My twin brother, Michael, and I decided to open our very own tiny, little café. We called it, Sito's (Arabic for grandmother). Sito's award winning café, was not just a place where you could get fresh, amazing, wholesome, delicious foods - it was the coolest place to hang out - it was the party place! We were young, running our very own tiny café in the heart of a college town. It was a party, every day with the most unique spontaneous cultural experiences one could imagine. Every day, something new happened - an unexpected pleasant surprise. The door was always opened, the sun always shining, and the music always playing - salsa, reggae, jazz - whatever you were in the mood for. Local folk bands played on our door steps just for fun. When you entered, you could just feel the goodness surround you. It was a special place where you could relax, unwind, get comfortable, meet new friends, socialize and just enjoy life. It felt like home there.
I could probably write a book on our experience running Sito's - in fact, a book was written... it's called Lunch at Sito's, by Justin Law, and you can buy it online for 6 bucks.
Michael was amazing. His spirit of generosity and hospitality was incomparable - and his skill for creating unique dishes was unmatched. A great creative genius in the kitchen, he married flavors and spices from around the world. One of his proudest moments was when a group of scientists loved his hummus so much that they had it dehydrated so they could take it with them while they were working on an expedition in Greenland.
Another proud moment, was when a student took a bottle of Salad Dressing with her to Cairo, Egypt, because even in Mediterranean countries - they don't have something as irresistible as this.
He was the first to introduce a totally vegan section on a menu in Pittsburgh - even when most people hadn't heard of the term "vegan". He created "Kibbee Tiki" - an Indian-Arabic dish and people couldn't get enough of it. He would buy from organic and local farmers when available and everything he made was fresh all the time. People saw that, tasted that, and knew that.
Our customers loved anything and everything Michael made. And loved Michael. They dubbed him "Spice Man Mike" and they argued that Michael was not a cook, nor was he a chef - but instead they called him "THE FLAVOR ENGINEER!"
He was before his time.
Today, Sito's Foods is proud to be manufactured in Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh has a proud ethnic tradition - as well as a little knack for collecting championship rings - a testament to the values of our hard working, community town. We are proud to say that we only use the highest quality ingredients and our deep genuine pride comes with providing the most pure, honest, healthy and delicious products.
Leila Khalil, owner of Sitos Foods, is a certified Woman Minority Owned Business member.
Our mission is to raise all people's consciousness and awareness of a healthier lifestyle by offering them delicious, natural products which make eating, and life, more enjoyable.
We believe that each individual deserves wholesome foods, and that it is by pure, natural and healthy eating habits that they will become as nature intended: healthy, happy, safe, and productive.
Our pledge is simply to set and maintain standards of high excellence in the quality of our products. Anything less would be contrary to the core of who we strive to be, and, ultimately, would affect our professional, positive energy.
We welcome you to join us on our mission today.
What people are saying...
I don't know what else to say about Sito's except that it was hands-down my favorite place to eat in Oakland, and I was very sad to see you close. I always felt that the food was made with love, and a real passion for the ingredients, and it showed in the dish. Also, you and your brother were always so pleasant and gracious. Sito's definitely had a mom-and-pop feel to it. A stark contrast to the many corporate restaurants that seem to have taken over Oakland. I can not visit Oakland without thinking about and missing your yummy food. So excited you're back!!!
I'm happy to see the Sito name lives on. I loved Sito's. I was a regular there, getting a falafel, kibbee tiki, or pakora sandwich a couple times a week. Mike's special sesame hummus was the best. It got to the point where I could walk in and just say, "Hey Mike...make me something interesting" and he'd always come up with something wild...tacos, new sandwiches, whatever. He was a wizard in the tiny kitchen, and I really miss it.
To this day, that was the best falafel I ever ate. The falafel that all other falafel is compared.