Get him to the Greek restaurant!

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Photo by Luke Sarazin

In case you missed the most recent renovation in the little building between Phil’s and the King St. residence, there is a new Greek restaurant, Olive Tree, near campus.

After getting the most conventional Mediterranean dish (lamb souvlaki) I could think of, I am optimistic that this place can do well by having captured a unique approach the other restaurants within walking distance — or the previous stores this place is built on — haven’t done: hybridize.

When I walked in I didn’t know what to expect, I had to ask if I sit down or go to the counter to order because I got mixed vibes, turns out it’s both.

The location is a bit tight, but I think they had a tricky line to walk with that square footage. Comfortable booths, modern aesthetic, open kitchen — which you just know raises the stakes.

The waitress informed me that they were open late on Wednesday and Sunday till 3 a.m. to cater to the the nightlife crowd.

Smart. If you are going to survive here, you must take advantage of the surge of inebriated consumers that Phil’s regularly churns out.

Survival is the key word here, there is no denying this location has proven to be difficult. This is the third restaurant I’ve seen set up shop in my three years as a Laurier student.

I ordered the lamb souvlaki which came with a Greek salad heavily doused with dressing and parmesan cheese. I had forgotten what fresh vegetable salad tasted like.

The lamb was cooked to perfection and they will ask if you want any of your bovine protein to be cooked to rare, medium or well done — which I haven’t been asked since I got a steak on my last birthday — reminding me that this isn’t your everyday student spot.

I definitely recommend giving it a try. Next time one of my parents comes to visit I will take them here because last time I took my Dad to Pizza Maniac and he was less than thrilled.

Although it says “Mediterranean Grill” on the front of the building, there are lots of options on the menu.

This location seems to try to walk the line of being a hybrid dining location, being both sit down and take out as well as having array of options — i.g. pizza, wings, pitas, wraps and sandwiches, poutine and garlic bread. It’s like a faster version of an upper class dining experience. A full course meal you can have  in-restaurant or at home. It will cost you though: the step up in quality is as noticeable as the upped price.

Probably the most important to note is that a meal here is going to be closer to $20 than $10. I’d recommend this place because, for one, Mediterranean isn’t my thing and I still loved it and two, this is some fresh and fast food. After a night of drinking, this could have you walking home happier than a greasy alternative.

But the greasy option is here too. For example, the zucchini spears; like the sibling of pickle spears but without the guilt.

The Tyropitakia is delicious too. It’s like a bougie mozzarella stick with melted Greek feta cheese. It was cooked a little bit beyond perfection for my tastes, but the potential was there.

One of the biggest positives is that you will feel full after eating, but not heavy-full.

I definitely recommend giving it a try. Next time one of my parents comes to visit I will take them here because last time I took my Dad to Pizza Maniac and he was less than thrilled

It is a difficult position that the restaurant is in because there is not a lot of time to establish their place on the street or their target audience.

The trouble may be that they are under the shadow of King St. residence. As a third-year student, I have had my fill of shawarma and pizza and I am now starting to do some “adulting” and have been looking for food that includes more sections of a balanced diet.

First-year students may pass right by this place because there are cheaper options only 30 steps further.

Although they have the greasy options, I predict their most consistent demographic will be students that choose to avoid pickle spears in favor of zucchini, ones who will drop the mozza-sticks in an instant just to get an order of that Tyropitakia.

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