Purple Profile: Olive Mediterranean Grill opens in Evanston


Sean Hong/Daily Senior Staffer

Olive Mediterranean Grill on Sherman Avenue offers six types of sandwich meals at $10. The downtown Evanston location opened last Friday and added more lunch options.

Bailey Williams, Assistant City Editor

Everything is fresh in the new restaurant Olive Mediterranean Grill, which opened in Evanston on Friday.

“Our business is growing everyday,” owner Irfan Zia said, explaining how the grill has been doing well since opening at the old downtown Starbuck’s cafe, 1726 Sherman Ave.

From using fresh ingredients to baking their own bread, Zia said the restaurant offers a healthy alternative that encourages good eating habits.
The eatery tries to use natural meat, local produce and fine ingredients. Even the furniture is made of natural wood, Zia said.

Olive Mediterranean Grill has two other locations in Chicago. All have the same menu and prices, Zia said. The Evanston restaurant, however, is bigger, greener and more sophisticated, Zia said. Evanston’s grill also has different hours — everyday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to its website.

With menu options ranging from soups to sandwiches, the grill offers variety at less than $9 an item. The OMG plate, which Zia said is the most popular menu item, sells for $8.

Chain founder Faisal Ghani is an Evanston resident, which is part of the reason why the grill opened its third store.

The city is a “great community” with Northwestern nearby, Zia said.

Mary Sherref, an employee at the Evanston restaurant, shared her experiences on how fast the business has grown with little marketing.

Sherref said customers were “very forthcoming,” stopping before they left to express their satisfaction with the food. A group of Evanston police officers came in one day, only to return the next, she said.

After her first visit to the restaurant, Weinberg junior Rachel Gladney said what she ordered could have been better with a different sauce.

“I might come back to try the steak and the Bastami rice,” she said.

When asked whether or not Olive Mediterranean Grill experienced competition from nearby restaurants, Zia said each restaurant has different approaches to serving its food.

“We are our biggest competition to ourselves,” Zia said.

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