Pita House, a Mediterranean restaurant located in Greenville at 495 Pleasantburg Drive, is a family-run restaurant that delivers a taste of classic dishes from the Middle East.
Pita House is owned by three brothers from the Middle East who opened the restaurant 33 years ago. Hani Namouz, an employee and the son of one of the owners of the restaurant said, “They all came from Palestine and moved to Greenville, and wanted to showcase Mediterranean food, as well as further their careers in cooking. They’ve been working hard and working at it for a longtime, and [Pita House] has gotten to be really big.”
The name of the restaurant is a reference to pita bread, a pocket of flat bread baked from wheat flour, which is popular in the Middle East. “Pita bread is served with every meal in the Middle East,” Namouz said. “There’s always some pita bread involved in your meal, regardless of what it is.”
But Pita House is not only a restaurant: on the other side of the building is a grocery store filled with Mediterranean products. “Some of the stuff here is stuff that we make,” Namouz said. “A lot of the stuff we have here, you can’t find in other stores.” Namouz said some of their products come from places like Jordan, Egypt and Palestine. “For a lot of the people that come here, this restaurant reminds them of home,” Namouz said.
Namouz said his favorite meal is the Middle East plate because of its variety. “It’s like our sampler. You get hummus, falafels and tahini salad with a bunch of veggies, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles,” Namouz said. Maurice Khoury, a junior premed major from Jordan, also recommends the $6.99 Middle East Plate, which he said has a little bit of everything.
Khoury said he found the restaurant after Googling Middle Eastern restaurants in the area. After one visit, he was hooked and continued to return to the shop. “In a way, it is authentic,” Khoury said. “The people who run it and I have similar backgrounds and we’re able to relate to each other.”
Khoury said food is an important part of Jordanian culture because of the unrushed social interaction associated with it. “In Jordan, time is not as valuable as it is in the United States – but social interactions, which are always grouped around food, are very valuable…which [in turn] makes food extremely valuable,” Khoury said. Pita House offers an environment that also values both food and the interaction it encourages.
Jon Daulton, director of student life and an enthusiastic fan of Pita House, said he first found the restaurant after returning from a trip to Israel.
“I came back from Israel and found that Pita House was ranked number one in the top ten Mediterranean restaurants in Greenville,” Daulton said. “So, I checked it out with a friend and had a great experience.” The Pita House is also currently ranked No. 1 of 103 Greenville “Quick Bites” options on TripAdvisor.
“I enjoy the chicken or beef shawarma,” Daulton said. “It’s basically seasoned strips of chicken or beef that they cook on a skewer that comes with vegetables.” The plate costs $8.
“Mediterranean food is generally pretty healthy compared to our American cuisine,” Daulton said. “I enjoy the variety of healthy options and their reasonably priced food.”
Daulton said his favorite thing about going to the restaurant is that it is informal and like walking down to the corner hot dog stand. “It is a real simple environment,” Daulton said. “Every time I go in there, it is packed with people.”
Pita House is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays.