Pete’s Place offers sanctuary for vegans

Janel Naro, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Being vegan, it is usually difficult and frustrating to find things to eat out other than salad. I was delighted to find Pete’s Place, a Middle Eastern family restaurant located on 35 E. South St. in Wilkes-Barre.

Offering a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian options along with their many carnivorous selections, Pete’s Place fell nothing short of the pleasantly unique dining experience I hoped to enjoy. The waiter was friendly and enthusiastic as he explained any questions I had with items on their menu. He made me feel relaxed and at home.

The restaurant’s menu includes salads, wraps, dips, gyros, kabobs and platters, as well as American cuisine, not to mention a familiar favorite dessert, baklava. As an appetizer, I ordered baba ghanouj (roasted eggplant dip with lemon garlic tahini and olive oil) and, as my main course, a falafel wrap (fried fava bean and chick pea patties with lettuce, tomato, radish, parsley and tahini sauce wrapped in a large pita bread). For my beverage, I enjoyed a glass of cool lemonade.

The baba ghanouj had the consistency of hummus and a heavy taste of garlic and was served with fresh pita bread. I loved it. Then again, I’m a huge fan of garlic. The falafel wrap was absolutely delicious. The warm falafel had the crumble-like texture it should and was very flavorful. The lettuce, tomatoes, radish and parsley on the wrap were crisp, cool and refreshing. The whole wrap was topped with a warm tahini sauce, made of ground sesame seeds, lemon juice, and garlic. It tasted similar to ranch dressing.

I ate with a friend of mine, a very picky eater, who had ordered a grilled cheese, which came with SunChips and fries. She enjoyed every bite of it, saying the cheese wasn’t “overpowering” as it can be at many other restaurants.

Pete’s Place really gives you your money’s worth, selling large portions of food at a very reasonable price. It’s possible to spend just $10 on a meal and drink, and still have plenty of leftovers to take home with you.

One of the best aspects of restaurant, though, is its at-home, chill atmosphere. A scenic painted mural covered one wall while the other was adorned with photos from Middle Eastern countries. Wicker chairs were placed at the tables and what appeared to be a natural wood, brown picket fence was hung sideways on the ceiling, draped with small wicker baskets.

The location is perfect for Wilkes’ students, as it is just across the street from University Towers. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

4.5 stars out of 5