Detroit Born and Bread
Olga’s Kitchen: The Story of a Michigan Icon
A Taste of Detroit, Inspired by the Mediterranean
The Olga’s Kitchen odyssey began in the mid-1960’s, when founder, Olga Loizon returned to the Mediterranean to visit her family. It was an opportunity for her and her three small children to get reconnected with their Greek heritage…and in the process, Olga would discover her legacy.
It was a visit to the local market square that inspired what would soon grow into an iconic Michigan brand. Here, Olga’s children first tasted souvlaki, a traditional Greek sandwich of meat and vegetables wrapped in fresh-baked pita bread. Her kids were hooked…and Olga was inspired.
The first step was buying the vertical rotisserie to cook the meat. It had to be authentic. However, in the 60’s, women didn’t typically own businesses and she was refused the machine. But Detroiters don’t give up. So, she gave her uncle the money to buy the machine for her. Soon, Olga, her kids and her new vertical rotisserie were on their way back to Michigan.
The Original Olga® and the Best Bread on the Planet
Back home, Olga began to recreate the savory delicacy her children fell in love with in Greece, with one important improvement—the bread. Olga felt the bread in the Mediterranean was a bit grainy and dry. She knew she could do better. For two years, Olga rolled and kneaded, baked and balanced, tasted and tested, until finally, she had created the Best Bread on the Planet.
With her secret recipe Olga bread in hand, Olga layered it with seasoned beef and lamb, vine-ripened tomato, sweet onion, and her homemade Olgasauce®—and the classic culinary delight known as the Original Olga® was born.
One Simple Taste®
It was now 1970, and Olga was ready to share The Original Olga® with the world. But she wasn’t sure how.
As luck would have it, while shopping at the fondly remembered Continental Market in Birmingham, Michigan, Olga walked past a “wooden shoe” store that was closing. She stopped. She didn’t want any wooden shoes, she wanted the 10 x 10 space. After securing a loan at her local bank, the first woman to ever achieve that small feat, Olga was in business.
But as some of her naysayers had predicted, no one knew what an Olga was and there was simply no demand for something no one had ever tasted before. Thinking quickly, Olga handed out some free Olga samples to passersby. With one simple taste, Olga had transformed the “unknown and unwanted” into the “celebrated and sought-after.”
It’s Not a Sandwich—It’s an Olga!
When you start with the Best Bread on the Planet, you quickly discover that you can “Olga” just about anything, and Olga did. From chicken to ham, veggies to turkey, everything tasted better wrapped in Olga Bread.
Next, she added now-classic side dishes—The Olga Salad®, Spinach & Cheese Pie, Peasant Soup, and everyone’s favorite, Olga’s Snackers®.
The demand grew and grew. Suddenly, Olga’s went from a single 10 x 10 location to a chain of restaurants throughout Michigan and a family favorite. Olga Loizon has achieved her goal.
Still Making Memories, Your Taste Buds Can’t Forget.
Today, Olga’s Kitchen is owned by TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants and boasts over 25 locations and an expanded menu. All the classics that made Olga’s famous are still here, plus a variety of new entrees infused with bold flavors, made fresh daily and served on our famous Olga Bread.
Our fearless founder, Olga Loizon, died in January of 2019, but her pioneering spirit lives on with the continued innovation of our Limited Time menu offerings and with the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation. Click here for more information on the Olga A Life Wrapped In Love Foundation.