Pita Chip, the modern Middle Eastern quick-serve restaurant which has locations on Temple University’s Campus and in University City, is planning to grow its brand to the Philadelphia suburbs. A new Yardley location is set to open in the spring of 2022, and subsequent locations are planned for Montgomery County shortly thereafter.
The third Pita Chip outpost will be located within the Oxford Oaks Shopping Center at 1581 Big Oak Road in Yardley, PA. The expansive new location will be 3,500 square feet with seating for up to 65, significantly larger than the first two locations.
Omar Alsaadi and Mouhanad Kabbani, the co-founders of Pita Chip, opened the original Temple location at 1600 North Broad Street in 2015. After three successful years, they launched the University City location at 3601 Market Street in May of 2018, the same year that Howard Klayman joined as a partner. Alsaadi, who immigrated to the U.S. from Syria in 1979, spent most of his life in the Philadelphia area cooking and evolving his recipes to mirror his experience as an immigrant.
“Growing up, I would come home from school to different cuisines and foods every night,” says Alsaadi. “My mother used encyclopedias to learn how to cook, and I started helping in the kitchen as a little boy. Like her, I let my imagination drive my recipes. When I moved to Philadelphia, I adopted new cooking techniques while being exposed to numerous cuisines in this multicultural city, and the food at Pita Chip reflects that diversity. I’ve always strived to build a menu that is reminiscent of Middle Eastern street food, while remaining progressive and modern. It pays homage to my culture, but the food is for everyone.”
How Pita Chip came to be is an interesting story: Alsaadi and Kabbani researched purchasing a franchise, but as they started that process, they realized they had the vision and desire to launch their own brand instead. Despite zero restaurant business experience, they took a leap of faith and decided to sign the lease for the Temple location to open their own quick-serve Middle Eastern-focused brand in 2014. It took one year before the Broad Street doors were ready to open in 2015. Klayman was brought in through mutual friends prior to the University City location opening, as he possessed extensive operations and systems knowledge from previous experiences.
“We’re excited to expand into the suburbs to bring our delicious food to more people in the Philadelphia area,” says Klayman. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have made it through the pandemic, and now we’re looking forward to building our brand and expanding the Pita Chip community.”
Alsaadi agrees that sharing his culture’s food is one of his greatest joys.
“For me, the best part about Pita Chip is sharing the food that I ate growing up with our guests. This food is intrinsic to who I am,” Alsaadi adds. “One bite of falafel and I’m transported back to Damascus, Syria, drinking in the aromas from all the wonderful street vendors’ foods.”
Pita Chip’s menu features salad bowls, rice bowls, and wraps filled with fresh falafel, chicken shawarma, beef shawarma, and roasted vegetables, as well as hummus and sides.