Restaurant News & Reviews

There’s been a flurry of restaurant openings in Whatcom County this summer

The Pita Pit at 2426 James St., near Trader Joe’s, opened on Monday, Aug. 22.
The Pita Pit at 2426 James St., near Trader Joe’s, opened on Monday, Aug. 22. dgallagher@bhamherald.com

Dave Savage has opened a restaurant near Trader Joe’s that will be easily recognizable to both locals and cross-border shoppers.

Pita Pit at 2426 James St. opened on Monday, Aug. 22, offering made-to-order pita sandwiches that offer a variety of grilled meats, vegetables, cheeses and sauces.

It’s one of several restaurants opening or in the process of opening in Whatcom County in the past few weeks. It’s generally a good time to open a restaurant, giving the eateries a chance to get established before local residents come back from vacation and the arrival of college students.

The Pita Pit restaurant chain is well-known in town, having first entered the market in 2003 when it opened its downtown space on Railroad Avenue (Savage does not have franchise ownership of the downtown Pita Pit). As for Canadians, Pita Pit originally started in Ontario in 1995 and has 12 restaurants in British Columbia, Savage said.

That was part of the thinking that led to opening near Trader Joe’s, which is popular with Canadians and local residents.

While the menu will look similar to the downtown Bellingham Pita Pit, the decor of the restaurant on James Street will have a different look with big screen televisions and booth seating. Savage also has decided to add a one-mile radius delivery service, which he hopes will be a hit in the area, particularly with nearby businesses where people may have trouble getting out for lunch.

The new business also has become a family affair – his wife, Kim, is handling the books while his daughter, Jennifer, is the assistant manager. In total the James Street restaurant has 24 employees.

The Sunnyland Square Pita Pit is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For further details, visit BellinghamPitaPit.com or call 360-933-1115.

Here is a roundup of recent restaurant happenings:

▪  Los Cantaritos Mexican Restaurant at 3040 Northwest Ave. opened earlier this summer with the goal of providing authentic cuisine using fresh local ingredients. The restaurant’s owner is Leonardo Valerio, who has 15 years experience in the industry.

▪  Seattle-based MOD Pizza is making preparations to be in Bellingham this fall.

The fast casual restaurant is aiming for an early November opening at 2925 Newmarket St. in Barkley Village near Starbucks. The restaurant will hire about 30 employees and will give all pizza sale proceeds on opening day to a yet-to-be-determined local nonprofit, said Charlotte Wayte, marketing manager for the company.

MOD’s style of pizza is cooking it in an 800-degree oven in less than three minutes, and salads are individually hand-tossed for each customer, according to the company. The eatery also has hand-spun milkshakes.

▪  Diego’s Mexican Grill and Take Out at 300 Samish Way quietly shut down operations earlier this month; no indication was given on whether there are plans to reopen it.

▪  Hundred North, a fine-dining restaurant next to the Mount Baker Theatre at 100 N. Commercial St., opened in August.

▪  Coconut Kenny’s opened its new Lynden restaurant on Wednesday, Aug. 10. It is in the former Milt’s Pizza Place space in the Lynden Towne Plaza at 8122 Guide Meridian. The Lynden restaurant is the fifth for the company, with the others in Bellingham, Ferndale, Burlington and Sedro-Woolley.

▪  Building permits and a liquor license application were submitted to put in a business called Café Velo at 120 Prospect St., near the Whatcom Museum. The applicants on the state liquor license are Andrew Francis and Kim Strong.

▪  The Hawaiian restaurant Aloha Poke at 1102 Harris Ave. in Fairhaven opened at the end of July.

Restaurant Update runs monthly in Take Five. Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, dgallagher@bhamherald.com, @BhamHeraldBiz

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