Greek dishes from the Old World, but with a modern American twist.
That’s what’s in the works for Lindenhurst’s soon-to-be-opened Greek restaurant called Pita Bowl.
Pita Bowl, located at 280A North Wellwood Avenue, is being fashioned mostly as a takeout place with a Chipotle-style ordering system.
There, customers will get to choose between ordering pita bread or a bowl and filling either with a choice of protein, vegetables, and homemade sauces (scroll down to see the ordering process.)
The pitas will predominately be used to build gyros, according to the owners.
And gyro is pronounced without a hard “g” in the Greek language, reminds Rea Leunes and Anna Pisani, who are two longtime friends opening this venture together — along with their families.
The South Shore residents, who both have Greek roots, have known each other since childhood. And they both grew up working in their families’ diners.
“Our fathers were very close growing up,” said Anna. “But I always say, even if our parents didn’t know each other, we’d still be friends because we are always on the same wavelength.”
They stayed close over the years, relationship-wise and geographically.
Rea, a Lindenhurst resident for 20-plus years, owns C’est La Vie, a women’s fashion boutique a few doors down, while Anna lives next door, in West Babylon.
After years of contemplating opening a business together, Rea’s son, Dean, sparked this idea.
“I wanted to have a place where you can get traditional Greek taste, but add the ability to customize our dishes,” said Dean, a culinary graduate from Johnson & Wales University.
Everything lined up perfectly when Rea received a call from a landlord of an opening a couple of stores down — the old Han City Chinese Kitchen location.
“The opportunity fell in our lap,” said Rea. “I knew I wanted to open up where I live; it is where my heart is.”
The two families signed the lease in March, and are expecting to open the approximately 1,000-square-foot, 16-seat restaurant this summer.
While the building will be completely remodeled and new, the recipes for Pita Bowl’s food are centuries old.
“We are using family recipes constantly passed down,” said Dean.
That includes selling traditional pork gyros with french fries in them, which is how they’re served in their home country.
However, the customizable component to the ordering lets people try different combinations.
“Some people like barbecue sauce or hot sauce on their gyros,” said Steve, Rea’s husband. “We will have those options.”
how it works
The customization comes in the form of a multi-step process:
- Pita or bowl (bowls are served with a rice or salad base)
- Protein: chicken, pork, lamb, and falafel are among the options
- Pick from a variety of fresh vegetables
- Add condiments and homemade sauces
Check back at GreaterBabylon to learn more about Pita Bowl’s opening.
Top: (L-R) Steve Leunes, Rea Leunes, Anna Pasini, Dean Leunes, and Antoinetta Leunes outside of their soon-to-be-opened Pita Bowl.