Midtown Falafel Institution ‘House of Pita’ Says Goodbye (For Now)
Word has come in from an email tipster that House of Pita on 8th Ave. btw. 39+40th is now closed:
Looks like another one bites the dust in that spot. First Mandler’s, now House of Pita. I think that location is jinxed. I walked by quickly and I didn’t see any signs (like the yellow DOH), but there’s paper over all the windows. Doesn’t look too promising.
I got the confirmation from the owner shortly after:
Someone came in and loved the location, service and the food. They made us an offer that was just too hard to refuse. Lots of $$$$, so we sold. The name is not part of the sale. We will take a long vacation and think about our next step.
The recent history of House of Pita has been a long and kind of sad one. 2 year ago they were at the center of the Midtown falafel universe. Their window on 48th btw. 5+6th, nestled inside a hallway filled with jewelers, had become pretty popular- with office workers lining up every day for their Israeli style falafel.
Knowing they were going to lose their lease on the original window location, H.O.P. opened a second location in June of last year on 45th btw. 5+6th. The space was much larger, with actual seating, and they expanded their menu for the first time, to include salads, fresh squeezed juices, pizza(?), and more. But according to the owner this was always just a temporary solution, until they found a long term location.
The original location closed November (and still remains empty), and then (in what the owner called a planned move) the second location closed in December. In January 2008, House Pita made its triumphant return in the former Mandler’s Sausage location on 8th Ave. btw. 39+40th. They expanded the menu even further, and with the New York Times building opening up across the street you’d think the H.O.P. would be alright. And who knows, maybe they would have been? But it looks look somebody else thought the space was more valuable, and now they’re gone.
I was told the new owners are going to serve the same kind of food, and I would have thought that it would be a chain, because they are the ones who can afford buyouts like that. Somebody like Crisp (the new’ish falafel place on 3rd Ave.) or Maoz Vegetarian. But the owner of HOP says it is a sole proprietor. I’ll keep you updated.
In the meantime, RIP HOP- for now. And as soon as you’re done with vacation, let us know.