Ypsi’s newest restaurant, Cafe Ollie, will be celebrating its grand opening in Depot Town on Tuesday, February 1. The Cafe, which has actually been open for about a week now, is owned by Ypsi locals Danielle Scherwin and Mark Teachout. The festivities are scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM, with bands playing at about 8:00. As of right now, the lineup includes Swimsuit, Jason Ajemian, Hush Arbors, and Danny Kroha. It should be a good time, assuming people aren’t scared off by the the snowpocalypse we’re told is coming our way.
I’ve yet to eat there, but I’ve heard good things though the grapevine, and, given their focus on vegetarian and vegan fare, I know they’ve already got a number of enthusiastic supporters. (They’ll be serving meat dishes as well.) Here’s wishing them all the best.
Oh, and in addition to coffee, food and ice cream, folks will be able to buy the work of local musicians at Cafe Ollie. A group calling itself the Ypsi Music Shelf Entertainment Distro Transnational Consortium has taken over a shelf in the cafe, from which they will be offering, “a pretty sick cross-section of self-releasing artists and low-to-the-ground friends & neighbors.” Among others, they’ll be selling works on the Life Like label, Ginko Records and Kuma Tapes. (If you’d like to find out about consignment opportunities, leave your email in the comments section, and I’ll make sure someone gets back to you.)
The photos you see accompanying this post are of the shelf in question, which, I expect, could grow, if people actually start buying merchandise. It’s not a perfect solution to the problem of not having a local record store, but it’s a great, creative step in the right direction, and I’d very much like to see it work out for everyone involved… So, if you’ve still got a few bucks after you buy that Faygo, think about picking up a single, OK?
OK, there’s one more thing I wanted to share with you. The following review of Cafe Ollie was written by a vegetarian friend of mine who ate there today.
Like any new business, they’ll have to work out their kinks and put a “system” in place. We paid when we ordered, but had to ask to do so, then, when we were leaving, the guy said, “so are you ready to pay now?”
I got the VLT (vegan bacon, lettuce, tomato, with vegan mayo on sourdough). Dining Partner got the vegan grilled cheese. We split our sandwiches, so that we could each try what the other ordered. We both agreed that the VLT was really good! The vegan bacon had the taste, texture, and saltiness of what we remember bacon to taste like. The bread was soft with a crunchy crust, and the lettuce/tomato tasted fresh and ripe. We both thought, however, that the grilled cheese was lacking. Imagine a large ciabatta roll (almost a bun) with three rectangles of cheese across it and sliced tomatoes. Basically, it was all bun and the cheese wasn’t really melted, although the sandwich was warm when it arrived. We both said out loud, “at least the bun was good”. But when you order a grilled cheese, the name of the sandwich emphasizes, well, cheese, not bun. Hell, I don’t think I’ve ever had a grilled cheese on a bun. More cheese, more melted, and smaller bread would help this sandwich become as awesome as we had hoped. Both sandwiches came with a pickle spear and a pile of chips.
I’ve read complaints about Jazzy Veggie in Ann Arbor that criticize it for having store-bought ingredients put together on a sandwich. Even though I don’t necessarily agree 100% with that opinion, I worry that Cafe Ollie might get the same complaints until they expand their menu and make better use of that huge kitchen in the back. The drink menu is too limited: coffee drinks or Faygo. We understand this is a new restaurant and they will be expanding their menu (worker-guy explained that), but wouldn’t you want to hit it out of the park from the get-go?
They have several baked goods (cookies and cupcakes, including vegan varieties of both), coffee by the pound for sale, and homemade side dishes. I bought a vegan chocolate chip cookie to go, but I haven’t tried it yet.
Regarding the decor, it’s way too dark and has a kind of dirty, grungy feel to it. I wish they had brightened it up and made it cleaner feeling!
In conclusion, the VLT was good, the prices are very reasonable, and the staff attentive and polite. I will give it another chance for morning coffee, then again when they expand their menu in a few weeks and grow into themselves a bit.
[note: They will be closed all day tomorrow, in preparation for Tuesday's grand opening.]