“There is lasting value in gathering around the table for a family meal.” Cal Peternell, 12 Recipes
My grandson, Austin, celebrated a birthday this past week. He selected Olio in Tower Grove for the family gathering, which shows his inclination for fine food. This is my grandson, who wanted a copy of Chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s book for Christmas last year. Since then, he’s been cooking his way through the recipes of Mediterranean and Israeli dishes. We’ve all enjoyed his venture. But for his birthday, he wanted a meal from the kitchen of Chef Ben Poremba.
Olio: An Outing for All Occasions
Olio is ideal for celebrations or just a fun outing with family and friends. The refurbished gas station buzzes with energy, serving up wickedly delicious mezze, or small plates, suitable for sharing. Poremba delivered most of our dishes himself, but also took time to show photos of his adorable two-month old daughter.
When I told Ben I was fond of tomato jam, he brought me a sample of the house made variety, that’s used on their turkey and smoked Gouda sandwiches. It’s a perfect sandwich spread. I miss the Caponato, that’s no longer on the menu; the eggplant dish was one of my favorites.
Olio is everything a dining experience should be: relaxed, comfortable, and delicious. But it’s also novel, a fun way to celebrate a birthday or any day. Getting the photos shown below was hard, when the family was drooling, waiting for the food to be passed. But we all agreed: the dishes were every bit as good as they look.
Olio, 1634 Tower Grove Avenue. Open: Sun 11a-12a; Mon-Sat 11a-1:30a.
Ben’s oasis of fine dining, Elaia, is adjacent to Olio. He also own Parigi, an upscale Italian restaurant with a French twist. Poremba recently shuttered Old Standard, his fried chicken place, and is looking to reopen with a South of the Border menu.