In the 1960s, Pitaland Mediterranean Bakery owners Joe and Jocelyne Chahine were visiting Pittsburgh on their honeymoon when a war broke out in their native Lebanon. They applied for asylum, emigrated to America, and the rest, they say, is history.
The Chahines got their start at Chahine’s Bakery, which was owned by Joe’s brother, George Chahine. Over the years, they assumed ownership of the shop, which later morphed into Pitaland, in Brookline.
The bakery, which sells a variety of pitas, along with tannour and zaatar bread, now employs the couple’s four children. Pitaland’s offerings also include cheeses, deli meats, olives and a variety of imported specialty foods.
“It’s really been a great time in Brookline. New businesses are moving in,” says Donna Twardy, the Chahines’ daughter. “It’s such a nice community and we’ve always tried to give back.”
Three years ago, when Brookline was poised for the resurgence it’s seeing today, the Chahine family renovated the building and opened a café. Carrying on the family tradition, the chef is Twardy’s husband, Greg.
“Our menu is based on all the things [my husband] ate at my mom’s and loved,” says Twardy.
The breakfast menu includes foul, the national breakfast dish of Lebanon (chickpeas and fava beans simmered in garlic and lemon, with parsley, more lemon, tomatoes and olive oil on a fresh pita). For lunch and dinner, Pitaland offers traditional Lebanese fare like gyro and shawarma sandwiches.
But the new favorite isn’t so traditional: It’s a burger made from lamb, freshly ground with rosemary, mint and garlic, then topped with creamy feta, pickled red onions, arugula and herbed mayo on a toasted ciabatta bun.
620 Brookline Blvd., Brookline. 412-531-5040