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Strip Mall Surprise: Eclectic Mediterranean eats in Hilliard

Strip Mall Surprise: Eclectic Mediterranean eats in Hilliard

Aaron Wetli

Welcome back to Strip Mall Surprise, where we highlight locally owned restaurants that just happen to be located in a, wait for it, Strip Mall. Today’s installment takes us to Hilliard for some mouthwatering and eclectic Mediterranean eats.

Opened in 2009, The Olive Tree Mediterranean Café has been serving Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Egyptian, Moroccan, and Spanish fare to the good people of Hilliard for almost a decade. Cozy and quaint with some of the best wait staff in town, The Olive Tree is a treasure trove of international/regional food that one doesn’t come across easily in the 614.

For starters, it is hard to beat the amazing array of appetizers. While you can’t go wrong with the hummus trio or the tzatziki, you should definitely try the Spanikopita; a warm and spicy dumpling like concoction of spinach with feta, asiago, and parmesan cheeses. A table of five or more would be well served by ordering all three appetizers.

For your dinner entree, try the Moussaka, a baked eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes dish with seasoned ground beef and béchamel crème that just happened to be topped with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. A two top could easily split the Moussaka, but ultimately will be upset that they decided to share.

The Olive Tree also offers options for the less adventurous eater in your house such as succulent Gyros, which are served both in sandwich and platter form, with fries that are second to none. If this is you, please also try the Spicy Chicken; a seasoned chicken tenderloin served over rice with a spicy gyro sauce.

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Are you ready for the real scoop about the Olive Tree? They have one of the best Sunday brunches (10am – 2pm) in central Ohio. Bloody Marys? Check. Mimosas? Done. Isreali, Lebanese, Greek, Italian, and Spanish beers? Look no further. Oh yeah, the Sunday brunch food is incredible.

The Shakshuka, a Northern African/Isreali breakfast dish consisting of poached eggs in a tomato, pepper, and garlic sauce is true comfort food for the soul and in the very short conversation for my favorite entrée in Central Ohio. Bursting with flavor and different textures, this entrée is a game changer, especially when ordered spicy sausage and topped with feta cheese.

Lox and Bagels and Challah French Toast are other worthy Sunday brunch options. The smoked salmon and bagels are always fresh and to say Challah French Toast is fluffy, rich, and decadent. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

So there you have it, another Strip Mall Surprise that has a little bit of something for everyone. Get out there, try something new, and support local.

The Olive Tree Mediterranean Café is located at 3185 Hilliard Rome Rd, Hilliard. Visit olivetreecolumbus.com.

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