Dining

The expanding Olive

There’s lots more of the GV Mediterranean hangout to love

Brock Radke

Henderson’s hummus and hookah hot spot is expanding. The Olive, which has been serving up Mediterranean fare and providing a nighttime hangout for flavored-tobacco aficionados since 2005, has taken over the neighboring space that housed a luxury auto-repair shop. Once the renovation is finished, the restaurant will be around 5,000 square feet, more than twice its current size.

This is not the first expansion, but it is the most substantial. The new space will be used almost entirely as a lounge, serving cocktails and comfort for hookah action. The existing space will be converted to a larger dining room, although the vibe will stay casual.

“We’ve been doing hookah since we opened, and this is really to accommodate that crowd,” said Jay Sayegh, one of the Olive’s owners. “This way we can keep things separate and still give everyone what they want.”

The move makes sense; stop in on any given night and you’ll find a bustling, mixed crowd. Young people come to smoke hookah (Jay Sayegh and his partner Nick Sayegh are cousins, which is how they came up with the name Cuzzins for their tobacco mixing and distributing business) and listen to a DJ spin urban tunes, while older groups take over the back lounge and share simple plates of hummus, falafel and babaganoush. The cuisine is much better than you’d expect from a suburban shopping-center storefront. In fact, it may be some of the best Mediterranean food in town (the family hails from Lebanon and Jordan). That quality explains why people keep coming back through troubled times. An early 2009 shooting in the parking lot didn’t help, but the Olive soldiered on.

Jay Sayegh said there may be some special entertainment for the opening of the new, expanded lounge, and maybe later on down the road, menu additions like kabobs and spanakopita. “We’re going to feel it out,” he said.

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