The fare at Pita Hut in Hilliard is largely inexpensive, healthy and nicely prepared.

As with the original location in the Clintonville area, the newest Pita Hut is all about inexpensive meals in an ultra-casual environment.

Located along the busy Hilliard-Rome Road corridor, the restaurant has a few extra frills - servers, larger tables and several extra menu items.

One is the fool moudamas ($5.99), a healthy portion of pureed and whole fava beans, whose earthy flavor is accented with lemon and pools of olive oil. Another is the matbucha ($1.99), a chilled starter of tomatoes, reduced
almost to a paste, redolent of garlic and spicy with chili flakes. Triangles of pita are served with these and most other spreads.

Pita Hut was founded two years ago in a petite, wood-paneled storefront just south of the Graceland Shopping Center. The largely healthy, budget-priced food quickly caught on with vegetarians and omnivores alike. The
Hilliard store, open, brightly lit and frugally decorated, carries on a fine tradition.

There's one notable similarity between the two - the large display case featuring chilled starters and condiments for what has been the restaurant's most famous dish: the shawarma sandwich ($5.49), which some consider
to be a pita sandwich of the first water.

Let's start with the lovely spit-roasted turkey and lamb, vigorously seasoned with Middle Eastern spices and moist with natural juices. They're set in a pita lined with tahini and hummus - a naturally sumptuous fit. Diners
also are given the choice of several other garnishes. Here's our recommendation: a cucumber and tomato salad, pickled jalapenos and two additional sauces, a spicy red and more mild green that have the consistency of
salsa.

It's outrageously good, from the first bite to the tahini-dripping last.

The silky hummus ($1.99 for a small) is some of the best in town, as is the kibbie ($2 apiece), football-shaped edibles roughly the size of an egg, fried to golden brown on the outside, stuffed with ground lamb and pine nuts.
A touch of tahini sauce sets off all the flavors.

Lentil soup ($2.50), the featured potage on this visit, has excellent consistency, tasting of mint and a touch of cumin. Don't ignore the wedge of lemon; a fresh squeeze adds a sunny element.

Meals are cost-effective and large but not imposing. The kafta kebab ($9.50) is a good example, offering cylinders of ground lamb successfully grilled, which develops nice concentrated flavors. Go with the side of flaky rice,
seasoned with saffron and punctuated with ground lamb for body.

In restaurants, as with movies, people tend to romanticize the original over the sequel. Don't make that mistake with Pita Hit - they're on equal footing.

Pricing: Inexpensive
Reservations: Accepted
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Call 614-527-8812