What’s the deal with … the Nintendo at Pita Pit?

How can you save yourself from waiting-line boredom and Princess Peach at the same time? Order something at Pita Pit.

The Ivory Tower eatery keeps a Nintendo and monitor on its counter for customers to play the original “Super Mario Bros.” while they wait for their order. But it’s not all for the customers.

“Over the summer, it’s extremely slow and we were bored,” said Casey Hristakos, Pita Pit director of operations. In the summer, Pita Pit does about 20 percent of the business each week that it does during the school year, he said.

Hristakos, a 25-year-old University of Maryland graduate, said the original idea was to play DVDs on the television, which the employees took from one of the owners.

Judging from customer comments, Mario and Luigi seem to have made good additions to the Pita Pit lineup.

“Someone says something about it everyday. Like, ‘you are the coolest’ and ‘this is awesome,'” Hristakos said, adding that some people walk up to the counter to play Nintendo without ordering anything.

If you are a seasoned player though, you might want to order. If you can beat the entire game before your sandwich is ready, the employees will give you your sandwich for free. Sound impossible?

“I can get you to the final level in five minutes,” Hristakos said.

Pita Pit has some other student-friendly elements, including a wall of fame and shame. It’s virtually empty now, but employees plan to take funny pictures of customers and post them on the corkboard.

“Since we are open late, we get a lot of drunk kids who come in,” Hristakos said. Pita Pit is one of the only late-night dining options on campus, staying open until 2 a.m.

Pita Pit also employs more students than most on-campus venues, with about half student employees.

“My intention is to always hire students,” Hristakos said. “It’s the best way to advertise and it makes an easy-going, light and friendly atmosphere.”

-Caitlin Carroll

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