Charleston Edition: Olga's Express

By Candace Nelson - 11:06 PM


"The Olga’s Kitchen odyssey began in the mid-1960’s when Detroit-resident and founder Olga Loizon returned to the Mediterranean to visit her family. She and her three small children wanted to reconnect with their Greek heritage. In the process, Olga would discover her legacy. A visit to the local market square inspired what would grow into an iconic Michigan brand. Here, Olga’s children first tasted souvlaki, a traditional Greek sandwich of meat and vegetables wrapped in fresh-baked pita bread. Her kids were hooked…and Olga was inspired. In her quest to buy an authentic vertical rotisserie to cook the meat, Olga was refused because women didn’t typically own businesses in the 60's. As we know, Detroiters don’t give up so Olga gave her uncle the money to buy the machine for her. Olga, her kids and her new vertical rotisserie were then on their way back to Michigan."


"Back home, Olga recreated the savory delicacy her children fell in love with in Greece with one important improvement—the bread, which Olga found grainy and dry. For two years, Olga rolled and kneaded, baked and balanced, tasted and tested, until finally, she had created the Best Bread on the Planet. Olga layered her secret recipe with seasoned beef and lamb, vine-ripened tomato, sweet onion, and her homemade Olgasauce®. The classic culinary delight known as the Original Olga® was born. Olga was now ready to share The Original Olga® with the world. In Birmingham, Michigan's Continental Market, Olga walked past a wooden shoe store that was closing. Its 10 x 10 space was perfect. After securing a loan at her local bank, the first woman to ever achieve that small feat, Olga was in business. Initially, no one knew what an Olga was so Olga handed out free samples to passersby. With one simple taste, Olga had transformed the “unknown and unwanted” Original Olga into the “celebrated and sought-after” classic now enjoyed by the masses. Suddenly, Olga’s went from a single 10 x 10 location to a chain of restaurants throughout Michigan serving Olga's, The Olga Salad®, Spinach & Cheese Pie, Peasant Soup, and everyone’s favorite, Olga’s Snackers®. Today, Olga’s Kitchen is owned by TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants and boasts over 25 locations and an expanded menu."


There is an express location in Charleston, available through an online ordering app. It appears to be based out of the Embassy Suites hotel. I ordered The Original Olga - Our signature blend of the highest quality beef and lamb, seasoned with select spices, broiled, thinly carved and finished in vine-ripened tomato, sweet onion, and Olgasauce®. This was like a gyro mixed with a wrap. I would have loved fresh lamb shaved from the spit, but this was OK - definitely ask them to go light on the onions, though. Chips were way too dark, but the dip with it was interesting - sweet and creamy.


Grade: C

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