Longtime Austin executive chef James Holmes will close Olivia on October 9. The fine dining restaurant opened in 2008 and was a member of that second wave of farm-to-table restaurants that opened last decade. The restaurant earned a Top 10 Best New Restaurant from Bon Appétit in 2009 and received a glowing review from former Statesman restaurant critic Mike Sutter in 2009. To get a sense of what that stretch of South Lamar looked like when Olivia opened: the restaurant’s neighbor was a newsstand specializing in adult magazines and videos.
The restaurant may have been best known for its Southern comfort weekend brunches, which served corned beef hash, shrimp and grits and, my go-to, the Willie Nelson, a six-ounce chicken fried steak with red-eye gravy, two fried eggs, herb smashed potatoes, served with a green salad and buttermilk dressing.
“Olivia has been here to watch the neighborhood, and Austin, change over the years,” Holmes said. “What I’m most proud of is our loyal neighborhood customers and to have watched our cooks go on to do great things both in Austin and around the country.”
After the closure, Holmes, who also owns Lucy’s Fried Chicken, will transition Olivia into a new concept, about which he says he will have details soon.
Olivia is open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday & Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. and for brunchon Saturday from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. thru October 9.