Dining Divas Get Southern Hospitality at Pan D’Olive, Mediterranean Restaurant

The Dining Divas

By Lisa Kampeter

Through the years of the Dining Diva outings, we’ve learned a few things.  Don’t assume when a restaurant advertises happy hour specials that you’ll get to take advantage of them.  If you’re sitting at a table in the dining room and not in the bar, you’re exempt.  I don’t really understand this concept, but it’s happened to us more than a couple times.

Make sure someone in your group orders drinks.  Real drinks.  Oh, and desserts.  I feel like they automatically develop opinions of us if we’re not interested in drinking.  Our waiters tend to be much happier and more attentive when the check total goes up.  And that’s annoying.  There are biases in the customer service industry.

Sometimes bigger doesn’t always mean better.  And by this, I mean our group size.  Some of our best outings have been more intimate of a size.  Years ago, we would consistently have a large group, and I thought I loved it.  But I realized years later, that we each get more out of the evenings when we have smaller groups.  We can tune into all the conversations.  We all get turns to speak.  And we can engage more with our waiters.

This past month, we learned something new too.  The Dining Divas tried out Pan D’Olive, a Mediterranean restaurant on McCausland.  We learned that just because one trendy restaurant fails doesn’t mean another one in the same location is going to.  We’re really pulling for this one.

Our attentive waiter from the Lone Star state so patiently pronounced the name of the restaurant with a well-versed Mediterranean accent and then graciously pronounced it again with his Texan twang.  He had us at howdy.

When we arrived, the place was somewhat desolate; yet we were seated in a stuffy corner.  When we left, business was booming.  It seems like we missed out on the experience of the restaurant perhaps by the timing of our dinner and definitely by our placement.

Determined to succeed, our waiter said the owner would be very accommodating when someone in the group suggested having a “shower” there (wedding or baby, to clarify.  Not of the bathing type.)  Or any type of big group gathering. The restaurant is only open for dinner, but he said they’ve had groups utilize the “party room” in the basement during off hours.

They have outdoor seating that aesthetically is appealing, as well.  As well as a garden in back where they pick ingredients that are used in some of their recipes.

Pan d’olive means olive bread.  We loved soaking up olive oil with the tasty filler.  But we didn’t fill up too much before our meal.  When starting on the green side, the Spinach Salad is a wise choice and enough to share.  It included candied walnuts, cranberries, gorgonzola, and pomegranate vinaigrette.  We also shared Arancini, fried rice balls.  Because so few restaurants offer these, we were excited to try them out.  They did not disappoint.

The Tomato and Basil flatbread would have impressed the Retired Diva more had the crust been crispier.  It still was a good choice.  The Lobster Ravioli with rock shrimp sounded and smelled so good that even the Seafood-Scared Diva considered ordering it.  The Italian Diva thought it was magnifico!  The Shrimp entrée with oregano, garlic, and tomatoes hit the spot for the Health-Conscious Diva.  It didn’t make her feel guilty for indulging on the bread and the appetizers.

The atmosphere this night showed that Pan D’Olive is doing well.  And the southern hospitality of our waiter shone through.  He didn’t even scoff when we didn’t order drinks…or dessert!  Now, if only we could have gotten those happy hour prices in the dining room.  Some day…maybe the restaurants will learn.


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