Author: Chris Speicher
The once rural community of Olney still maintains its small-town charm, but has traded in most of its silos and fields for a growing community that takes its food and wine seriously. The Olney area has seen a real restaurant revival in the past few years, with the redevelopment of the Olney Town Center taking center stage.
In just the last year, places like Taste Mezze, GrillMarX Steakhouse and Raw Bar, and The Winery at Olney have joined the local food and wine scene. In chatting with Joseph McCall, owner of The Winery at Olney, it is clear that entrepreneurs have been drawn to Olney for its sense of community.
“The Olney area has been a wonderful location for our winery. Business has been great ever since we first opened our doors back in September,” said McCall. “We have had the pleasure of meeting so many awesome wine lovers from the area who have come in to enjoy a glass or two, buy bottles to go, have a custom label made, and even make their own wine.”
Olney also boasts one of Washingtonian’s Top 100 Restaurants — the Belgian, mussels-and beer-focused eatery, Mannequin Pis, which has inconspicuously occupied a cozy niche in a strip mall off of Georgia Avenue for over a decade. We can’t get enough of their frisee salad, escargots en croq and mussels mariniére.
The area hasn’t forgotten its farm roots though. Ricciuti’s, which occupies one of the oldest buildings in Olney, is known for their use of locally grown and farm-raised ingredients and operates with this motto: “the true value of food is found in the values of those who raise, farm and catch the food we eat.” Not technically Olney, but just a few minutes north in the picturesque town of Brookeville, The Inn at Brookeville Farms still has a silo and is a great place for special occasions, including events and weddings.
These local gems are all just a few minutes away from area neighborhoods including Fair Hill, James Creek, Hallowell, Oatland Farm and many others, some of which are easily walkable.
The ability to be a part of both a small, quiet community, but reap the delicious benefits of upscale eateries and wine bars, seemingly plucked from more urban-locales, makes the Olney area truly special.