The Hopping Pita is closed for now. Future: Uncertain.Melad Stephan’s Empire Restaurant Management group is in flux at the moment as he tries to prioritize the needs at his various businesses, he said.
About 10 days ago, he said, he finalized a deal to completely buy out Janet and Grant Rine, the founders of Caffe Moderne at 300 N. Mead. Stephan partnered with them in June of 2011 and has been running the restaurant ever since. Now that it’s all his, he’s going to start using its kitchen for his Empire catering business and stop using the one at Revolution Rock Bar.
Another change: He’s put the Hopping Pita, a food truck he started with chef Roni Attari in April, on hold. He wants a bigger, more efficient truck, he said, and he’s put his original truck on Craigslist, asking for $20,000 or the best offer he can get.
He’s also not sure if Attari is still planning to work for him. The chef was interviewing for another job, he said, and he hasn’t heard what the outcome was. (I’ve left two messages for Attari but haven’t heard back.)
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Stephan says he plans to reopen the Hopping Pita eventually but that it’s not at the top of his priority list right now.
“I’m so busy, I don’t know which direction I’m going these days,” he said.
As for Caffe Moderne, Stephan said he plans to keep the name and the concept the same. He may eventually get a new sign and plans to add new menu items for fall.
Stephan also owns Sabor and Oeno Wine Bar in Old Town Square. He closed his fine dining Italian restaurant, Luca Italian Kitchen, in August.
Stay tuned for updates on the fate of The Hopping Pita.