whaddapita_1

Whaddapita!

Whaddapita! on UrbanspoonTwo things had unfairly kept us from trying Whaddapita! until now.

First, the design of the restaurant’s interior. Covered in neon green and orange paint, in big blocks of color, it’s loud. Beyond loud. It’s like what a Mediterranean fast-food restaurant would look like if it were designed by the McDonald’s corporation. Actually, it’s worse than that: It’s what a Mediterranean fast food restaurant would look like if you took a design done by a disgruntled ex-employee of McDonald’s, who was fired for both being too flamboyant as well as colorblind, and imported that design into the hypersaturated world of “The Simpsons,” and THEN ate a handful of hallucinogenic mushrooms and started playing with the color settings on your television while listening to old Vitamin-C maxi-singles.

Second, we couldn’t understand how a restaurant that was specializing in Greek and Mediterranean snacks and street food, had no lamb anywhere on its menu. “Jillian,” I would say, “You can’t make a gyro without lamb. Using chicken in a gyro is ridiculous. I don’t want any baklava. I want some lamb, carved from a vertical spit, and folded into warm, tzatziki-drenched pita. This is absurd. Their inattention to this basic detail must mean that none of the rest of the food they are making can possibly be any good.” Jillian would always roll her eyes, sigh, and answer, “Malcolm, this conversation never happened,” before cooking me a unicorn cheesesteak while whistling the Overworld Theme from “The Legend of Zelda.”

Recently, however, Whaddapita started offering delivery service, which allowed us to avoid the eyeball-scraping experience of visiting the dining room. It allowed us to focus entirely on what we were eating, and if there wasn’t going to be any lamb, we were just going to have to learn to cope with that. We tried the “Combo Platter” with three items ($14.99), which included Pork Souvlaki, Chicken Gyro, and Beeftaki, served with french fries, tomato slices, red onion slices, a small container of tzatziki, and a package of warm pita.

We ate each of the three different types of meat the same way: folded into the grilled pita bread, topped with tomatoes and onions, and drizzled with the cucumber/yogurt tzatziki. The bread was wonderfully soft and pillowy, with a nice chew and some light brown grill marks on the outside. It’s a worthy base for the other chopped, saucy ingredients. The tzatziki was smooth, and provided a cooling contrast to the spicy meat and french fries. The fries were a delicious addition to the mini-wraps we made, standing at our kitchen counter, with very crispy edges, and soft, warm potato inside, covered in a ton of salt and fresh pepper.

The shredded Chicken Gyro, marinated in spices, stayed moist and flavorful, even after suffering the indignity of being in a Styrofoam package for 20 minutes. The Pork Souvlaki, two skewers of pork rubbed with rosemary and thyme, had some very satisfying black grill marks, with a crisp outside and tender inside, that left my lips pleasantly greasy. My favorite, though, was the Beeftaki: ground beef seasoned heavily with garlic and red onion and strong parsley notes. It’s enough to make you not miss lamb; shaped onto skewers and grilled over a very hot flame, if you add a squeeze of lemon, it’s one of the freshest, zippiest versions of familiar Greek flavors that I can remember.

And that’s when the clouds parted, and I felt like I finally understood what Whaddapita was doing, with all of that fast-food styling, that green paint, and the army of cheery yellow tee shirt-clad employees. These are the same flavors that I have always associated with Greek food, the garlic, the parsley, the thyme, the rosemary, the feta, the olives, the yogurt, and the cucumber. Unlike some classic Greek dishes, however, Whaddapita manages to brighten all of these flavors up, and make them incredibly accessible.

After eating a meal at Whaddapita, you don’t feel bogged down and heavy; their small sandwiches, stuffed with reasonably small quantities of meat, echo the street snacks of Greece. The entire experience, from the electric paint job, to the effervescent service, is upbeat, and lightweight. Whaddapita doesn’t want to confuse your tongue with gamey, carved baby sheep, that makes you sad if you think about it too long. They want to keep things light, peppy, and covered in tzatziki. It’s small portions of inexpensive food with, unlike my previous assumptions, a ton of attention to detail. It’s a happy place. Don’t believe me? Have a banana smoothie. Whaddapita serves those, too.

Comments

  1. Josh says

    I’m partial to the pork gyro. Are you certain they don’t have lamb on the menu though? I know they didn’t, but they added that and falafel a few months after opening.

  2. says

    I think they actually do serve lamb now – but it’s not on the menu? I could be mistaken, but when we went in (and my corneas were burned) I seem to remember a hand-written sign that said something like “WE HAVE LAMB NOW!” And yes, I remember mah’ dude getting some baby sheep meat (eiw).

    I do love this place though, really yummy. Oh, and they have falafel, which is pretty awesome.

    Laura

  3. Malcolm says

    I would love it if they were serving lamb, now…I am only going by the menus they have posted on their website and on their Facebook page. Secret in-person lamb? Could it be?

  4. Stephanie says

    Gamboling problems: My family is in Portland, but I live in Australia where lamb is the national dish (after Vegemite). I’ve seen too many spring lambs gamboling with their mums NOT to be sad by seeing it on a menu. This pork and beef you describe seems to more than make up for it. Will check it out on my next visit.

  5. says

    In London I had a real shawarma and it opened my eyes. I never understood the appeal of the Gyro, cone of mystery meat. The authentic version is thin sliced lamb stacked on a rotating spit. They carve the outer layer with a sharp knife, catching the lamb and fat drippings! in a pita.

    Recently I happened on a place in New Haven that makes a real shawarma spit, but they use chicken breasts and the meat is dry and bland.

    Another authentic favorite is makdoos, which is baby eggplants stuffed with chopped walnuts and marinated in lemon and olive oil. Mamoun’s, in New Haven, makes them. From scratch.

    • Malcolm says

      It takes just one bad experience at Mamoun’s to put you off of that place forever. Enjoy the $2 falafel while it lasts.

      • says

        Indeed. For that reason I don’t eat anything from their fryer. But I’ve never seen makdous anywhere else. spelled it correctly this time

  6. Rebekah says

    They do have lamb!! For some strange reason it is not on the menu but if you ask you shall receive. Great food though

  7. Laura says

    We stopped by Whaddapita! last evening and were greeted by the friendliest, most welcoming staff! They were more than helpful in explaining their menu, offering great direction on our choices! We ordered a Chicken Gyro Pita with tzatziki sauce…added lettuce, and a Beeftaki Pita also with tzatziki. In addition we enjoyed beef and chicken skewered sticks and a side of Falafel ( I couldn’t decide on a sauce and they very nicely brought one of each sauce to the table)! Also, compliments of Whaddapita! we were brought a very large slice of “Fresh Greens & Feta Cheese Pie” To our table! The pastry was perfect, as were the fillings! My 10 yr old (usually very picky eater) wolfed through our Greek feast, almost entirely wiping out the pie which may have been his favorite overall, although he made quite an impact on each item we ordered! When we were leaving he said ” I think that’s the most I’ve ever eaten in my life”! Ha-ha! We’ll definitely become regulars at Whaddapita!
    Don’t leave without homemade CHEESECAKE! We ordered a slice to take home, it was the MOST delicious cheesecake I’ve ever tasted! I want to know if they sell it by the cake! Perfection! Mythos beer went very nicely with my meal too! V
    Overall; EXCELLENT! Very clean and fun interior with remarkable customer service! Splendid array of fresh ingredients resulting in fabulously tasty food! Try it!

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