University News

Cones make way for pita pockets

By
Staff Writer
Monday, October 17, 2011

Like a star shooting across the night sky of low-priced dining options, pizza cone purveyor Toledo had a brilliant but short-lived run. Thayer Pita Pockets, the eatery that has quietly replaced Toledo, offers a combination of gyros, falafel, deli wraps, New York style pizza and pizza cones. Thayer Pita Pockets is a joint venture between Mark Joia, who owned Toledo, and his cousin Mike Najab.

“I wanted to give the street something a little different,” Najab said. “Toledo used to be only cones, but we wanted to serve people well and noticed that pockets were very popular.”

The new eatery is similar to East Side Pockets, but it will use the owners’ unique homemade Middle Eastern recipes, he said.

The manager of East Side Pockets, Paul Boutros, said he was unaware of the change. But “competition is good because people can have a variety to choose from,” he said.

“Many copied the concept, but with the economy not everyone can survive,” Boutros said, adding that he has been in business since 1997. “We even had a falafel place right next door that closed,” he said.

While students said they appreciate the diversity of options on Thayer Street, they had mixed reactions to Thayer Pita Pocket’s debut.

“I don’t really think we need to have pizzas in a cone. I definitely am loyal to East Side. I’m in no way upset about Toledo going,” said Isabel Harvey ’12, who lives across from Thayer Pita Pockets.

“I think on College Hill there is a great demand for quick sandwiches with fresh ingredients. So it depends on the ingredients and the people in charge,” said Tom Deighton ’13.

Grace Wu ’13 does not eat at either pita pocket venue, but said her attitude is “the more the merrier.”

Thayer Pita Pockets should keep its pizza cones, said Chris Shikaso, a Providence local who visited the restaurant with a friend for dinner. “I don’t know anywhere else you can find it in the area.”

Many added that the new eatery should introduce more sandwich deli menus or a salad option.

Thayer Pita Pockets is also serving menu specials with fountain drinks for $5 to $6. “I want to give the students a little break,” Najab said of the deal. He is planning a grand opening for the new eatery in the near future, he added.