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Olga’s Kitchen still winning converts with secret bread recipe January 6, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greek Taste World.

Funny how a good food idea can last. Take the Olga’s Kitchen concept invented in 1970. Olga’s Kitchen chain founder Olga Loizou took the Greek restaurant idea popular in the Detroit area, Americanized and standardized it, and created a wrap sandwich with a bread that was thicker and sweeter than traditional pita bread.

Olga’s wrap sandwiches are still winning converts. During the first visit to an Olga’s Kitchen at The Crossroads mall recently, marveled at the concept of a hamburger and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in a wrap form. The bread was sweet and chewy. The warmth of the bread also helped to melt the peanut butter in the PB&J to create a new sandwich delight. Loved seeing the bread grilled in the kitchen area of the restaurant.

What’s that special Olga bread made of, anyway? Whatever it is, the folks at the Olga’s Kitchen headquarters in Troy aren’t about to give up any information about it. Director of marketing Steven Frank said that the bread is made daily “in a locked room” and that the dough is then shipped out to the 29 Olga’s Kitchen locations to be formed and cooked at the restaurants. “I like not knowing the recipe,” Frank said. “I don’t have to lie about not knowing it. People ask me all the time.”

After all these years, the Original Olga, the wrap with the seasoned beef and lamb, onions, tomatoes and Olgasauce, is still the best-seller at the restaurant.

Loved the Orange Cream Cooler, another Olga signature item. My companion, who was an Olga’s Kitchen line cook about 20 years ago said the Orange Cream Cooler tasted better years ago. She suspected the Orange Cream Coolers of today are made with a mix. That’s anybody’s guess, since management isn’t talking about that recipe either.

My companion ended up getting the Open Face Olga Meal, which comes with two items. She selected the small Olga salad, a Greek-like salad and the spinach pie, which all tasted fine. There was enough meat in the meal to share. I first ordered the Roast Beef and Burnt Onion Wrap because cooks really do slowly saute the onions, and I’m a fan of the sweet caramelization that results from the process.

But I changed my mind when I saw a middle-aged East Indian-American woman tackling the roasted veggie pesto sandwich with knife and fork. Glistening and charred chunks of squash, peppers, carrots, red onions and tomatoes spilled out of the rolled Olga bread as the woman cut and ate the dish, patiently savoring every bite. The dish is one of Olga’s newer items.

Service was lackluster. Our server did not appear interested in telling us about the food beyond what was on the menu.

Children’s Surprise Meals include a children’s sandwich or bowl of soup with either french fries, salad or applesauce. Items that have been recently added to the Olga’s menu include the white bean chicken chili, the SLT (salmon, lettuce and tomato sandwich) and the SBLT (salmon, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

Olga’s Kitchen, The Crossroads mall, 6650 S. Westnedge Ave. Phone: 327-1616.

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