Pita Gourmet to expand in Southtowns with new Hamburg site

Pita Gourmet will expand its reach in the Southtowns with a new location in Hamburg, with plans to open in a former Pizza Hut in May.

The local Mediterranean chain is working with Bevilacqua Development L.P., which developed the 2,938-square-foot building at 5565 Camp Road where Pizza Hut closed its franchise early in the pandemic. Bevilacqua bought the building last year in partnership with broker Tammy Recckio.

The store, which will employ 15 to 18, will be Pita Gourmet’s first standalone location, joining stores in Niagara Falls, East Amherst, Williamsville, Orchard Park and Amherst on Sheridan Drive, the newest store that opened in early January. Bevilacqua developed the stores in East Amherst and Orchard Park as well.

It’s the next in a series of new restaurants to be developed at former Pizza Hut sites.

Plans call for redeveloping the interior to match Pita Gourmet’s signature color scheme and branding, said Joe Mahfouz, who co-owns the business with his brother, Mark.

“We want everything to be uniform with branding, the color scheme and the finishes,” he said. “This will be our first standalone location and will be one of our larger stores.”

Founded in 2005, the company specializes in fast-casual Mediterranean-American fusion, including stuffed pitas, souvlaki, hummus and wraps and salads.

The brothers had been eyeing Hamburg for a while, Mahfouz said.

“We wanted to extend our presence in the Southtowns, parlaying our Orchard Park location, and Hamburg’s a good fit with our demographics,” he said.

No plans are underway for further expansion for now, but there is talk of growing outside the region.

“We’re not sure we’re there yet, but everything we do now is with that in mind,” he said. “We make our decisions with the ultimate goal of regional or national franchising, but there’s many steps yet to get there.”