If you’re one of the many that’s been watching the transformation of the old Wympee’s building at the corner of 3rd and Wayne make its slow transformation over the past 8 months, let me tell you – it was worth the wait! Friday night I was among the lucky 150 guests that got to “Dive into Olive.” This week long preview was smartly marketed by owner/operator Kimberly Collett, who did an excellent job using social media to build excitement, followers and future customers for her eatery.
As 30 of us sat down family style for dinner we were handed a piece of paper and a pen and asked to really honestly share our opinion. We started with baklava, followed by caesar salad, tuscan grilled cheese and gluten free tomato bisque (I have to say Coco’s tomato bisque now has competition). As each course came out Kimberly talked about local suppliers, what tweaks could be made to offer dishes as vegan and explained the challenges of a tiny kitchen. Sacrifices had to be made- like going without a dishwasher- so plating has been thought out very carefully, and each glass, utensil and pot must be handwashed. You could hear the pride in her voice as Kimberly shared with us that she made each table, the ceiling tiles and the bar was created out of a tree her grandfather cut down over 60 years ago. The lights over the bar are made from Chimay Blanche bottles (Kimberly’s favorite beer – might come in handy to know if you need in without a reservation).
Highlights for me included the spanikopita, garlic hamburger, fried leeks (think onion rings), tuna tacos and of course the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams– Olive is just one of 300 approved restaurants in the country permitted to carry their products. Each ingredient, we learned, must appear in at least 4 items to earn it’s place in the pantry. At Olive, everything possible is made from scratch, from as many local ingredients as can be found. Since all of their items are made from scratch, there isn’t even a can opener in the kitchen. They will be promoting their local purveyors on the back of their staff shirts- the inaugural shirt highlights 40 farmers. The restaurant won’t have a liquor license, so you are encouraged to bring your own beer or wine and they’ll happily supply the glassware.
Olive has over 1300 facebook friends who have been following the saga of the permitting process, came to their defense when occupancy numbers were at stake, and stopped by when invited for a graffiti party prior to the drywall going up. And now finally like we told you back on June 13 Olive will be open from 10am – 3pm for a soft opening for lunch. They are offering a $10 meal which they describe as “salads, lunch sized & a cuppa soup.” Check out the menu. Locavores will appreciate all the freshly sourced food, but remember- that doesn’t come cheap. You’ll pay more to eat here- but the flavors you’ll get to taste will make it so worth it. But bring cash- Olive doesn’t take credit cards yet, and even when they do they won’t take American Express.
And while you’re there- think about reserving the place for your own private dinner party. Mon – Wed you can host your own evening- either pre fixe meal or off the menu for a party of up to 30. There is also a darling patio out back that seats 15. We’d love for you to share your impressions in the comments below, if you dine at Olive!