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April 22, 1999



Call me crazy but there’s a small revolution going on when a Taco Bell goes out of business and a small independently owned restaurant takes its place. What is even more revolutionary is that the Pita Place and its neighbor the Red Apple Grill seem to be beating the franchisers at their own game, and doing it without advertising. What they have income on is on premises owners, fresh food and a distinct absence of anything canned or prefabricated. Throw in a dollop of imagination and a staff that actually seems to enjoy working there and you have the anti-franchise in more ways than one. It’s almost enough to send that obnoxious Chihuahua straight to the animal shelter for disenfranchised mascots--where I’m hoping he’ll be stepped on by Joe Camel or poisoned by a toxic Budweiser frog.

The point being of course, that the more any foodstuff is advertised the less worthy it is. This inverse ratio of quality to commercial time is never more apparent than in the millions spent promoting watered down beer, nutritionally worthless soft drinks, pathetic pizza and lousy Mexican food, all of which underscores why we should applaud the underdogs when they drive all those flatulent food franchises into monochrome valley where they belong. On South Jones near Spring Mountain that’s exactly what's happening, especially at the Pita place which is consistently crowded with discriminating customers who appreciate some of the best Middle Eastern food in town. All the kabobs and pita sandwiches are first rate and the french fries and seven different Mediterranean salads, from cumin-spiked eggplant to lemony tabouli or a hot and tangy chopped tomatoes or baba ganoujh will knock your socks off, and at the Red Apple Grill, the smell of slow cooked BBQ chicken, beef, and pork wafting through the air for a quarter mile in each direction will draw you to its indoor/outdoor dining spot like no aroma in town. Just try experiencing that sometime at Taco Bell.

This is John Curtas

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