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Gig Harbor native returns home to open Pita Pit restaurant

After months of planning and preparations, a ribbon-cutting ceremony occurred in early December at Friedman’s new Pita Pit, located at 4784 Borgen Blvd.
After months of planning and preparations, a ribbon-cutting ceremony occurred in early December at Friedman’s new Pita Pit, located at 4784 Borgen Blvd. jbessex@gateline.com

A native of Gig Harbor recently turned his dreams into reality by opening a new franchise restaurant in his hometown.

Joshua Friedman, 32, is owner of a new Pita Pit restaurant in the Shops at Harbor Hill retail center near Costco.

A 2002 graduate of Peninsula High School, Friedman was first introduced to Pita Pit years ago during a visit to Idaho. While there, a family member suggested eating at a Pita Pit, resulting in both a meal and a subsequent restaurant business career for Friedman.

In 2007, Friedman earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, where he promptly opened a Pita Pit franchise.

“I could eat two pitas a day for five years without getting sick of it,” said Friedman, who worked full-time at the shop to establish the business.

I could eat two pitas a day for five years without getting sick of it.

Joshua Friedman, owner of new Pita Pit

Friedman moved back to Gig Harbor in early 2016 with hopes of introducing local residents to Pita Pit. After months of planning and preparations, a ribbon-cutting ceremony occurred in early December at Friedman’s new Pita Pit, located at 4784 Borgen Blvd.

“I always knew I wanted to come back to Gig Harbor,” said Friedman, who grew up on Peacock Hill.

Business has been brisk since the store’s opening, Friedman said, with some guests returning repeatedly. Aaron Van Arsdale and his 16-month-old daughter, Kenzie, enjoy pita sandwiches and have been among the shop’s most frequent repeat customers.

“The first time we bought one for her to try,” Van Arsdale said, “she dug in and wouldn’t put it down until it was gone.”

Friedman said he’s proud to be a Pita Pit franchise owner because of the healthy food options the company offers to its customers.

Pita Pit, part of the “fast casual” restaurant movement aimed at offering diners fresher and more natural food options, debuted in Canada more than 20 years ago. In 1999, the chain’s first store opened in the U.S., where there are now more than 240 locations nationwide. The company has a total of more than 500 locations globally, with more on the way.

“Pita Pit creates a fun, casual atmosphere where customers can create their perfect pita amongst our endless flavor combinations of lean meats, toppings and spreads,” according to the Pita Pit USA corporate website.

Friedman’s enthusiasm for Pita Pit also extends to his employees. Carrina Wagner worked at Friedman’s Ellensburg store for six years before moving to Gig Harbor to help open the new location.

“I love it,” said Wagner, who added that she appreciates the fun work environment and the promotion of healthy eating.

For more information about the new Pita Pit in Gig Harbor, visit: https://www.facebook.com/pitapitgigharbor/?fref=ts.

Michelle McGrath, a freelance writer based in Parkland, is a member of MediaLab at Pacific Lutheran University. She can be reached at mcgratme@plu.edu.

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