Olives, Longtime Gourmet Bakery & Deli, Is Part of Witherspoon Street Outdoor Dining
AL FRESCO: “Everyone appreciates the way pedestrian traffic has opened up on Witherspoon Street. People are really enjoying coming together and eating outside. As owners of Olives, we are thankful and grateful for the way the town has allowed us to adapt to these changing times.” Adam and Nick Angelakis, co-owners of Olives Gourmet Bakery & Deli, along with the Verganelakis family of Colonial Farm in Washington Crossing, look forward to more customers enjoying Olives’ outdoor dining opportunities. Tables are set up outside Olives’ entrance.
By Jean Stratton
The Witherspoon streetscape is now filled with intriguing scenes and scenarios as people enjoy the many outdoor dining opportunities now available. The street’s new traffic pattern has made it possible for more outdoor tables and attractive settings to line the thoroughfare.
Since state rules have prohibited indoor dining because of COVID-19, restaurants have had to adapt and meet the moment with new possibilities.
Olives, the popular Gourmet Bakery & Deli at 22 Witherspoon Street, is one of those that now offers dining al fresco, and co-owners and brothers Adam and Nick Angelakis are pleased with the result, and also that Princeton officials have stepped up to make it happen.
“I want to give credit to Mayor Lempert and the Princeton Council,” says Adam Angelakis. “They worked hard to make outside dining possible, and they have worked closely with the business community.”
“I also want to compliment the Arts Council, and artistic director Maria Evans and her team. They have done a wonderful job of painting and beautifying the street.”
He also points out that, in many ways, the challenge of the virus has actually brought out the best in people. “There has been a lot of sharing, with Witherspoon Street businesses working together as neighbors and supporting each other. Frank from the A & B, Michael from Mezzaluna, Jessica from Small World Coffee, and Husam from Mamoun’s — they have all been so supportive, helping each other.
“And Jack Morrison, owner of several restaurants in town, has been especially helpful and supportive in setting up the Witherspoon outdoor dining format.”
Olives, which has been a mainstay on Witherspoon Street for 25 years, is a favorite stop for its many longtime customers. “I have always appreciated our customers and enjoy spending time with them,” reports Angelakis. “They have been so loyal, and many have become friends over the years.
“Our specialty is healthy prepared food, and everything is made from scratch. We use the healthiest, freshest ingredients, and we offer soups, salads, sandwiches, and lunches and dinners to go, including seafood, chicken, pasta, and vegetarian dishes.”
“Healthy eating is definitely popular today, and healthier dishes are in demand,” he adds. “We have healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and specials every day, including hot food and fresh salads, and box lunches to go.”
Customers have favorites among the wide range of choices, including the Greek specialties, which reflect Olives’ heritage.
Olives features such traditional Greek favorites as Spanakopita, the classic Greek spinach pie; Moussaka, the Greek casserole with eggplant, potatoes, ground beef, and béchamel sauce; and also Greek Chicken with lemon, garlic, and oregano. Special desserts such as the traditional baklava and Greek butter cookies are also all available.
Popular summer soups include Gazpacho, Strawberry Lime, and Broccoli Cheddar. The half-sandwich and soup or salad combinations are always in demand, and the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is one of the biggest favorites on the menu.
Specials include the Greek Chicken Platter over tossed salad or vegetables and rice; Grilled Salmon Platter over tossed salad or veggies and rice; Pasta with prosciutto, peas, and parmesan; Penne with chicken, mozzarella, and basil; Chicken Parmesan Platter; and Grilled Salmon with tomato and basil.
Olives’ extensive range of choices offers something for everyone’s taste, with seafood, chicken, and pasta all available, and also Middle Eastern favorites, such as Hummus, Grape Leaves stuffed with rice, and Tabouli, among others.
And of course, living up to its name, Olives offers a wonderful assortment of olives, including jalapeno, Kalamata, and split green.
Far and Wide
The bakery’s desserts are known far and wide, and include cakes, pies, cookies, tarts, bars and brownies, and cannoli, as well as breakfast favorites, such as muffins, coffee cake, scones, and Greek sweet bread.
In addition, there are many fans of Olives’ bagels, which are delivered fresh from Brooklyn seven days a week.
Prices are known to be reasonable, including bagels from $1, sandwiches from $6.95, and entrees from $7.95.
Catering — both corporate and residential — has become a big part of Olives’ business, and as a full-service off-premise caterer, it provides a full package for all sizes and types of events.
Olives offers several dining options, points out Angelakis. “People can come in and select what they want; they can eat outside; they can pick up their order curbside or inside, or we can deliver to their home or office. For delivery, they just need to download the apps, Doordash or Snackpass.”
“Also,” he continues, “we have always emphasized cleanliness, and now we are taking even extra precautions, and when customers come inside, they follow all the rules, including wearing masks and social distancing.”
Kali Oreski — enjoy your meal! It’s what the Greeks say when they sit down to eat, and it’s the same sentiment Olives extends to every customer. That spirit of warm hospitality infuses the Olives experience, and has been apparent from the time this special gourmet bakery and deli opened its doors.
Now Adam and Nick Angelakis see that same spirit of hospitality visible among the outdoor eateries all along Witherspoon Street.
“We are witnessing a real community effort and togetherness. Somehow, the virus has created this sense of community and cooperation, and customers are really appreciating it. There is a lot more patience and kindness.
“Of course, we are looking forward to the virus being gone and getting back to normal or the ‘new’ normal,’ but in the meantime, we are all doing the best we can and taking one day at a time.”
Olives is open Monday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (609) 921-1569. Website: www.olivesprinceton.com.