4/10/17

Pita Palace

So it looks like Bushwick Pita Palace has closed. I’ve been going there at least once a week and have since I moved to New York in 2006.



Back then it was a Mexican restaurant, which I seem to remember being called Mission Burrito. I was obviously leery because I am from the Bay Area where so-called Mission burritos are not a joke. However I did eventually get into the Mission Burrito near my house because they had good vegetarian burritos (fake cheese and tofu sour cream) and horchata and salsa verde, so eventually I was down.

I took everyone there. I think I took my boyfriend there. I wonder if I went there with Walter. I feel like I did.

They had a buy 9 burritos get one free card, of which I fastidiously availed myself, reasoning that with regular use it brought the cost of my weekly burrito down a whole 78 cents.

At some point they got bought, or half merged with a Yemeni Middle Eastern restaurant. I ordered falafel and burritos alternately for many years. There was a vague sense of tension between the two counters/kitchens and menus. Like which were you more loyal to? I honestly came to love both nearly equally, but was miffed that a falafel sandwich never counted toward the free burrito on the frequent buyer card. It was years before I actually read the full menu (or they updated it?) but at some point a few years ago I finally saw the “Crazy Burritos” section, which included the falafel burrito.

It was a kind of platonic ideal of a sandwich, it requires both chefs to work together to make the falafel and tahini etc. ingredients plus the Mexican restaurant staff to make the burrito. It was overwhelming and almost disgusting and I loved it and I ate it almost every single week, usually on Thursday or Friday nights.

I was last week. Everything seemed normal. In fact they seemed really busy, it was annoying. I redeemed my free burrito and left a $7 tip, as I do whenever I get my free burrito, which is basically every two months, like clockwork.

It was one of those things where by going so often I became a regular and the man who usually worked the cashier would recognize me and call out my order to the respective cooks, essentially letting me cut the line. Which is sort of unfair but sort of sweet too. A lot of people dithered in line and did t seem to know what they wanted, between the Mexican, Middle Eastern and middling "American" menus (honestly who goes to Bushwick Pita Palace to order a hamburger? Turns out lots of people). Between the gentrification and the band practice space and the methadone clinic the layers of white bullshit I had to wade through, far surpassing my own, had increased dramatically in recent years. I often saw people earnestly ask what a burrito is.

When I moved to my neighborhood I thought I was the bad guy, the yuppie. Temping in midtown for a cool $11 an hour, wearing sweaty h&m sale rack button downs.

The thing about the falafel burrito is that it requires both kitchens to work in tandem. It's therefore easy for the falafel burrito to get lost in the shuffle, especially if it's busy. But they always took care of me.

Anyway now it's gone. I found out the other night because I'd been looking forward to a falafel burrito all day and night. I went for a jog with PLD.

I’m trying to feel relaxed. I mean I'm not trying very hard. I'm starving.



Some dread. I mean everything's changing. Max B and I went to Best Pizza then to this bar on Union, across from Over the Eight, which is closed now. I remember when it was Royal Oak. I used to date a boy who lived across the street we'd often go there and drink beer out of tiny little mugs and dance to 60s music. There was a pair of twin boys who threw an oldies dance night.

There was also if I remember correctly this gay couple where one was older and they styled themselves to look the same, or had matching names or something, some kind of proto-branding and they threw a dance party there too but I never went. It was kind of a concession bar, Royal Joke. Between Teebs and I and our straight girl friends. None of us would get laid but we'd all get wasted. Dancing to like, Annie.

Some things you don't miss and some things you miss very much.

This weekend was perfect running weather, warm bright and incredibly windy. I was in heaven, delirious. Kind of unsure what else to do with myself after I’d spent an hour running. What else is there to do.



UPDATE: Today I did some more stalking online and found someone who posted about Pita Palace closing. Someone online who I recognize as one of the staff said they’re not closing for good. Only for renovations, and that they’d be back soon.

Feeling grateful.



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