Olive & Thyme Brings Mediterranean Fare to Clintonville
Clintonville lost a Panera, but gained new local eatery Olive & Thyme in its place.
Olive & Thyme opened in late November 2020 at 4519 N. High St., offering an extensive menu of Lebanese and Mediterranean eats.
After accumulating two and a half decades of experience, Chef Rami Sabra was ready for the dream come true – opening his own restaurant. Sabra worked his way through kitchens in Lebanon and Dubai, eventually coming to the U.S. where he worked in Michigan before moving to Columbus 12 years ago – 12 years he spent as the chef at Lavash.
In addition to a partner in the business, Sabra brought along General Manager Analee Niswander, another industry veteran he had worked with at Lavash, for the new venture.
When searching for a location for Olive & Thyme, and with their experience in the neighborhood, Clintonville was the place to be. It’s home. While the timing might not have been ideal – the pandemic struck just after signing on the space – Sabra was set on the location.
And Sabra and Niswander say the neighborhood has come out to support Olive & Thyme. Business has been going as well as they could expect given the current circumstances, and they look forward to building things up over time.
They’ve ensured there is no shortage of ways for diners to enjoy Olive & Thyme’s menu. The restaurant is open for dine-in, offers online ordering and curbside pickup, and is available for delivery through DoorDash.
Lebanese street foods are the staple items – shawarma, hummus, tabbouleh and fattoush salads – on a made-from-scratch menu. Shawarma, kafta and kebabs come in both sandwich and entree form (served with saffron rice). Another item Sabra says is unique to their menu is the Charbroiled Chicken, marinated, deboned chicken grilled and topped with homemade lemon butter sauce. For the non-carnivores, a number of vegetarian options populate the menu as well.
The restaurant lives up to the bakery that’s a part of its namesake on the building.
Fresh pita emerges from the the brick oven, and two cases are filled with cakes, cookies and more authentic specialties. There’s a selection of baklava, and three varieties each of manakish and fatayer. Manakish, similar to a pizza in its form of flat bread with toppings, comes crowned with meat, cheese or za’atar. Fatayer is a stuffed pie, packed with meat, cheese or spinach.
Despite opening in the middle of the pandemic, Sabra doesn’t see much changing for Olive & Thyme once things return to a more normal state. They’ll keep serving the same, from-scratch food – hopefully just with more dine-in guests, and with the addition of a patio this summer.
Olive & Thyme is open for lunch and dinner, and brunch on the weekends. Hours are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, visit oliveandthymecafe.com.
All photos by Susan Post