Olive’s is a tiny gourmet food shop on Prince Street that frequently has a long line out the door. The concept of Olive’s (which came to SoHo in 1992), is to provide its customers with high quality, gourmet food, to take to go. The store itself is kind of funny because of this. It looks like a little coffee shop but there’s minimal seating (one bench inside and one bench outside) and food orders are fast-paced. It’s a little confusing to order if you haven’t been to Olive’s before, but there’s one register where your order is taken and you get a ticket to take to another register where you pay. It can get really crowded and a little chaotic at times, but the food is wayy worth any trouble you go through to get it.
Olive’s focuses on quick food but they don’t skip over the quality. They only use quality, seasonal ingredients in all of their sandwiches, soups, salads, and baked goods, and everything is made fresh by their classically trained chefs. They offer breakfast which includes homemade muffins, bagels, and morning buns, as well as homemade granola with yogurt and fruit. For lunch, they have sandwiches, salads, and desserts that change seasonally with daily specials as well. The sandwiches available now include: the Ancho Chili Rubbed Steak (with melted jalapeno jack and grilled onions on a baguette), the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna Salad (with watercress and tomato on seven grain bread), the Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms (with oven dried tomatoes, cress, and herb ricotta on a sourdough baguette), and Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast (with antibiotic and hormone free chicken, tomato, cress, and chipotle mayo, on focaccia). Their soups right now are Gazpacho and Split Pea with Ham and Garlic Coutons and they had a choice of a Mixed Greens salad and a Spinach Salad. You can also get half a sandwich and a salad or half sandwich and a soup! The menu’s simple but each item is carefully put together and complex in its own way.
I went for the classic Olive’s Hero, which is made with sweet and spicy coppa (similar to prosciutto), Genoa salami, aged provolone, olive tapenade, marinated onions, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes, all on some mean homemade sourdough. I know, it sounds too good to be true! I had to get a half sandwich ($5.50) because half of this hero is like a regular-sized sandwich, and that’s more than enough for my appetite. It’s really a pretty good deal, given the quality of the ingredients and the size of the sandwich. With any sandwich, fresh, quality ingredients are super important because that’s basically all you’re eating. Olive’s never skimps out on quality and the Olive’s Hero is an especially great cold sandwich because you can taste the quality of the coppa and salami as well as the fresh vegetables. The olive tapenade is amazing as well, and adds just the right amount of texture and flavor to the sandwich. I also got an iced coffee ($3.50) which is made with Stumptown coffee, which is extremely tasty and locally roasted.
I would recommend Olive’s for anyone looking for a good lunch on the go, or anyone just looking for a good lunch. I got a seat outside on their bench and although it’s right on the street, on a nice day it’s very pleasant to sit out there and watch people go by while eating great food!
120 Prince Street (between Wooster and Greene Streets)