The Thayer Street eatery that opened last fall under the name Toledo Pizza In A Cone, before becoming Thayer Pita Pockets earlier this semester, has announced plans to reopen later this month as Mama Antonio’s Brown University Yogurtstore and Bank.
Owner Mark Joia said that he and his cousin Mike Najab created the new business in response to certain consumer trends they perceived were taking hold of Thayer.
“We noticed that frozen yogurt was getting popular and so we pegged that as a possible direction for us to go in. But then we noticed that a lot of people often go to banks and some of them are Korean, and those seemed like very important directions too,” Joia said. “There are definitely other directions we thought of that I’m blanking on right now. We wrote them all down on a list and gave the list to our chefs.”
The planned menu at Mama Antonio’s includes favorites such as burritos, frozen yogurt, miso soup, textbooks, lighters, veggie burgers, secondhand clothes and fresh fruit, all available either inside or outside a hand-rolled pita cone. Customers will also be able to open a checking account for free with any purchase, though Joia said that in his unique vision for the business, it will not be possible to withdraw or deposit money like at a conventional bank.
“We’re doing things a little differently,” he said, “We’re sending a clear message: This is not your typical pizzeria. This is not your typical bank. This is not your typical pizza cone restaurant. This is Toledo State Tex-Mex Shoe Repair Cafe.”
Toledo State Tex-Mex Shoe Repair Cafe will take traditional shoe, camera and car repair and give it a special Middle Eastern twist that he anticipates will be a hit with the college crowd, Joia explained.
“Excitement, innovation and flavor. That’s what people will come to expect when they dig into a delicious steamed lobster phone here at Thayer Street Super Sports KaPharmacy and Curry,” he said.
Joia said he aims to capitalize on mobile food trucks’ recent surge in popularity by installing a set of wheels on the side of the building, which, although nonfunctional, will indicate to potential customers that his restaurant is in tune with youth culture.
“What I think will really set the Johnny/Navy FroYo Bon Burgerluxe Plus Shades, Pita Pocketluxe and Army Cones Ole! apart from the competition is this deal I’m working on with RIPTA where the whole restaurant is going to be this, like, giant bus stop,” said Joia. “That’s going to get them talking. That’s going to have them saying ‘Hey, student friends! Let’s all go and grab a bite to eat down at the Stephen Robert ’62.5 Cônerie and Pizza Information Desk!’”
“The extra ‘point-five’ represents home-cooked Mediterranean flavor,” he said.