Pita Jungle

In 1994, Valley residents Bassel Osmani, Nelly Kohsok and Fouad Khodr opened their first Pita Jungle in Tempe. “They had met at Arizona State University as students and, not finding many vegetarian and/or healthy options, they joined their efforts — and the Pita Jungle idea was born — offering good, healthy and affordable eats,” says Bettina Loison, communications manager for the Scottsdale-based company.

Since then, Pita Jungle has expanded to a dozen restaurants in the Valley and 17 overall, including three California locations: Newport Beach, San Diego and Pasadena. The 18th restaurant in Tucson’s upscale Oro Valley opens later this year. In addition, the company also caters small family to large company events.

The Pita Jungle concept: Offer a healthful and natural cuisine, crafted within the principles of the Mediterranean diet, Loison explains. “The menu flourishes with items that seek to balance greens, grains, vegetables, meats, and fruits. Ingredients like olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs add flavor and good nutrition to a long list of featured dishes.”

Above all is food quality, based on fresh ingredients and simple preparation. “The first provides the ultimate delivery vessel of high-quality nutrients,” Osmani adds. “Our food is made from scratch every day, using only the freshest ingredients. Secondly, good preparation ensures minimal nutrient loss and contamination from overprocessing or overcooking.”

In addition, Pita Jungle is also in everyone’s budget — a uniquely perfect place for singles, couples or families. “We offer healthy eats at affordable prices,” Loison says. Pita Jungle has also a healthy and affordable kid’s menu. This is an education, too: “At Pita Jungle, children learn at an early age that eating healthy can also be fun,” she says.

The extensive menu includes Starters, Pita Wraps, Salads (such as the popular Caribbean Salad), Pizzas, Burgers (vegetarian, of course) and Featured Specials such as the Chicken Tikka Masala, broiled chicken in coconut Masala sauce, and the Mahi Mahi with Pita Chips, served with cilantro-jalapeno hummus, Pico de Gallo, pine nuts and pea sprouts as well as Tapas during Happy Hour and Reverse Happy Hour.

Selection and value are emphasized. For example, you can choose a basic Hummus, chickpea puree with tahini sauce, with garlic and lemon juice; a Roasted Bell Pepper Hummus; or a Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus — all for the same price of $4.99.

Unique food and unique locations make each Pita Jungle stand out as well. “Unlike other multi-location concepts, each restaurant has been designed with a different look,” she says. “Those differences personalize and help accentuate a sense of belonging of each restaurant to its own neighborhood and epoch.”

These varying styles include eclectic-bohemian, urban chic, modern slick and environmental green: “But binding all the stores is that unmistakable Pita Jungle vibe,” she says. “Add the dynamism of our staff, local-art monthly rotations on the walls and an eclectic blend of music, ranging from classic to Cuban, Jazz to Indie, and the distinct Pita Jungle vibe has evoked a cultlike admiration that is easy to embrace but illusive to pinpoint.”

Responsible and healthy living also means a company commitment to the Earth and sustainability. For example, through the purchase of carbon credits, Pita Jungle offsets all of its operation-related carbon emissions so that the company is carbon neutral, Loison explains.

“Pita Jungle represents the best in quality, preparation, presentation, value, ambiance and corporate dedication to a better planet,” she says. “Please join us at one of our locations soon, and enjoy.”

For more information on the nearest Pita Jungle and to preview the menu, please visit www.pitajungle.com or e-mail friends@pitajungle.com.

Each month, Highline Autos visits a business that exemplifies the quality its readers expect in hospitality, dining, apparel, travel, jewelry and other exceptional services and merchandise.