The owners of Southwark and Ambra are ready to start serving at their third Queen Village restaurant. Olly, which they’re describing as a casual neighborhood restaurant and bar, opens at 5th and Bainbridge on Tuesday, April 9.
Executive chef Chris D’Ambro says he and Marina de Oliveira are adding Olly to their lineup to offer the neighborhood what they don’t have at their two other eateries: a more family-friendly vibe, a more versatile menu that works for a snack or a full dinner, a bar with TVs, brunch, and...ketchup.
The prices at Olly are lower than at Southwark, with a menu of small plates with lots of vegetable options, like fried baby artichokes and a cheese ball with a walnut-herb crust served with crackers, along with updated American classics like a cheeseburger with fries and fried chicken with hot sauce. To compare, he says, the Southwark burger has Birchrun Hills Farm’s blue cheese, so no ketchup is allowed (it would be disrespectful to a local cheese legend). The Olly version is a more traditional cheeseburger with aged cheddar and shredded lettuce.
More than half of the offerings are vegetarian or can be made vegetarian. There’s also a kids menu and desserts including a root beer float with Appalachian Brewing’s root beer out of Lancaster.
To drink, Olly has 15 taps for beer, wine, sherry, cold brew, cocktails, and that root beer, plus bottles of beer and wine. Like at Southwark, the cocktails go well beyond the basics — look for one with sherry, rhubarb syrup, and citrus, and a gin, rosé, and rose syrup combo.
D’Ambro’s brother, Joseph, who built out Ambra, renovated Olly’s space at 700. S. Fifth Street, most recently Whetstone Tavern. He gave it a light, airy feel with a modern farmhouse vibe, with shades of grey and pops of brighter color. As before, the dining room is lined with big windows on two sides. The bar now has a corner nook with high-top tables.
Like Ambra/D’Ambro, Olly is a play on Oliveira.
Jeremy Gross, who spent time at Southwark and Ambra as well as Bistro la Minette and Jose Garces’ restaurants, is the chef de cuisine. The pastry chef is Russell Johnson, who has been at Southwark since it opened (previously La Colombe, Osteria, Lacroix, and Talula’s Garden).
Olly is open for dinner to start, Sunday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 pm. to 11 p.m. The bar will stay open later, depending on how busy it is. Outdoor seating and happy hour will be added soon, and then brunch.
D’Ambro and de Oliveira are also opening Gigi Pizza at the same address. That one will be more of a takeout spot with some seats and a menu of Neapolitan-style pies, sandwiches, and wood-fired wings, plus alcohol. It should open sometime in the next two months.