Olive + Oak: A Raved-About Restaurant in Webster Groves
It’s rare to find a locale that’s equally perfect for a casual date night or special occasion, but somehow Olive + Oak, opened in 2016, does just that. Helmed by owner Mark Hinkle and executive chef Jesse Mendica, this elegant café serves raved-about dishes like the blue-crab gratin with Calabrian chile, celery and pretzel bread, which reviewers across nearly all social-media platforms proclaim a must-try. Another reviewer grabbed drinks at the neighboring sister restaurant The Clover and the Bee, while waiting two hours for a table—and still left a five-star review. “It. Was. Worth. It.” she writes.
Mendica has been working in the industry since the age of 16, and in 2017 she was nominated as a James Beard Award semifinalist in the Best Chef: Midwest category. Hinkle, originally from Alton, Illinois, confesses he’d pass the time watching cooking shows featuring Emeril Lagasse, Jack McDavid and Martin Yan while growing up—that is, when he wasn’t wreaking havoc on the quaint Midwestern river town with his three brothers.
Together they have created an environment in which they craft each meal from the finest ingredients they can gather, often working with local farmers and artisans. The results include dishes like the eclectic elk loin, served with parsnip cream, balsamic shiitakes and fingerling potatoes, or the Eggs in Purgatory dish. Served with tomato ragù, chile, spaghetti squash and farm eggs, the dish is a dream for the diner. The menu is rounded out with a variety of seafood, vegetable and sandwich dishes as well, including the dip: roasted leg of lamb, drunken goat cheese and lamb jus (yes, “drunken” goat cheese; sometimes a foodie must throw caution to the wind).
102 W. Lockwood Ave.
While You’re In The Neighborhood …
The Clover and the Bee
The sister restaurant to Olive + Oak; perk up here with a delicious coffee and baked pastry.
100 W. Lockwood Ave.
Robust Wine Bar
The perfect spot for an elegant night out, with a sommelier to talk you through flavors and pairings.
227 W. Lockwood Ave.
The Block Restaurant
A perfectly polished, elegant spot for meat-lovers, with a butcher and local farmer on hand.
146 W. Lockwood Ave.
Photo courtesy of Carmen Troesser.
This story originally appeared in ALIVE’s sister publication GUIDED: Webster Groves. Pick up your complimentary copy today.