Detroit Born and Bread
Olga’s Kitchen: The Story of a Michigan Icon
A Taste of Detroit, Inspired by the Mediterranean
The Olga’s Kitchen odyssey began in the mid-1960’s when Detroit-resident and founder Olga Loizon returned to the Mediterranean to visit her family. She and her three small children wanted to reconnect with their Greek heritage. In the process, Olga would discover her legacy.
A visit to the local market square inspired what would grow into an iconic Michigan brand. Here, Olga’s children first tasted souvlaki, a traditional Greek sandwich of meat and vegetables wrapped in fresh-baked pita bread. Her kids were hooked…and Olga was inspired.
In her quest to buy an authentic vertical rotisserie to cook the meat, Olga was refused because women didn’t typically own businesses in the 60's. As we know, Detroiters don’t give up so Olga gave her uncle the money to buy the machine for her. Olga, her kids and her new vertical rotisserie were then on their way back to Michigan.
The Best Bread on the Planet™
Back home, Olga recreated the savory delicacy her children fell in love with in Greece with one important improvement—the bread, which Olga found grainy and dry. For two years, Olga rolled and kneaded, baked and balanced, tasted and tested, until finally, she had created the Best Bread on the Planet. Olga layered her secret recipe with seasoned beef and lamb, vine-ripened tomato, sweet onion, and her homemade Olgasauce®. The classic culinary delight known as the Original Olga® was born.
It’s Not a Sandwich—It’s an Olga!
Olga was now ready to share The Original Olga® with the world. In Birmingham, Michigan's Continental Market, Olga walked past a wooden shoe store that was closing. Its 10 x 10 space was perfect. After securing a loan at her local bank, the first woman to ever achieve that small feat, Olga was in business.
Initially, no one knew what an Olga was so Olga handed out free samples to passersby. With one simple taste, Olga had transformed the “unknown and unwanted” Original Olga into the “celebrated and sought-after” classic now enjoyed by the masses. Suddenly, Olga’s went from a single 10 x 10 location to a chain of restaurants throughout Michigan serving Olga's, The Olga Salad®, Spinach & Cheese Pie, Peasant Soup, and everyone’s favorite, Olga’s Snackers®.
Today, Olga’s Kitchen is owned by TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants and boasts over 25 locations and an expanded menu.
Olga’s Kitchen also supports our local communities and organizations. When reviewing fundraising opportunities, we look for organizations that strengthen families; support a safe, nurturing environment for children; highlight student academic achievement; and provide programs and services that benefit the public.
To get started, fill out our simple application and submit your date.
Once your fundraiser is approved, you can spread the word by downloading a customizable flyer that you can distribute in person, through email, on Facebook or any other creative approach (just not on Olga’s Kitchen premises—please see Guidelines for complete details). Together, we will create a fun and fantastic fundraiser, where everyone is a winner!
Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation
Olga persevered through every obstacle to create one of metro Detroit’s most iconic restaurant concepts. Our fearless founder, Olga Loizon, died in January of 2019, but her pioneering spirit lives on.
In honor of Olga Loizon and her legacy, TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants and Olga’s Kitchen have founded the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation. The foundation focuses on entrepreneurial women who would be unable to attain the resources necessary to start a business or otherwise continue with their business development.