Kent Pita Pit closing shop after Kent Halloween

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Employee Russell Baker makes pitas for customers Taylor Collett and Matt Mudd on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at Pita Pit in downtown Kent’s Acorn Alley.

Dylan Reynolds

The Kent Pita Pit is closing its doors permanently.

The downtown sandwich shop announced on its Facebook page Sunday that “October 28th will be Kent Pita Pit’s last day of business.”

The post said the business’s eight-year run was “wonderful,” but “all good things have to come to an end.” A sign posted on Pita Pit’s front door gave the same message.

Pita Pit brands itself as a healthier alternative to fast food with the tagline: “Fresh Thinking, Healthy Eating.” The national chain has many locations near college campuses, offering a variety of meat and vegetarian pita sandwiches.

Neither the sign nor the Facebook post gave a reason for closing, but an online real estate listing said Pita Pit’s “seller and his family have built a huge new restaurant in the Stark County area and want to devote their energies to the new restaurant.”

Manager Troy Martin said he was surprised to hear the restaurant was closing.

“I knew that we were up for sale when somebody actually came in one day and they were like, ‘This place is up for sale,’” Martin said. “And then we looked online and we saw under the listings that Pita Pit was up for sale.”

He said owner and operator Tana Walther informed him Wednesday, Oct. 18 the business had been sold.

Walther could not be reached for comment before publication, and Kent’s Community Development Team could not confirm any details of the situation.

Pita Pit will be replaced by Burnside Barbecue, a traditional barbecue restaurant co-owned by chefs Emily Hansford and Phil Everett. In a video on Burnside’s Kickstarter page, Everett described the restaurant as a “fast, casual barbecue concept.”

“Some of the offerings that you’ll see at Burnside Barbecue will be like brisket, burnt ends, ribs, sausage, and side dishes like cornbread, baked beans, potato salad, those sorts of things,” he said.

Pita Pit opened in downtown Kent’s Acorn Alley in 2009, and the sandwich shop has been attracting students and community members since. One regular customer is Emma Luther, a freshman nursing major who had been frequenting the restaurant since she began college.

“I’m pretty sad. This is like a Monday ritual, coming here,” she said, adding she’ll probably have to “find the other location and drive there” on future Mondays.

Customers’ last chance to buy a pita is Saturday, a day when downtown will likely be crowded with Halloween partygoers.

After the Kent location closes, the nearest Pita Pit will be in Akron.

Dylan Reynolds is the business and neighborhoods reporter. Contact him at [email protected]