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Hottest ticket in town: Olive, an urban dive

Olive, an urban dive logo

Olive, an urban dive logoI just got back from a tasting at Olive, an Urban Dive. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many delicious, amazing, different bites of food in my life. 30+ tastes of dishes- with two rounds of Jeni’s  Splendid Ice creams [1]in between.

I took photos- with the iPhone, but I’m here to tell you – pictures aren’t worth 1,000 words- tasting is the only way you’ll believe me. The food was fresh, fine, simple, wonderful, awesome.

Starting next week- you can try to get in for lunch. Dinner won’t start for another few weeks- start making reservations now. Here’s why: The place is TINY. 35 occupancy- including the crew- and the food- is so fresh- when they run out- it’s gone. This will be the hottest ticket in town- guaranteed. One caveat- I have no idea what the prices will be- but, for the experience- it will be worth it.

Olive soft opens for lunch July 5th M-F 10 a.m.-3 p.m.!

These are our planned upon hours! We are not open full schedule yet!
phone/reservations 937.222.DIVE (3483)
dining room/patio seating/carryout:
Monday-Friday 10-3 lunch
Saturday & Sunday 10-3 brunch
Thursday-Saturday 5-midnight dinner
olive: 416 east third st., dayton, oh 45402
via when & where – Olive,  an urban dive [2].

A few tips- they will always have takeout. You can’t call it in. Every third ticket- takeout will slide in- so you may have a chance even if you don’t get a seat. The carryout containers and the utensils- are all biodegradable.

They are only taking cash or check during the first few weeks. After that- MC/Visa. No AmEx.

Monday – Wednesday nights- the place is available for rental- pick a menu- have a party with your 29 best friends.

They have parking- and bike racks.

And the most important part- the sign says “WYMPEE” and isn’t going to change anytime soon. Get over it. Corner of Wayne and E. Third St. Across from the Cannery.

All the ingredients are local, fresh, organic. Everything is made in the tiny kitchen- it’s so tiny- they didn’t have room for a dishwasher- they do it in a 3 compartment sink. Bring your own booze- since our illustrious state won’t grant them a liquor license because they only have- shock- 1 bathroom.

Everything is recycled, composted, ecologically sound. The music is all local- through the iPod jukebox. They have a huge following on Facebook [3] and Twitter [4] and battled city hall for at least a year to pull this off.

I liked everything I ate- but, some favorites- the Garlic Butter Burger Slider, Fried Leeks (onion rings for foodies), Fried Mozzarella, the Kabobs, Spanakopita, the grilled cheese and tomato bisque, the raspberry cheesecake, Hummus sandwiches, felafel, the Greek salad, Olive chicken, sweet potato fries…

I’ve already booked a pair of lunch dates- you should, too.


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Sounds excellent. However, I don’t tend to frequent places where getting a reservation or food harkens to an episode of “Mission Impossible.” Best of luck to them.

kimberly collett

thanks David! so glad you enjoyed it!

Jeff Dziwulski

That was a good presentation at pecha kutcha last night, on Olive (yours was excellent, too, David!)

But i think I will wait a few months until the buzz dies down before trying the place out, to avoid the “Reservations-Mission Impossible” issue noted upthread.  Though this is the good time to go as local produce and such will be in-season.  I’m sure the food will be as good later in the year, too. 

BTW, good to hear the Wympee exterior will be saved…that is such a local landmark and period piece.  I told my dad about this place (showed him a snapshot of it), and he said Wympee was a Chicago chain, that he remembers them from Chicago  (he’s an old Chicago guy).  Maybe.  Before my time.

Another great deal is that the place has those big windows.  One of the things I disliked about Dayton is that the restaurants here were all so “enclosed”….that you couldnt see outside.  I think the old Kittys was the first to break away from it.  Then came Pacchia.  Now there’s Olive.  More modern with more daylight light and seeing out, seeing the passersbye and street scene. 

This localist thing is cutting edge.  Good to see that this place is following that, sourcing from providers in the vicinity.  This has become a feature of the foodie scene in Louisville (a local CSA has helped set up a restaurant featuring their produce), and Woodbridge Tavern up in Detroit does the Louisvillians one better by sourcing from Detroit urban ag, from the gardners and small farmers setting up on the Motor Cities now-empty acres.   

Just an example of whats going on elsewhere.  Olive is right in with this trend.  Not to mention a juke box or sound track feature local acts, or so I hear!


