Thursday, September 09, 2010

Olio's Cafe and Grill

Edited to add on November 18, 2013. Sadly, Olio's has shut its doors and is no longer in business.  I had an email for a burger special last week but nothing saying the place was closing. I will say, I know the business has been for sale even tho it was not "out there" but listed on the real estate sites online. Olio's in recent months was not the same as when I wrote this review over three years ago.  They had added breakfast, weekday specials for burgers or fish and chips, coupons for buy one get one dinners and they did get that liquor license that took forever. BUT the food was not nearly as good, and to me, the atmosphere was more everyday ho hum than everyday special.  I wish it was otherwise. 

ETA  Directions/Address 1072 Elms Road Flint (just north of Corunna and on same side as Flint Iceland Arena  Map  If you pass Calkins Road, you went too far. On the left side going north on Elms.

We don't get many quality eateries in the Genesee County area these days. Usually anything new opening up and actually staying open is along the lines of fast food, burger joints/coney islands or buffets (another word for deep fried and greasy). So imagine my surprise when the repaved road over the Flint River opened last week (after three months down) and this sign lit up the night! I didn't know what sort of cuisine was going to be had but I spied cloth napkins thru the windows!

So tonight on a dull, cloudy Wednesday we decided to give it a try.  The lot was not really busy but that is par for many sit down eateries mid week, in general . I was almost startled to be greeted by a host when I barely had the door open. We were immediately greeted by our waiter Emily, who was so cheery and remarked that she had done the Crim (after seeing hubby's wind jacket with the Crim logo).   While getting our beverages, she also highly recommended the Bruschetta with its fresh ingredients. Bread? Me? You betcha!

I was pleasantly surprised  to find that Emily is also a vegetarian, so she was able to inform me of all the secret ingredients (Minestrone is NOT vegetarian made with a combo beef/veggie broth) but the Marinara sauce is! (I always thought Marinara was vegetarian but not so, as twice locally it had chicken broth).

Hubby had tortellini soup while I chose a salad with my "surprise me-on the side" dressing and the accompanied bread with garlic (almost cake like and topped with lightly crumbly cheese). This bread was sooooo goooood. I could have eaten just it. A small bowl of balsamic vinegar with olive oil and rosemary poured over  was a side for dipping. We were later brought a second helping of this and the chef came over to chat and welcome us. He also brought a menu for me to take home

This dish is called Spaghetti Trapanese to which I had spinach added to give it a little oomph in color. I would say it was a large serving that would have fed minimum two but closer to three. Very hot, very fresh and just the right amount of sauce as I am not a sauce person. The sauce was tomato, olive oil, basil and garlic.  If I had the choice, the only difference would have been some toasted pine nuts on the top for extra crunch.

Here is the yummy Bruschetta with the garlic bread in the background.

Hubby had the Chicken Cremosi which had a lemon cream sauce over some dead chicken but you are not getting a photo. We don't do eyeballs here. But he enjoyed it and it was a very generous serving of two dead cluck breasts. There was a side of spaghetti with chunky sauce which comes with most meaty dishes.

All entrees include soup or salad and the garlic bread. Entrees start at $9.99 thru $13.99 except for a few specialties like filet or lamb but the most expensive was under $20. They have a burger/sub lunch menu but there was only a veggie sub and no veggie burger listed. Since I am not a lunch person to begin with, that won't affect me. Lunch with fries and an 8" sub tallies up  for $7.49. Children can eat for $4.99 and homemade desserts are also available.

When I Googled Olio's tonight, there was not one hit online. They don't have a website yet as they only opened two weeks ago and are waiting on the applied for liquor license. The bar area is already set up and there is a large meeting/conference/party room off the main dining area. I promised them their first hit on Google and listing on Twitter. So if you are in the vicinity, stop and check them out.  Supporting local businesses means supporting your neighbors.


ETA on Feb 8, 2011-Since I first wrote this review, I have returned several times and the last time my daughter and son-in-law were with me. Finally they have a website! Check the menu and set aside a nice evening of dining  as the word has gone out that this is a great place and the parking lot is now full.

PS-my photos are going to be better since I finally ordered  a new camera! Don't let people step on your purse! It messes up the photos big time.


  1. I work at Olio's, and I must say. We are fantastic, charming, and the food is amazing.

    Tonya G

  2. Anonymous10:45 AM

    My 5 yr old and I tried Olio's for the first time Friday night and it was FABULOUS! I also had the Chicken Cremosi like her husband and it was delicious. My son had the spaghetti with marinara and loved it. He was very happy about the meatless sauce as well because it didn't just taste like tomato juice like many marinara sauces do. REAL, fresh Italian food with great atmosphere and staff. Oh, and my son spilled my water and they were very sweet about it. Will be going back, maybe even tonight! =)

  3. Thanks for the review! I just bought a coupon on Seize the Deal. Can't wait to try it.

  4. Anonymous8:09 PM

    Tonight we visited for the first time. We will definately be back. This place has the other Italian place on Linden road beat by miles!!!

  5. Anonymous8:29 PM

    I love Olio's! We are thinking of having our wedding rehearsal dinner there in April! The staff is ALWAYS friendly and helpful and the it's the best italian cuisine in the area. Go there... and don't forget to order a cannolli-deeeelicious!

  6. Anonymous8:19 AM

    We have eaten there twice already and plan to frequent the restaurant alot more in the future. The food was amazing, atmosphere just as wonderful and the service there is outstanding. Must get the brushetta bread and the tortellini soup! I had chicken alfredo both times and YUMMY!!!My youngest only gets chicken tenders wherever we go and even we liked them...nice juicy tender chicken! Couldn't leave home without cannolis so we got those to go and again WOW...delicious!!! MUST TRY! FLUSHING MICHIGAN RESIDENT!

  7. Anonymous10:34 PM

    Nice waitress's, nice atmosphere and food is good. Didn't think the Lasgne was as good as Ruggero's though.

  8. Anonymous7:52 PM

    Friends and I dined there last night. A good "foodie" friend recommended it to us. There were 6 of us. Atmosphere was pleasant (good lighting, etc.) Service was fantastic! Wished we could have said that about the food. Maybe they had an off night? Calamari was overcooked and tasteless. Salmon was overcooked and flooded with too much lemon/caper/artichoke sauce. None of us liked our food (overcooked...bland....etc.) but because of the service, we might try back. Alfredo was boring and no presentation. At least they had espresso. Not great coffee, but espresso they had!

  9. Judy M.11:25 AM

    Welcome to the neighborhood Olio's. One of our new favorite restaurant's!. The Penne Palomino is out of this world delicious. The staff is wonderful,cheerful and very attentive. The prices are very reasonable. We are planning a working luncheon there also.


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