DEARBORN — The popular new Dearborn Middle Eastern restaurant Ollie’s held a grand opening celebration Tuesday.
The restaurant, 16351 Ford Road at Mercury Drive, began serving food in late 2007, but hadn’t yet held an official opening ceremony.
Ollie’s has already gained a loyal following of customers. Customers said Tuesday that the food is just plain good.
Owner Ali Hojaij said the restaurant is special because he, himself, is the chef, directly putting his own care into the food and adding his own touches.
“I try every little thing before I serve it,” he said.
He said the menu is based on traditional recipes learned from his Lebanese mother and grandmother, but that he sometimes likes to dig into his collection of cookbooks and add new influences — like topping a traditional chicken dish with a cream of mushroom sauce. “I love food. I love to create… to mix spices.”
The décor of the restaurant includes fixtures and art that Hojaij said represent historic elements of Lebanon. Symbols of Phoenician civilization, Roman-influenced Baalbek, Arab architecture and the cedars of Lebanon fill the dining room.
Hojaij said he believes the restaurant can help fill the gap left by the closing of the well-known La Shish restaurant chain last month.