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Pita truck team getting Ghent storefront

Updated: July 5, 2013 - 4:50 pm

Posted: July 5, 2013

By Lydia Wheeler

Pita Pit is coming to Colley Avenue.

The fast-casual sandwich franchise, owned by father and son team Buzz and Jake Crown, is expected to open next to Chipotle Mexican Grill at 1501 Colley Ave. in September.

Jake Crown said he and his father have been running a Pita Pit food truck on the Norfolk Navy base since last November. Because the truck has been such a success, the duo have applied with the Navy to open a brick-and-mortar store on the base in addition to the Ghent store.

"Food trucks are great," Jake Crown said, "but when it rains it rains."

The Colley Avenue location, tentatively scheduled to open on Labor Day, will come first. In addition to the Ghent and Navy base locations, Buzz and Jake Crown have committed to opening two more Pita Pit stores in Hampton Roads within the next two years.

"I would love to be at Wards Corner," Crown said. "Buzz lives in Virginia Beach and we love Virginia Beach."

Pita Pit, which was founded in Canada, opened its first American franchise store in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1999. The company has since grown to 207 locations in 43 states throughout the U.S. and has more than 100 new stores under development.

"Instead of a sub or burrito, it's a Lebanese-style pita, 8.5 inches in diameter, that you open like a pocket, fill with ingredients and roll," said Corey Bowman, Pita Pit's vice president of franchise growth. "There are a lot of different options including grilled chicken, bacon, Philly steak, falafel, hummus and black bean."

With five vegetarian and three vegan options on the menu, Bowman said Pita Pit is a hit with vegetarians.

"We are about bringing a fresh and healthy alternative to fast food," he said.

The next nearest Pita Pit location is on Richmond Road in Williamsburg.

Chartreuse Bistro is expected to open in downtown Norfolk before the end of July.

Husband and wife team Christopher Corrie and Karine Varga are pulling inspiration from their 2009 honeymoon to create a European-style menu at the bistro, which is in the Monticello Arcade, at 205 E. City Hall Ave.

As head chef, Corrie is planning to use local, organic and pesticide-free ingredients including local seafood.

"It's going to be a daily menu, so there will be something different every day," he said. "I plan to offer two to three different types of seafood on the menu at all times."

Beef and pork dishes will also be offered.

"I'm very interested in nose-to-tail cooking and using the whole product instead of just the prime cuts," he said.

Corrie and Varga are still waiting for their certificate of occupancy. They hope to be able to seat 45 patrons in the 1,045-square-foot restaurant that's tentatively scheduled to open the week of July 22. As restaurant manager, Varga is looking to hire about 10 employees.

Chartreuse Bistro will serve lunch Monday through Friday, dinner only on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Lunch entrees will range from $7 to $12, while dinner plates will range from $18 to $30. Happy-hour drink and appetizer specials will be offered from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This is the couple's first business venture. Corrie has previously worked as a chef at One Fish

Two Fish in Virginia Beach and Kotobuki in Norfolk's Ghent neighborhood. Varga worked as the lead server at Bobbywood, now closed, in downtown Norfolk as well as Cora, also now closed, in Ghent.

SARA Entertainment and SARA Performing Arts Studio has opened in Portsmouth.

Located at 3408 Bart St., SARA Entertainment is a full-service professional management agency for artists of every genre. The arts studio offers drama and theater camps, as well as classes in dance, modeling and voice training. The 3,000-square-foot office also rents its rehearsal space by the hour. For more information call 399-7272.

Tractor Supply opened its first Suffolk store late last month.

The farm and ranch retail chain is located in 19,000 square feet at 3000 Pruden Blvd. The company, which typically locates its stores in rural areas and outlying suburbs, is in 45 states and has more than 17,000 employees.

Headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., Tractor Supply carries work-wear, casual clothing, footwear, animal feed, power tools, riding mowers, lawn and garden products, fencing, animal care products, vehicle accessories and trailers.

In Hampton Roads, Tractor Supply stores are also located in Chesapeake, Smithfield, Gloucester, Williamsburg and Franklin. There is also a store in Elizabeth City, N.C.