The building at 3811 Douglas Ave. has been home to a number of different businesses.
Simply Asian, Ray Earl’s Bar-B-Q, Gyros & Grill, Saraj and probably a few others. The latest business to make a go of it in that location is The Olive Branch, which opened in July.
The man behind The Olive Branch should be a familiar name to local diners, Yanni Miras. As in the Yanni from Yanni’s Grill & Vineyard, as well as The Best Steakhouse, Zorba’s Table and others. For this venture Miras is focusing on a different area of the Mediterranean: Italy.
The Olive Branch’s space is small, but charming. A few booths and tables are fit into the small space, with charming decorations and ornaments strewn about. It’s a space that can go from feeling empty to jumping with two extra tables of diners.
We stopped in for a weekday lunch and experienced just that. The restaurant was empty, and Miras invited us to take our choice of seats. The restaurant’s one server was absent that day, so Miras was pulling double duty and waiting tables as well.
The menu is predominately Italian-based, with a few Greek favorites like saganaki, the flaming cheese appetizer. The menu warns you that that dish can only be served on the patio; the ceilings are too low to pull off the flames inside.
There is a large assortment of $4.99 sandwiches, including meatball, eggplant parmigiana, fried cod and more. Entrees include steak de burgo (only $13.95), lamb chops, sirloin strip, baked cavatelli, fettuccine alfredo with shrimp, crab and salmon and more. The most expensive item on the menu is $17.
We went with the sandwich menu for our lunches. I ordered the Italian sausage sandwich, a thick slab of sausage topped with mozzarella and served on a hoagie bun. The sausage was large and flavorful. I felt very satisfied for a $5 lunch.
My co-worker ordered the pollo parmigiana, a grilled chicken breast layered with marinara and mozzarella on a kaiser roll.
We were a little surprised that the chicken Parmesan wasn’t actually made with Parmesan, but mozzarella works just as well.
It was interesting to have a grilled chicken parm as opposed to the more conventional breaded version, but it let the flavor of the chicken stand out instead of just the breading.
The Olive Branch has a charm that makes it fit in with the nearby Beaverdale neighborhood, backed by a restaurateur with the history to make it work. For a slow-paced meal featuring quality ingredients, or a satisfying, inexpensive lunch, it seems like a good place to stop.
The Olive Branch
Find it: 3811 Douglas Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 5-9 p.m. Saturday.
Italian sausage sandwich … $4.99
French fries … $1.99
Pollo parmigiana … $4.99
Onion rings... $2.99
Total with tax and tip: $18