Profile: LaPita Restaurant

By Beena Inam, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

Hardly do we have time to grab a healthy snack as we hustle between our obligations; however, things have started to change, after the opening of a new Mediterranean Grill restaurant LaPita at Wayne State University’s main campus in Detroit on Cass just one block west of Woodward Ave.

Specializing in mid-eastern cuisine, this marvelously designed restaurant makes it easy for the Wayne State students and its employees, to enjoy a fresh healthy meal between classes, or on the go.

“I loved the food here. I sit in the dining room and eat here once a week and carryout two to three times in addition. It is deliciously made, it’s fresh and it’s healthy. But you have to be strategic about the crowd sometimes, there is such huge lines here that it can take a while to pick up your food. I just call my meal and it’s perfect,” said Becky Hart, an associate curator at Detroit Institute of Arts.

LaPita opened in winter’05 and since then it has been famous among everyone around the Wayne State University campus, and is always bustling with people.

“Lots of students, employees and neighborhood people comes here with families, the prices are very cheap and they can even save 10 percent from their total bill after 4 PM,” said Mohamad Zarrour, the manager of LaPita.

Designed as a two-story restaurant, with two staircases on both sides, it can accommodate 60 people to dine-in. During the summer, there is additional seating outside the restaurant; however, sometimes it gets so crammed that people have to line-up inside to wait for their turn to be seated.

“From Monday to Thursday it’s the busiest because lots of classes are going on. Friday it slows down a little bit. Saturday is the slowest day, depends only on the neighborhood people and the students,” Zarrour said.

The décor is purely Arabic in nature. Arabic music takes the customer into a journey to a Mid-Eastern setting. The wall hanging, the faucets with the beads hanging around them, sets the mood high to savor every nibble of the food. TV in one corner allows diners to relax while dining. The room is made up of a mixture of banquette seating and regular tables.

“Décor is the most impressive part. They did a very nice job. It’s a very nice lay out,” said Ewolf, a photographer who only goes by his first name.

LaPita has choices even for the most finicky of diners. From traditional pitas to gourmet baguettes, everything has a nice zing to it.

Students nowadays are becoming even more conscious of their diet and try to incorporate healthy food in their diets.

“I like the food and it’s also convenient because I have a 12:50 class at old main. And it is also healthy,” said Jennifer Boivin, a student at Wayne State.

Their liquid health bar consists of natural drinks from carrot and apple juice to whey protein shakes, to keep its customers invigorated through the day. They have catering services available for parties as well.

“I try a different thing every week. I do think that the prices are little high but I still come here,” said Dani Yakoub, a student at Wayne State.

The menu of the restaurant comprises a wide variety of food for everyone to choose from. As the food is halal, it gives an opportunity to the Muslims as well to dine here.

Muslims as part of their religious belief are extremely concerned that the food they eat and the products they use are halal.

“Finally I can also dine in to enjoy a healthy meal in the vicinity of Wayne State University,” said Ali Mirza, a student at Wayne State.

Wanda Kesey, a probation officer of Juvenile Court of Detroit, feels very satisfied with the service and the quantity of the food.

She said, “Its very good and very tasty, it is seasoned well and they give you nice amount of food, enough that you have some to take home with you. Service is very good. We will come back again and again.”

The restaurant has found their niche. The tweak in the menu keeps it fresh, while maintaining the vibe that has made them such a popular neighborhood destination. If you are looking for a scrumptious ethnic food and one that is hale and hearty then this place might be it.

LaPita is located at 5056 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI, open 6 days (M-F 8AM-9:30PM; Sa 11AM-4PM). 313-831-4550.