First Impressions: The Hummus & Pita Co.

I just went to the Hummus & Pita Co. for lunch—it opened this week in the old Carl’s Steaks space on Chambers. If Nish Nush is Kaffe 1668, then THAPCO feels more like Starbucks; there’s only one other outpost (in Chelsea), but the room is slick like a national chain’s. That said, the operation is hardly precision-oriented. When I was in line, the two people in front of me—who weren’t together—left mid-order, frustrated with the service.

I found the workers helpful and able, but I had read the menu online first, so I was less apt to be confused. It’s Chipotle-like in that you make a series of choices as you pass from one station to another. The menu is themed around the word “it,” so you “start it,” “make it,” “fill it,” “top it,” and “sauce it,” then possibly “side it” and “drink it.” (Whether you “push it,” “work it,” or “drop it like it’s hot” depends on how much you like hip-hop.) I went for a falafel plate, choosing a hummus (plain for me), three sides (Spanish eggplant, tabbouleh, and vegetarian stuffed grape laves), schug, olives, and carrots; it comes with a pita, too. I’ll let experts decide who has the best falafel in the area, but I will avow that my lunch was rather good, somewhat to my surprise; the only disappointment was the tabbouleh, which was almost entirely chopped curly parsley. Well, that and the pita, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t much like any pita (and consequently, I regret dissing Nish Nush’s.) The total price, including tax, was $7.57. THAPCO, it bears mentioning, is notably different from Nish Nush in that it sells meat. Downtown Lunch said the restaurant “nails” the chicken shawarma sandwich.

The space is awkward in that once people have paid, they have to work their way through the very narrow passageway while those still waiting to order are standing there, staring at the menu, trying to decipher it. (“Decipher it!”) I imagine that’ll get better as people grow used to it; the bulk of customers will no doubt be folks who work in the area. There’s some seating, but if the weather is even halfway decent you should walk over to Bogardus Plaza or City Hall Park.

The Hummus & Pita Co. is at 79 Chambers (between Broadway and Church), 212-571-6700; hummusandpitas.com.

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2 Comments

  1. FYI: tabbouleh is supposed to be mostly parsley–see Greg and Lucy Malouf, May Bsisu, Claudia Roden, Mohammed at Alphanoose (whose falafel is still unbeatable imho), et al. If your objection was that they used curly parsley, that I can understand. But it’s a salad, not a grain dish.

  2. @Suzanne: All I know is that the parsley had no flavor whatsoever, so adding another ingredient—any other ingredient—would’ve been welcome.