Pick a Pita (aka My Quest for the French Fry Stuffed Shwarma)

A little over a month ago, this photo was posted to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group by joshbousel:

For un-fat people not looking to stuff various foods with french fries, a picture like this might be hard to decipher.  I am not one of those people.  Thanks to Josh, I became aware of the very exciting information that Pick a Pita (on 38th btw. 7+8th) will stuff your falafel or shwarma sandwich with french fries.  Immediately this place went from “that shwarma place I heard was good and should probably try out” to “Pick a Pita.  The greatest place ever invented in the history of mankind”.

Apparently stuffing your shwarma sandwich or falafel in pita is commonplace in many countries in the Middle East… but for some reason I have not seen it done at any of the places in Midtown.  I’m sure there are places I have been to that will put french fries in your sandwich if you ask, but Pick a Pita doesn’t force you to figure this out for yourself.  They suggest it for you:

50 cents is a small price to pay for the greatest sandwich condiment of all time.  Sure, you can order french fries anywhere and put them on top yourself, but then people might think you are fat and disgusting.  Pay someone else to do it, and now it’s not your fault!  “Honey… it wasn’t MY idea.  They put them in the sandwich BEFORE they gave it to me!”  If that doesn’t work, I just go with the more accurate ”I’d be crazy NOT to get the fries stuffed into the sandwich!”

More food porn, and the +/- after the jump…

Besides the whole french fry thing, Pick a Pita is a pretty standard Israeli style falafel & shwarma place.  Tucked away on 38th St. btw. 7+8th, right now- the sign is covered in scaffolding.  Once you find the sign, you actually have to walk through some sort of weird loading dock/hallway to get into the small storefront.  They only have about 4-5 tables, so be prepared to take it to go if the tables are all filled up.

Pick a Pita has falafel, chicken & lamb shwarma, shnitzel and various kebabs all available in platter or sandwich form.  Not sure what to order?  Hover for a little while, and they will probably offer you a taste of the super tasty chicken shwarma cut straight from the hot spit.  I actually saw them give one lady a whole falafel ball, just to try.  A platter comes with 2 side orders, but if you order a sandwich- they pretty much allow you to stuff it with whatever you want.

On a mission, I knew exactly what I wanted without looking at the menu.  1 Chicken shwarma sandwich with french fries please!  “Do you want the fries on the side or in the sandwich?”  Look at my stomach buddy.  What do you think???  I also had them throw some eggplant, tomato & cucumber salad, carrots and cabbage in there, topped off with the fries and tahini.  The picture doesn’t really do the thing justice… all you can see is the tahini covered french fries.  I guess in the end, it is sort of fitting.

The chicken shwarma was flavorful and delicious, and the toppings were all great as well.  You have your choice of everything you could possibly want, including eggplant- which was my favorite.  But the real star of the thing was the bread.  Their pita bread is really fluffly and fresh tasting, unlike alot of the stalish, thin pita breads you find at falafel places in Midtown (Moshe’s & House of Pita I’m looking at you). The whole thing cost $8.00 ($7.50 for the sandwich, 50 cents for the fries)…  A little pricey for a smallish sandwich in pita bread, but considering how great all the ingredients were (and their willingness to stuff it with fries), I didn’t really mind.  As is the case in most places like this, the falafel is the much cheaper option.  $5.00 (plus 50 cents for the french fries of course).  Not as good a deal as Kosher Deluxe, but still a great option for your falafel or shwarma fix.

Despite the hype, the french fries didn’t really add anything to the sandwich- other than me being able to revel in my own fatness, exclaiming that I had a sandwich stuffed with french fries!  But such is life.  Sometimes food is more about fun (and making people think you’re disgusting) than taste.

THE +

  • They’ll pretty much stuff whatever you want into the pita for you!
  • Really tasty chicken shwarma, and good falafel
  • Great selection of salads and veggies for pita stuffing
  • The service is super nice, and they usually will give you a sample of something if the place isn’t too crowded and you are undecided.

THE -

  • $7.50-$8.00 is a little pricey for a pita sized shwarma sandwich.  Usually for that price you can get a much larger sandwich on laffa
  • In the end the french fries were a little limp & soggy, and didn’t really add too much to the sandwich
  • The place is tiny, and there isn’t alot of seating (meaning you may have to take it to go)
  • The hot sauce isn’t super hot

Pick a Pita, 247 W 38th St. (btw. 7+8th) 212-730-7482

Now located at 601 8th Ave (btw. 39+40th)

14 Comments

  • They have never had rotating lamb ever. Do they have it now? Why is it so hard to find rotating lamb around here.

    They always tell me chicken only. I still like the chicken shwarma alot.

     

    I saw lamb shwarma on their menu, so I just assumed they had it…  hmmm.  Maybe it’s a lie?  Interesting.  -zach

  • If you’re ever in DC, go to Quick Pita in Georgetown. It’s a Lebanese joint that serves schwarma with fries *inside* and an ubelievable garlic sauce. It’s called the “Quick Pita Special.”

  • You didn’t like the soggy fries? Ha, I should have warned that’s what they’re like. It’s also how they’re made in the Middle East, so I think I like them more on a sentimental level than culinary one.

  • Cait – Great to meet another Quick Pita fan. The special with fries and garlic is perhaps one of the most special sandwiches ever conceived. Although, it’s a shame that the special runs through you like river water.

  • The greeks also stuff their gyros with fries… mmm…
    and I -love- the Israeli style pita breads…Kosher Delight gets that right too, but their baguette is so damn good too.

  • Haha when you wrote “fries in pita” my first thought was “They did that EVERYWHERE in Greece” (for some reason, I didn’t feel like photographing ALL of my food, so I’m missing those pictures. And I don’t remember all of the meals now, doh!) – too funny you wrote that next. It’s funny also bc on their menus will read “fries are frozen” … hehehe. Awesome.

  • The “fat” sandwiches at Rugtger’s Grease Trucks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grease_Trucks) are well known for the inclusion of french fries. I always thought it was a local thing, but most of the trucks are operated by guys from the middle east.

  • Hi i know am not in Midtown am in Astoria Queens i just want you all to check out my FALAFEL and let me give u the best

  • I’ve visited this place in mid-town and I must say they have the best tasting shwarma and fallafel in the city. You must go there for your next lunch break. The spicey sauce is so tasty it’ll have you begging for more.

    p.s.

    You must try the fries because they taste so home made. delicious!

  • I went there last friday and they looked closed. Maybe it was the time of day (7pm) The door was open but it looked like they were doing construction. Any info on this?

     

    They probaby close early on Friday for Shabbat.  -zach

  • If it’s fries in your sandwich you want, you must try Oympic Pita, on 38th btw. 5th and 6th. For $7 you can get a gigantic falafel laffa (amazingly chewy and delicious flatbread) sandwich stuffed with anything you want from their salad bar. I get it with fried eggplant, cole slaw, french fries, pickles, and, as a health concession, I let them put a little Israeli salad on it. Plus, you get a little container to fill from their salad bar (more fried eggplant).

  • Oh man, this makes me think of those amazing kebabs you can get in France. SO good. And the fries were always piping hot and crispy when I got them.

    And that European mayo…

  • Most delicious eggplant ever! The hummus and shwarma is really good too, but they should put more meat in it.

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