UPDATE: Oliver’s announced on their facebook page that they had to close down due to circumstances beyond their control, but plan on relocating and reopening soon. 5/30/13This review was originally published in What’s Up Weekly on August 29, 2012, and can be found online here.
An allegedly womanizing world traveler has combined his experiences and passion for food to create a mostly Mediterranean menu. The figure known as Oliver may have developed the menu’s recipes, but it’s unlikely he is the chef. That’s if you believe he exists, based on the bizarre description on the about page of the website of Oliver’s Restaurant.
Oliver’s is part of a new multi-level venue housed in the historic Newberry Building downtown. It shares space with nightclubs Lotus and Pasha. The small restaurant serves up a large eclectic menu of soups, salads, pizzas, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, seafood and steaks.
“The Meatball Shop” is the most noteworthy section of the menu, where you can choose between four meatball options and three sauces served with a breadstick. The breadstick is the same bread that is brought to your table when you are first seated. Scallions and peppers are speckled throughout the bread that comes with a garlic-rosemary-lemon butter spread.
Meatball options consist of in-house ground beef, chicken or spicy pork. The veggie option is a combination of chickpeas, breadcrumbs, peppers and a secret blend of spices. Sauce choices include classic tomato, creamy pesto and parmesan cream. Meatballs can also be ordered with pasta, in a hoagie, or as sliders.
Everything is freshly prepared and flavorful, but tends to be on the salty side. Reasonable prices, plentiful options and friendly staff make this quirky restaurant shine.
201 N. Stanton, 915-503-2333. Lunch: Monday-Saturday 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner: Wednesday-Saturday 5-9 p.m. Price range: $6-$28. Vegetarian and vegan friendly. For more visit www.oliversep.com orfacebook.com/oliversrestaurant.ep.
Additional Veg Snob notes:
I was pleased with how many vegetarian and vegan options were available at Oliver’s. I didn’t try any appetizers, but the veg options are Baked Spinach and Cheese Dip w/chips, Oliver’s Messy Nachos, Anytime Sliders w/fries, Mediterranean Hummus w/roasted red peppers and flatbread, and Fried Cheese Sticks.
Besides salads, pizzas, and veggie meatballs, there are other entrees to choose from. Ursula’s Tuscan Veggie Grill is a grilled portobello mushroom, roasted bell peppers, mixed greens, buffalo mozzarella, and parmesan peppercorn dressing on a toasted ciabatta bun. The Mediterranean Pasta and Veggie Kabobs (served with wild rice) are two other veg options available on Oliver’s Dinner Favorites section, which can also be ordered during lunch.
I love that they have veggie meatballs and the flavor was good, but they seemed to have too much breadcrumbs and were salty. I’d like to go back and try them in the Anytime Sliders. Maybe the chef was heavy handed with the salt that day.