Olive + Oak, widely considered one of the best restaurants to open in St. Louis last year, is opening a new venture. Co-owners Mark Hinkle, Greg Ortyl and executive chef Jesse Mendica plan to open a fast-casual restaurant in the Webster Groves Bookshop space as early as this summer, as first reported by St. Louis Magazine.
Fast-casual dining has been picking up speed both nationally and locally; in St. Louis, recent openings like Gerard Craft's Porano Pasta and Kitchen Kulture's first brick-and-mortar location, Kounter Kulture, have proved that flavorful food made with high-quality ingredients can be made in a hurry. Since opening in January of last year, Olive + Oak has been one of the hardest tables to snag in town, and Hinkle says the new venture will be more accessible to diners.
"There will be counter service and no need for reservations," Hinkle says. "This will be a place where you can grab a coffee and pastry and head to work, get a meal to go or even bring the whole family for dinner. It is aimed to be utilized however the guests wish."
The new restaurant will be located in the same three-unit building as Olive + Oak, making it easy for Hinkle and Mendica to invest time at both venues.
"Olive + Oak will always be the heart of our business," Hinkle says. "We talked and listened to our customers, and we believe a fast-casual place is something the neighborhood wants and will embrace."
In an expansion from Olive + Oak's current service, the new restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. A set menu has yet to be developed, but Hinkle says to look for pastries along with more substantial breakfast items, as well as soup, salads and artisan sandwiches. There will be a limited selection of wine, beer and spirits in addition to a full-service coffee, tea and juice bar. True to Olive + Oak's nature, the new eatery will focus on thoughtful, well-prepared dishes with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
"Our approach has been to put great attention into our dishes and our guests," Hinkle says. "It's about the feeling you have when you are eating with us, and we hope that continues to translate into what we have coming next."
The as-yet-unnamed restaurant is anticipated to open early this summer.
Olive + Oak, 102 West Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, Missouri, oliveandoakstl.com