Olive Tree

We stumbled into the Olive Tree by accident after skating practice. We even drove into the parking lot by accident. But hey, it was there, it was open, and we were hungry.

The Olive Tree is not in the best location. It’s difficult to see from the road, the signage doesn’t line up wit the building well. Even if you know it’s there it is easy to miss.

The inside is old and worn. The owner told me they’ve been in operation for decades but not always in the same location. I’m not sure how long they’ve been on 16th Ave. There were only a few people left in the restaurant. All of them seemed to be regulars and allĀ  of them were finished eating and just talking across tables to each other.

The menu is classic immigrant American diner. The Child went completely off script and ordered a Beef Patty with Gravy, Corn, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. She really likes brown gravy. As in she will drink it straight if you aren’t looking. Surprisingly she ate half of about everything all the while raving to the server and the owner about how much she loved the food and the restaurant. I wonder if she was tired.

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The Wife, ever in search of good sawmill gravy, ordered the Country Fried Steak and Gravy with Eggs and Potatoes. It turned out to be more than she could eat. She rated the gravy as excellent. Another source for biscuits and gravy then, assuming the biscuits are good. Next time.

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Every one in Iowa has a breaded pork tenderloin. “Ours is the best.” Yes, everyone says that too. But I went with it any way. However, I added GRAVY! along with a side of crispy hash browns. I have never had such thinly grated hash browns before. They were fantastic. And the gravy smothered tenderloin was out of this world. I hurt when we left I was so full.

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Looking around the restaurant, the decor, the menu, the name Olive Tree, they had to be either Greek or Lebanese. Our server was shocked that I guessed Lebanese. I was right. She brought out the owner to introduce us. I told her Lebanese food is my favorite. Unfortunately they do not cook or serve any at her restaurant. But her nephew has a Lebanese restaurant in Hiawatha called Pita’s. She said we should check it out. We will. And we will be back to the Olive Tree.


Riley’s 6th Street

We had eaten at Riley’s Downtown on our trip up to find a place to live. Now that we were settled it was time to try the Riley’s closer to our house.

MUCH different decor. This Riley’s is wide open, booths along the walls and tables in the center. More like a Denny’s or Perkins than the cramped space downtown. Old record albums border the walls and the restaurant has a nice bright feeling.

Service was dreadfully slow. It almost seemed as if servers waited on tables at random instead of assigned sections. I think best service would be had by sitting at the bar.

The Child went simple today and just ordered a Belgium waffle. It did come sprinkled with powdered sugar but for once she didn’t complain. She didn’t finish it but it must have been good. She ate a good half of it.

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The Wife went with an omelette. I don’t remember if she just went with a basic ham and cheese omelette or something more substantial like the Ultimate omelette. It was served with a good looking side of hash browns. I might have wanted them a little crispier if they were for me.

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Me? Oooooh. Look at this! Mardi Gras Eggs Benedict. Two English muffins, shrimp and sliced kielbasa, poached eggs. Covered in Hollandaise sauce with Cajun seasoning. It was fantastic. Only thing that could have made it better would have been andouille sausage instead of kielbasa. I also ordered a blueberry muffin for “dessert.” I had high hopes it would be like the dessert muffin I get at Perkins. It was close but without the sugar crust on top, it wasn’t quite as good.


We will definitely be returning for breakfast. Perhaps at the bar next time though.