid situation as far as the reopening of Pita Pit, set for some time in early April.
“We’ve been in contact with Pita Pit corporate, they kind of heard a little bit of what’s going on around as well. We’re tracking to try and stay on that same goal; the hope that potentially we can make it work, but possibly, worst case scenario we might just start off delivery or carryout only, as normal bars and restaurants are right now and maybe start to dabble into the market that way,” Gibson said.
Amid the changing status of COVID-19, they are going to do what they can to be able to open, but will be following guidelines.
“From a person to person level, I guess I would say, stay healthy, stay happy and we’ll look forward to seeing you when we can,” he said.