Bubba Jones

Bubbette and I were out and about today and stopped in at Olive’s for lunch.  It was our first time there.  We split two entree’s: a tuna burger and the Tuscan grilled cheese.  The tuna burger was pretty good but the grilled cheese was very good.  I also had a small (very small!!) cup of potato leek soup that was good.
Overall, it’s somewhere that I’d recommend to someone.  A little pricey for the portion sizes but I know that buying fresh and local is a lot more costly than buying processed food at GFS or Sysco restaurant suppliers.
A couple of interesting observations were: A) they brought our check before the food arrived and B) about half the patrons were drinking alcohol.  When I mentioned getting the check so early to Kim (the owner – VERY nice lady!) she said it was because all of the staff takes care of all of the tables and they want to make sure the checks get out.  As far as everyone drinking, this was interesting because they don’t have a liquor license but everyone was bringing in their own wine and champagne.  One table even brought their own container of vodka to liven up their Bloody Marys.  Next time I’ll have to make sure I bring a couple of tall-boy cans of Old Milwaukee!
Kim Collett – if you happen to read this… the server that took our order never mentioned any daily specials that you had.  It wasn’t until we were done with our meal that we heard one of the other servers mention specials to two other tables.
Bottom line – we’ll go back and will recommend this place to other folks.

kimberly collett

Bubba! reading and taking notes! thanks for the feedback and for stopping in today! It was great to meet you and ‘Bubbette’!


I went ahead and checked it out – reservations the first two times, third time I walked in for a last-minute solo brunch. All three times were mega excellent. The chickpea pizza is absolutely delicious; the crust is interesting and tasty. I wish Kim the very best, but have to say I’m worried about what a lame Ohio winter means for local sourcing? However, I’m really looking forward to going back soon!


I was so excited to try out this restaurant…. and I tried really hard to like the food….but it didn’t make the cut for two of us.We sampled chicken salad,tuscan grilled cheese with pancett, pesto and marinated tomatoes,potato leek soup and tomato bisque,caesar salad,another greens salad,fried leeks and the aioli dipping sauce. so we could compare the the dishes. Biggest disappointment was the lack of seasoning across the board, no flavor.We needed herbs and seasonings for everything we tried.The items looked great, sounded great,but lacked pizazz in the mouth. I couldn’t figure out why they all needed improvement. Dear chef , please visit other area restaurants to make some comparisons in the flavor department. Huge disappointment.That along with the high cost for such tiny portions and lack of adequate parking  made us decide not to ever go back. By comparison, I’d ask the chef to visit Christophers, for example,for their mushroom bisque soup-to die for, and excellent chicken salad, as well as the homemade dill house dressing. See what I mean. Herbs and seasonings folks…herbs and seasonings. It’s really difficult to compare Olive with other area restaurants and not leave Olive wishing we had eaten elsewhere.We truly tried to like itThere is still time to make changes.Please consider doing so!!!

kimberly collett


We’re so sorry you found our flavors lacking! We struggle with balancing the special dietary needs of many of our guests (low sodium and allergies) and adding the salt so many enjoy, more herbs though is a consideration we can make! We are constantly re-looking at our recipes and I will definitely share your input with our team. We do provide excellent salt and pepper grinders so that our guests can tweak to their taste and try to balance our high purchasing costs of buying local with our food portions. We encourage guests to try our side items and desserts for a fully rounded lunch that satisfies! As for parking, we’re fortunate to have the parking we do, but it is frustrating to not have more. The cannery lot, adjacent to ours on the south side, is available to the guests of all businesses in that area for an hourly parking fee, though it is unmarked as such. We will constantly work to improve as we take in feedback and hope you’ll try us again someday!

Thank you for the honest and kind feedback!


David Lauri

Sharon, I’m sorry you didn’t like the food at Olive’s, but I for one have loved having Olive’s as a choice downtown and eat there once or twice a week. I tend to eat lunch late, so I’m usually able to snag a spot in the lot, but if the lot’s full, there’s convenient back-in parking right across Wayne in front of the Cannery. Another tip is that it’s easier to get into Olive on Mondays.
I love Olive’s specials.  They’ve done some divine stuff with scallops (see some photos at http://on.fb.me/mXQhOy and http://on.fb.me/rjMTR8). But they have lots of regular items that I really like too, ranging from the tuscan grilled cheese to the chicken salad on croissant (which I had again for lunch yesterday) to the bene-stacks for brunch.  Their new autumn in a bowl (which I had for lunch on Friday and which my friend Jim had for lunch yesterday) is also very good.
Sure, the prices reflect the cost of procuring food from local sources, but I’m fortunate to be able to afford that. And I’ve only gotten the hamburger at Olive once — if I want a hamburger, I just like Smashburger’s mushroom burger better and Olive has so many other things I like better.
But besides the great food that I do like at Olive and its convenience for me living and working downtown, I like that it’s a locally owned business and that Kim is very responsive.  If you have feedback for her, she will accept it, either in person or via Facebook or other sites.  I like going to a place where I know the owner.  A warning about getting to know the owner though is that makes her even less afraid to do the hard sell on dessert, which can be devastating if you’re trying to diet but good if you just need an excuse to indulge. ;)

David Lauri

Those concerned about limited parking at Olive can now consider going for dinner when there should be plenty of parking in the adjacent lot and when nearby on-street back-in parking is free: http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/taste/entries/2011/10/14/downtown_dayton_restaurant_lau.html