As Nelson Lang stood in front of the Pita Pit just steps away from the corner of Princess and Division streets, the flagship store of the business he cofounded, he recognizes and says hello to a few passersby.
While Lang hasn’t called Kingston home for a couple of decades, ever since the franchising side of the business took off, he was a familiar face for years behind the counter to many of those looking for something healthy to eat after a night in the Hub district.
“I think that’s one thing I really liked about it is you connect with people,” he would say later of those early days. “And some of those early friendships continue.”
That was back in the mid-1990s, when he and partner John Sotiriadis left their previous ventures in Newcastle — Lang ran a pizzeria, Sotiriadis a sub shop — and the friends moved to Kingston to start their first fresh food franchise.
“I saw a lot of competition in pizza,” recalled Lang, who noted that the large American chains, like Domino’s and Little Caesars, were expanding north. “So I thought I’d do something unique, and John was thinking the same thing.”