Just two weeks ago Gut Check happened to spot signage announcing the opening of Pan d'Olive in the old Mihalis Chophouse space at 1603 McCausland Avenue in the city's Franz Park neighborhood. Now comes word from owner Sam Kacar that the new restaurant will open this Friday, November 16.
Sam Kacar is also the owner of the Italian restaurant Trattoria Branica (10411 Clayton Road, Frontenac; 314-432-8585). His new venture will draw from the broader Mediterranean region.
"It's southern European," Kacar tells Gut Check of the Pan d'Olive concept. "I have dishes from Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey."
The range of cuisines might be most obvious in the restaurant's selection of mezes, which range from arancini and calamari to hummus to bacon-wrapped figs to "Turkey Kofte Sliders".
The menu also includes flatbreads, bruschetta and pasta (lobster ravioli, seafood linguini). Entrées include seafood (roasted salmon with a lemon nage), steak and chicken provençal. And, of course, there is the homemade olive bread from which the restaurant takes its name.
Diners who visited Mihalis likely remember a large, upscale space. "It's a well done place, very classy -- almost intimidating," Kacar remarks.
Still, he says, "Basically, [Pan d'Olive] isvery casual, moderately priced," with most entrées under $20 and the mezes and bruschetta priced at $4 each. The low-priced mezes and bruschetta especially, Kacar hopes, will draw diners to the bar, which also features numerous wines by the glass and around 500 bottle selections.
Pan d'Olive will be open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. You can reach the restaurant at 314-647-8000.
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