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Oliver's Public House

In a word: Oliver's café is here to stay. (JM's glad we got an Elvis Costello reference worked in to an 'In a Word' before #1000.)

The specs: #00996   
2540 University Ave., 53705
Details at Yelp, official web site, Facebook, Twitter

Latest Oliver's Public House news and reviews

JM ate the ham and cheese sandwich with a side of frites.
Nichole ate the Big Island breakfast with a grapefruit juice.
The bill was $36, or $18/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Oliver's Public House an A- (see our grading rubric).

Oliver's Public House is a stereogram with one eye focused on Food Fight's sleek aesthetics, with the other squarely aimed at Underground's farm dynamics and menu building. This works quite well, if it is a little pricier than one might expect.

We went to lunch on a Saturday and the place was not packed. When planning our visit, we'd been considering Oliver's child-friendliness - and did see two happy toddlers during our visit, as well as high chairs - but the menu is only so-so for the short set, and a tantrum would have been loud given all the flat surfaces.

Nichole opted for brunch and got the Big Island Breakfast which came with sausage (lamb: sweet + savory) and gravy (mushroom).  She also got two poached eggs, barley, and a pinch of greens dressed in light vinegar b/w carrot and radish slices.  The flavors on the plate were diverse and synergistic.  The presentation and preparation were very nice and filling, always a good metric for a place more interested in flavors than calories.

Big Island Breakfast

JM got a ham and cheese sandwich. Really? Yup. With some nice fries. The mustard was a nicely balanced whole grain. The ham was tender, without being too damp, and the cheese had the right degree of texture and body. It came with a peppercorn ranch (which mostly ended up on the fries). This had a nice herbal note, betraying none of the chemical brightness of obnoxious bottled ranch dressings.  The ciabatta was firm enough, and pretty tasty.

Ham and cheese

This was Super Bowl Saturday, and a sign indicated that on Sunday they'd be "closed at 3pm in observance of the Super Bowl." This nicely captures the whole enterprise. Cheeky and an upstart? Sure. Knows where its priorities are? Absolutely. We'll be checking in again.


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Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

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