There's a new restaurant in town that takes healthy choices to extremes. It's Extreme Pita, a place where each pita bread sandwich is made with fresh, healthy ingredients to your specifications.
Even the way it sautes meats is healthy.
"Instead of oil, we use water," said owner Mike Noftle of Royal City.
Noftle opened the fast-food-style restaurant a few weeks ago at 1360 N. Louisiana St., Kennewick. On Friday and Saturday, he will be celebrating the grand opening with half-price pitas. And on Friday only, the first 25 people through the door will get a free pita.
Extreme Pita offers a variety of rolled pitas, all customized with fresh veggies and toppings. It also offers flatbread pizzas, fresh salads, soups and a variety of beverages.
Noftle also added Purblendz, a smoothie bar to his restaurant.
"It's an option the company offers; not all Extreme Pitas have one," he said. "We use all pure fruit and veggies. No dairy, none of those things that make fruit smoothies so high in calories and turn them into dessert."
Noftle discovered the Toronto-based chain about a year ago.
"I'd been looking for the right opportunity to get into the food industry for years but never found the right fit, until now," he said.
"I happened to be in the Seattle area and came across an Extreme Pita. I fell in love with their concept of healthy and fast. It made sense to me right away," he said.
Noftle was attracted to the company's emphasis on nutrition and health because about two years ago he underwent a major lifestyle change -- he lost 100 pounds.
"It renewed my interest in the food business again. I knew I couldn't always eat at home or bring my food with me but didn't want to put the weight back on. I did an exhaustive search out there to find restaurants I could make use of and Extreme Pita met all my requirements," he said.
From the beginning, when it was founded by two Canadian brothers, Extreme Pita restaurants always have posted the calorie count and nutritional information for everything on the menu right up front, he said.
Noftle's is one of only four Extreme Pita restaurants in the state. The others are in the Seattle area.
"They gave me the option of locating anywhere in the eastern part of the state. I did some research and chose the Tri-Cities. It just felt right," He said. "I feel we're off to a decent start."
He has about 15 employees and hired Tara Griffin of Prosser as general manager.
"She handles all the day-to-day operations. I visit the restaurant once or twice a week and handle the marketing and media relations part," he said.
-- Where: 1360 N. Louisiana St., Kennewick
-- Hours: From 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
-- Phone: 572-2355.
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-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; email@example.com