Olive’s Grill: good food served with love

By Susan Gibbs

George Kasidiaris’ first love was work.

Laura, George and Olivia Kasidiaris of Olive's Grill in Ruckersville

He worked as a child in his native Greece and hit the ground running when he immigrated to this country and landed in New Jersey.

“I was 17,” Kasidiaris recalls. “I got a job in a factory, stayed there for about a year and a half, and then went to Chicago to visit a cousin.”

In Chicago Kasidiaris found his calling, working as a prep cook in a five-star restaurant, then as a cook when he returned to New Jersey, and again when he moved to Virginia in 1975.

The food service business had given him the opportunity to indulge another of his loves – the one he has for people.

“I enjoyed myself, and I saved my money,” he smiles.

Kasidiaris bought his first restaurant in Petersburg, and then sold it, banked the money, and went back to work, only to buy another and selling that before buying yet another – the Omega Restaurant in Harrisonburg — where he served American, Greek and Italian food, and found yet another love.

When he met his wife there on Valentine’s Day it was love at first sight.

“We were married within months,” smiles Laura, with whom he had daughter Olivia, for whom Olive’s Grill is named.

“When I was a baby my mother called me her little Greek olive,” Olivia beams.

The Kasidiaris family moved across the mountain about eight years ago. George became a partner in the Skyline Restaurant on US 29 North in Ruckersville, and then, about four years ago, sold his interest to establish what he says might very well be his last restaurant.

Ferrell Mercer of Madison is a frequent customer at Olive's Grill

Now, Olive’s Grill at 8839 Seminole Trail (US 29 South) in Ruckersville is a family affair: George cooks, Laura keeps the books and sometimes, Olivia says, she does dishes.

Customers come for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from in county and out.

For breakfast, they might have an omelet, or eggs any style with pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, ham, country ham, bologna, pork tenderloin, or country fried steak, hash browns or a sandwich.

“A friend recommended Olive’s Grill,” says Hope Arrington of Ruckersville, who was there recently with family members. “The food is good, the service is good and the prices are reasonable.”

Ferrell and Debby Mercer of Madison also stopped by recently on their way to Virginia Beach to feast on omelets, sausage and grits – and not by chance.

“I order my lunch here often,” says Ferrell, who favors Kasidiaris’ Reuben sandwich and orders it to go, to eat at his office.

The lunch menu also features a variety of meat, poultry, fish, cheese and vegetarian sandwiches along with specialty sandwiches like Olive’s Club, a gyro, chicken souvlaki, and the Reuben. Customers can also enjoy food hot off the grill, like hot dogs and hamburgers, grilled cheese and fresh made salads.

For dinner, Olive’s Grill offers a New York Strip, country fried steak or a hamburger steak; shrimp, in a basket, pop corned or butterflied; honey dipped chicken or chicken tenders; a center cut pork chop; or fried flounder. Pasta offerings include spaghetti with marinara sauce, with meatballs, or baked, alone or with chicken or meatballs, and chicken parmesan.

Sides – potato and macaroni salad, coleslaw, green beans applesauce mashed potatoes, French fries and mashed potatoes – are homemade.

There’s a kid’s menu, for children 10 and under, that includes chicken tenders and popcorn chicken, grilled cheese and hot dog, all with fries.

Ronnie Acosta, George Kasidiaris and Rafael Hernandez do the cooking at Olive's Grill

And it’s all made with the love that is so much a part of Kasidiaris, though over the years the order of his loves has changed.

“Family comes first,” he smiles, “then people, and then work.”

He is blessed, he adds, because it all comes together at Olive’s Grill.

Posted in: Features

Leave a Reply