The Hidden Jewel of Centerpointe Mall: The Red Olive

The Hidden Jewel of Centerpointe Mall: The Red Olive

Karisah Watkins-Martin, Staff Writer

We are all familiar with that one restaurant. The one we tend to overlook, and despite how many times we make a promise to try, always end up venturing into the restaurant on the other side. I would make my way into the restaurant “on the other side,” past that one restaurant (“The Red Olive”) that I constantly ignored. Nestled on 28th street and sandwiched in the Centerpointe mall, I always found myself peering through the glass-stained window of the family-owned restaurant and simply walking right by. Day after day, I looked through the glass and promised myself I would try it…..just as soon as I picked up a Little Bacon Burger from right next door at 5 Guys. “Next time,”…I would always mutter to myself.

Well, that “next time” for me was just last weekend. I seemed to stray from my usual monotonous routine and embrace the rather strange concept of spontaneity. Instead of picking up my usual burger, I decided to be rather impulsive and found myself venturing through the double doors right into unchartered territory.

As soon as I entered the quaint restaurant, I was instantly greeted by two affable and welcoming waiters who wore huge smiles that stretched across the majority of their faces. Their eyes were infused with happiness and warmth; they seemed to make this unfamiliar domain a lot less intimidating and a lot more like home.

As they showed me to my table, a small cozy booth nestled between a potted plant and a large window, my eyes couldn’t help but stray and open wider in an attempt to take in all of the scenery. The dim lighting and the sound of exotic middle-eastern echoing throughout the restaurant’s small interior seemed to entrance me and make me wonder why I hadn’t found my myself venturing through these double doors a lot sooner. The soft chatter and laughter reverberating throughout the vast walls of the restaurant made me feel as if I was in fact sitting right at my dining room table, catching up with friends and gossiping over a new cup of coffee.

The menu seems to be a catalyst- one somewhere between both American and Middle-Eastern food. The menu is encompassed with perfect balance; scanning through the menu, your eyes stumble across burgers on one side and Chicken Shawarma and Kafta Kabobs on the other. Red Olive tailors its food for those that seem to enjoy authentic Mediterranean food, but also for those that prove too fearful to venture beyond the typical chicken wings and pizza.

My eyes viciously scanning the menu and feasting on the overwhelming variety of food on the menu, I finally decided on a classic gyro with a side salad.

Now… this “side” salad could have very well qualified as its own meal. It was enormous and complete with all of the works. Nestled in the ginormous heaps of Romaine and Iceberg lettuce were various assortments of vegetables including chick peas, red beets, olives, peppers, cucumbers, and feta cheese. Before I had even made a small dent in my salad, my entree was brought out. The gyro I ordered was also large and was brought out on an enormous plate. The plate was able to serve as an American stereotype; it represented a parody of how much Europeans think the average American eats.

The gyro encompassed everything I thought it would and so much more. For only $6.25, this sandwich contained perfectly seasoned lamb and beef that was tender and piping hot. It also came with house made gyro sauce; the perfect zest that seemed to parallel the rich meat.

During the entire meal, my waitress was attentive and managed to maintain her smile. She refilled my drink when she noticed it was getting low, cleared out the plates so that there was extra elbow room, and made sure every aspect of the meal was to my liking. My waitress definitely earned every bit of her five dollar tip.

After my experience at The Red Olive, I am proud to declare that it definitely deserves every bit of high acclaim. It was a fantastic addition to the strip mall; The Red Olive serves an unparalleled dining experience…one that doesn’t require an exorbitant amount of money and one that leaves you with a priceless smile as you exit through the large double doors. I certainly won’t be passing by restaurant again; I can say with confidence this small, overlooked restaurant is the hidden jewel of Centerpointe mall.