Review: Pita Hut ‘n Grille

To be honest, I really don’t remember who turned me on to Pita Hut ‘n Grille – it may have been one of the other food bloggers (Lisa or Rosie, perhaps?), it may have been a mention on Columbus Underground, it may have just been word of mouth. All I know for sure is that I’ve been coming here for a while now, and that it’s the darling of food lovers all over town for good reason. And I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t review it. I mean, if it’s good enough that I come here at least once a week, then it’s something I should be sharing with you lot, right? But the truth of the matter of why I hadn’t gotten around to reviewing it yet is much more mundane than that – yesterday was the first time I had actually dined in rather than just stopped by for takeout. We took my mother with us to try it and she chided me for holding out on her.

I’ll just put it out there. If you haven’t been here yet, you *must* go. Even if you’re a vegetarian. Especially if you’re a vegetarian, which I’ll explain further in a little bit.

It’s located in a rather non-descript row of storefronts on High Street, in between Graceland and Morse Rd. Sandwiched between Bob’s Bar, the “cultural hub of the Midwest” and a little carryout shop, it’s one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” locales. However, once you know it’s there, you can’t drive by it without being beckoned by the shawarma goodness that you know is inside. Even when I don’t have plans of stopping there, somehow my car is on autopilot and before I know it, I’m turning into the parking lot.

Inside, the decor is dated, but very, very clean. Spotless, even. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the left, where the shawarma beckons on its vertical spit. Layers of beef, and lamb and turkey are stacked and weighted down, and turn slowly throughout the day cooked by the infrared burners surrounding it.

Pita Hut 'n Grille Schwarma

A lot of people like to compare the shawarma to gyros, but the truth is, there’s a world of difference. Where gyro meat is chopped and formed, this is whole slices of meat in its natural state, with the resulting juices basting the meat beneath as it cooks, and slowly adding flavor that intensifies throughout the day.

If you get the shawarma, you can opt to have it as a sandwich ($4.99, fries are an additional .99) or a platter that includes 2 sides ($7.99). My husband and mother both opted for the platter, which they paired with what we all consider the best hummus in town and a very fresh, summery tasting tabbouleh salad, whose herby notes are tempered by just the right amount of lemon.

Pita Hut 'n Grille Schwarma Platter

If hummus or tabbouleh isn’t your thing, they offer tons of different options, all of which are vegetarian. Among your choices are a cauliflower based salad (with mushrooms, olives, peppers and onions) which has nutty and vinegary notes, and a salad that sort of reminds of a Middle Eastern salsa with tomatoes, onions, cucumber and parsley.

Pita Hut 'n Grille Salads

Other salads include this eggplant, mushroom and olive salad, which unfortunately, I haven’t tried yet. Also in the cold case you see some of the topping options for the sandwiches, like pickles, cabbage, and onions.

Pita Hut 'n Grille Salads 2

To round out the cold case, there’s an amazing buttery garlic condiment, decent cole slaw and potato salad, a so-so baba ganoush, chickpeas, tahina sauce, and hot sauce. It amazes me how organized their cold case is – notice how all the spoons are facing the same direction. Everything looks (and tastes) extremely fresh and the pride the employees take in their job shows. Quality control on all their offerings is impeccable. And if you’re not sure about an item? Ask for a sample, and they’re more than happy to give you a taste.

Pita Hut 'n Grille Salads 3

BTW, excuse the glare from the floor tiles in the pics of the cold case items. It goes to show how clean the glass is, if it’s throwing off that kind of reflection.

One of my favorite items at Pita Hut is their falafel, which is an absolute steal at 6 for $1. I opt for their falafel sandwich ($3.49) as often as I do for their meat-based sandwiches, which is saying a lot considering how much I love meat.

Pita Hut 'n Grille Falafel

Also excellent, although not vegetarian, is their kibbeh ($2), which is flavorful ground meat and pine nuts wrapped in a meat and bulghur wheat shell and then deep fried to crispiness. Paired with the tahina it’s served with, it makes for an excellent appetizer.

Pita Hut 'n Grille Kibbeh

On this trip, however, I opted for the shawarma sandwich, in which a soft pita is sliced open at the top only, filled with a generous schmear of hummus, followed by meat, and various condiments. I usually get it “with everything”, which means hummus, tomato/cucumber/onion, pickles, and tahina. Hot sauce (2 different types) is available on request.

Pita Hut 'n Grille Schwarma Sandwich and Fries

This is a sandwich that only gets better as you eat it, as the juices from the meat mix with everything at the bottom of the sandwich, culminating in a flavor bomb that will having you licking your fingers. These sandwiches are downright addictive. Even the fries are great. This is where I first had fries sprinkled with seasoned salt, and it’s now my standard way of eating fries.

