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0910 Olivia's ResturantOlivia's Restaurant and Lounge
Beverly Russell, owner of Olivia’s Restaurant and Lounge in the Inverness area, wanted her third restaurant to give the traditional “meat and three” meal an overhaul. “I didn’t want the look of a steam table set-up like a cafeteria,” says Russell. “I wanted it to be more upscale than that.”
Olivia’s Restaurant and Lounge opened July 23rd in the former Indigo Joes location, and Russell has put her touch on the redesigned eatery. “When I first saw this space, I knew it was too big for what I wanted to accomplish,” explains Russell. “I loved the location and it’s close to my home in Brook Highland, so I made it work.”
A wall was put up, reducing it to a more manageable size for Russell, but leaving the large kitchen. “That kitchen is what I wanted,” Russell explains with a smile.
“That kitchen” is busy Monday through Saturday preparing sandwiches and salads, as well as Russell’s extensive menu of meats and vegetables. “My idea of this place is based on traditional Sunday dinners,” says Russell. “My mom made Sunday dinner the best meal of our week and some of the recipes are hers, while others are recipes I’ve developed through the years.”
Russell’s previous restaurants were on Morris Avenue downtown and most recently near Brookwood Village. After 22 years in the business, she was proud to name this restaurant after her daughter Olivia, also named for Russell’s mother.
Born and raised in Montevallo, Russell gives her mother’s touch to some of her favorites. “I serve my turnip greens with a slice of tomato and onion,” explains Russell. “Customers tell me they remember their mother doing the same thing.”
Olivia’s best selling menu items are the weekday lunch specials. Favorites include country-fried steak, pot roast and pork chops. The pork chops are listed as baked, but can be grilled upon request. Menu specials rotate each day, but always include a choice from four meats and six vegetables. At night, a special of the day remains available in addition to heartier entrees including a New York strip steak and fried or grilled tilapia.
Russell offers a hamburger selection as well for those looking for this classic with fries. “My hamburgers are all handmade with a combination of ground beef and ground chuck,” says Russell. “They have been a big seller because they are so juicy, plus I have a secret recipe!”
If you’d visited the old Indigo Joes, you’ll be impressed with the upscale touch of Olivia’s. Gone are all the televisions and sports logos. A classic, tasteful bar runs the length of the back wall of the dining room now completely redesigned in subtle, earth tones.
Although the sports aura is gone, Olivia’s can still pull in an evening crowd. A bar special is available everyday and Russell believes they make a great martini. “We’ll always have something on the board,” explains Russell. “Recently we had a $3.00 martini night and that was a hit.”
Plans include a live band appearing twice a month to make better use of the outdoor seating. The first band scheduled to appear is “To the Max,” a jazz band Russell thinks her customers will really enjoy.
Russell also caters special events and Olivia’s can host private get-togethers such as birthdays and rehearsal dinners. Olivia’s Restaurant and Lounge open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.