After 19 years of serving DeKalb citizens and students of NIU alike, Pita Pete’s announced on Nov. 30, via its Facebook page, that it would close its doors Saturday.
Pita Pete’s, 901 Lucinda Ave., is a restaurant that focuses on healthy and quick meals with the belief that “fast food can be both healthy and delicious,” according to the restaurant’s website. Among its menu items were pitas, salads and hummus — all of which are homemade.
While the restaurant is closing, there is potential for Pita Pete’s, and its $200,000 gross revenue, to live again. Owner Leslie Metz has placed the business for sale on BizBuySell, a website for people to sell their businesses, with an asking price of $45,000 despite its value of $84,000, according to the store’s BizBuySell page. Metz listed her reason for leaving the business as being “burnt out after almost 20 years of this.”
One of the main features of Pita Pete’s that attracts students is its specialization in vegetarian and vegan options, said Kate McCabe, a student at NIU and employee at Pita Pete’s.
“My [first-] year, I was a vegan, and I basically lived off Pita Pete’s,” McCabe said. “The dining halls had little to offer and NIU did not offer any accommodations to me since I didn’t not have allergies or intolerances, but just chose to eat vegan.”
McCabe, is also an employee of Pita Pete’s since August and described her job as having “been a really great experience.” The store’s owner, Metz, was one of the best bosses she’s ever had, McCabe said.
“She is incredibly caring and looks after all her employees,” McCabe said. “We are all a team at Pita Pete’s. I’ve worked quite a few food service jobs, and this one has been incredibly refreshing.”
Pita Pete’s currently offers online ordering on Eat Street, due to in-store dining has essentially become impossible. This will continue until the store’s last day of business, according to the store’s Facebook page.
“I am sad to see such a unique place with so many vegan/vegetarian options and such a kind, caring staff close,” McCabe said. “It will be greatly missed. I also just want to express my thankfulness to Leslie for serving the community so well for so many years in running Pita Pete’s. I truly wish her the best.”
Owner Leslie Metz declined to comment.