As Olives marks its 20th anniversary as a catering and takeout market in Princeton, owner Adam Angelakis is looking forward to serving the community for at least another 20 years.
It goes without saying that the market’s success is based on its dedication to preparing very fresh food with culinary expertise.
But there’s more to it than that, says Angelakis. Appreciating their customers is key, and that means being tuned in to their dining preferences by keeping pace with how they’ve changed and how they’ve stayed the same.
“People eat a lot healthier today,” he says. “They’re buying a lot of vegetables and grains. But people still like dessert, especially our chocolate chip cookies,” he laughs.
Everything the market offers is made from scratch, with the exception of imported specialties from Greece. Because freshness rules, produce is delivered six days a week, and seafood delivered five days a week.
In addition to daily specials, the market offers at least 11 regular hot specials including Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie), Moussaka (Greek eggplant casserole), and hot sandwiches served in a pita or on bread.
The cold sandwiches and hoagies menu includes Olives’ signature chicken salad, grilled chicken with fresh mozzarella on a baguette, and a seafood salad. Standard but popular sandwiches include a variety of meats, cheeses, and tuna. Angelakis is especially proud of market’s soups, with three varieties made from scratch every day.
The market serves freshly made breakfast sandwiches, homemade muffins, and bagels starting at 7 a.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. Saturdays, and 9 a.m. Sundays.
For vegetarians, there are several specials, including a falafel platter, babaganoush in a pita, and a hummus, avocado, and sprout mix in a pita.
Let’s not forget to feed the sweet tooth! The treats include baklava, pecan bars, lemon bars, a special rice pudding, and a variety of homemade cookies, pastries, and brownies.
Custom cakes are made to order. In addition to vanilla and chocolate, choices include carrot, red velvet, and chocolate chip. There are several icings including hazelnut butter cream, mocha, and whipped cream. Filling choices featuring berries, fruit, or creams are too numerous to mention.
The Princeton market was opened in 1995 by Adam and his father, who came to the U.S. from the island of Crete. In 2006 Angelakis expanded the market, tripling its size. With the additional space, they now offer a larger selection of salads and hot dishes, he says.
In addition to the Princeton location, the Angelakis and Verganelakis families own Colonial Farms, a gourmet market in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, which opened in 1985. Run by his brother, Nick, the Washington Crossing facility is where the cakes are baked and decorated.
Favorites among Princeton customers include panini sandwiches; a French baguette with mozzarella, tomato, and basil; and grilled salmon with tomato basil topping. The big favorite among Princeton University and high school students is the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.
Olives is already starting to plan for the holidays, a time when they receive a lot of catering requests. This service is popular year-round, serving corporate events and residential parties.
As a full-service off-premise caterer, they will provide warming dishes, tables, silverware, etc., upon request. Their servers on staff can also help with serving, bartending and clean-up duties allowing hosts to fully enjoy the festivities. Custom menus are also available from Olives’ trained staff.
The Princeton market offers specials that change every day. “But,” says Angelakis, “some things never change: friendly service, and good food, always!”
Olives, 22 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. 609-921-1569. Fax 609-683-8375. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.olivesprinceton.com. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. See ad, page 24.