Native Puerto Rican overcomes Hurricane Maria to open Pita Pit in San Juan

| by Cherryh Cansler
Native Puerto Rican overcomes Hurricane Maria to open Pita Pit in San Juan

Puerto Rico native Valeria Quinones, this week, is opening San Juan's first Pita Pit.

After falling in love with pita bread during a post-college graduation trip to Lebanon in 2016, Puerto Rico native Valeria Quinones returned home five months later with a serious pita addiction and the urge to open her own business.

"I was looking for something unique and healthy," she said in an interview with FastCasual. "That's when I came across Pita Pit, a healthy, unique and delicious fast casual restaurant. Coincidentally, Pita Pit offers Lebanese style pita. It was a sign that this was the one."

Quinones, a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, didn't look back and is opening Puerto Rico's first Pita Pit this week in San Juan. 

"Pita Pit is a unique concept of food that Puerto Rico has never seen before," Quinones said.

It wasn't an easy journey, however. Hurricane Maria left Quinoes and her family without power for months, but she has worked hard to overcome the obstacles, said Pita Pit Digital Marketing Manager Jordy Patano.

"San Juan is a bustling city filled with both locals and tourists, and we are so excited to have this mark our first location in Puerto Rico with more locations opening in the future," Patano said. "We were devastated when Hurricane Maria left so many without power for months, including our franchisee Valeria and her family. Now Pita Pit has the opportunity to be a part of the community as San Juan rebuilds and as businesses get back up and running after the storm. Pita Pit is committed to hiring locals in the market as the brand grows its presence throughout Puerto Rico."

The location is opening in a destination frequented often by passengers on cruise ships, so Pita Pit's menu offering fast, healthy and fresh options should be a great fit, Patano said. 

"Plus, it opens our audience up to all different types of consumers who might be visiting the island and looking for something quick and portable to not hold them back from all of the activities that they want to participate in during their visit," she said. "Working with the franchisees, we also realize that for residents on the island that Pita Pit can offer something more unique than traditional food, especially with the fresh ingredients and grilled protein options."

Pita Pit, which has 225 open locations in the US, was founded in Ontario, Canada in 1995, and Pita Pit Inc. was acquired in 2005 by the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho-based Pita Pit USA. The chain has more than 600 locations across 11 countries.

Topics: Franchising & Growth

Cherryh Cansler

Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for

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