Some couples get engaged and buy a dog or a new apartment to settle into the married life. Other couples, like Daoud Tayeh and Kaitlin Donnelly, open a café. Olea will replace Sandwich Works in Brookline Village with a diverse, seasonal menu that offers food with some serious worldly influence: Mediterranean, Italian, Greek, Moroccan and beyond.
“We have a passion for food services,” Tayeh said. “We like good food and we want to share that with the community.”
Olea will move in across the street from the popular KooKoo’s Café, but Tayeh said Olea’s menu will have unique and accessible options, including several vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free items. They said their cultural flare for food will be paired with healthy options, making Olea different from the European style cafes in the neighborhood.
Donnelly, the creative cook, has many ideas for a menu that will transform each season. She described pineapple cupcakes in the summer versus warmer flavors such as mocha chunk in the winter. And although the menu is still under construction, she divulged the details of one sandwich she is sure about: the Marche -- brie, arugula and roasted pears.
Paninis with fish and cold cuts, sandwiches, salads and pastries will all be available at Olea, but the café is especially interested in coffee. They are looking for a high-end distributor, but they have not settled on one yet.
Tayeh said they are aiming for a cozy vibe. The name of the café will encompass that essence. Olea tranranslates to “olive” in Latin and besides its obvious connection to Mediterranean food, it symbolizes prosperity.
Olea Cafe, in fact, comes from a prosperous and diverse background. Tayeh also owns Habibi’s Lounge in Allston and he has experience working in his family’s restaurants in Newport, Rhode Island. There, he served Lebanese cuisine.
Tayeh said Olea will encompass influences from several cultures, but it will be primarily Mediterranean.
The space is currently being renovated and Tayeh expects it will open in March before he and Donnelly wed in July.