On other trips I’ve also had the mixed grill and/or kofta, which come highly recommended. I don’t think I’ve ever really had anything *bad* here, come to think of it.

Long hours (they’re open to 11pm or later every night) mean that unless they run out (which has happened occasionally), you can get your fix pretty much whenever it hits. But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself why Pita Hut ‘n Grille is one of Columbus’ hidden gems. With plenty to offer omnivores and vegetarians alike, this is one choice that’s bound to please just about everyone.

ETA: As Rosie so kindly reminded me below, if you’re getting at least 2 sandwiches, make sure you use the coupon which will give you a third one free. Here’s the link: Pita Hut Coupon

If you’d like to go: Pita Hut ‘n Grille, 4965 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43214, 614.433.0996

Pita Hut Grille on Urbanspoon

17 thoughts on “Review: Pita Hut ‘n Grille

  1. oh my gosh, must go right this minute. i'm addicted to the falafal. i love to pour the cauliflower and olive salad all over it. and always ask for the dark green hot sauce, cilantro-spicy goodness.

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  3. This review and photos were so inspiring that we ran out and got some for dinner! We got the last of the shawarma, and it was awesome! Fries were perfect with it. Loved the hummus too, and you are so right about what a clean place and total gem!

  4. Becke – I reviewed Pita Hut right after they opened. Want to know the amazing thing? They are even better now than when they first opened and the food was amazing then!

    My only regret about the place is that it is hard to get into the parking lot if you are heading North on High St. Just be careful folks!

    BTW-The eggplant salad is good. That is usually what I get.

    Keeping in the theme of cheap eating out- if you go to the pita hut website they have coupons http://www.pitahutgrille.com

  5. this place looks like heaven on earth, and if it were located near me, i'd probably eat there every single day. thanks for the gorgeous pics!

  6. Yup, that's what I hear. I've been going for about a year now, and you're right – the food just keeps getting better and better.

    And thanks for the reminder about the coupons. I edited the entry to include the information. :)

  7. So true. It's funny how the places that don't look like much on the outside somehow have the most delicious food inside. It's a good thing we don't live closer. I joked to my husband yesterday that if we had bought a house in Beechwold (the neighborhood the restaurant is in) like we had planned, that we would be walking there pretty much every day.

  8. My friends and I frequent Bob's Bar for happy hour and we almost always grab Pita Pit to bring in for dinner. I LOOOOOVE their falafel!

  9. This place has really good humus, however I witnessed them serving food from the same spoon/spatula that was used to shovel raw meat from a plastic tub WITHOUT cleaning it. Beware, that is very unsanitary.

  10. The Pita Hut falafel is about the best I've had in this city, and undoubtedly an excellent value. The kibbeh and the hummus are also very good — and I'm very happy that they are opening another shop in Hilliard, which will be closer to my house.

    However, I'll have to keep looking for a better shawarma: A little Pita Hut shawarma, mixed in a sandwich with vegetables and a few condiments, can indeed be tasty initially; eventually, I find that the flavor becomes vulgar, the result of too much Fenugreek, a spice that can be too intense when not used judiciously. I would also get rid of the turkey — I'd love to find shawarma that would rely more on lamb than anything else.

    Any other good shawarma or homemade gyros shops in Columbus?

  11. We love this place. My hubby lived in the middle east and he says the taste is the most authentic around. I love their baba, it's the only baba I will eat. mmm

  12. There is a new Pita Hut n Grille on Hilliard Rome by the Subway and Cookie Cutters. Yanni's off of Cleveland Ave/270 N has fantastic gyros and baklava.

  13. I reviewed Pita Hut and a number of others for Yelp and Pita Hut is the best, mainly because of all the condiments. The only thing that bugs me a bit is that their shawarma is made of beef and turkey (gag me with a spoon). I guess all the condiments (including the hot sauce) cover up the taste. lol

  14. I think there's lamb in there too, actually. If you're looking for just lamb, etc. you can request them to do the meat cubes that they use in the mixed grill sandwich. I love them all.

  15. Wow! I'm blown away. I accidentally stumbled upon your blog (just today). I'm like a kid in a candy store as you seem to love my favorite subject! Cooking, recipes and sharing. I will mark this as a favorite. I live in Maine, around the Portland area. I'm a paralegal and love to cook in my spare time. (even when the time reallyisn't "spare" time). I will be back to visit. Let's get to 200 messages very soon! Enjoy and thank you for the warm welcome. Donna from Maine

  16. My housemate works nearby and turned me onto this place about a year ago. I love it! We eat here about once a week. Get the shawarma sandwich or platter. You will not be disappointed. Their fries are awesome because they fry them until they are a crispy golden brown. If you like Middle Eastern food this is the place to go!

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