Stanford staple cafe Olives to reopen on the first day of classes

Sept. 25, 2022, 9:53 p.m.

With the new school year already here, the first day of classes also brings back a Stanford classic: The beloved cafe Olives reopens Monday and is here to stay for the year, serving sandwiches and more to students in the morning and for lunch.

For students unfamiliar with the cafe, Olives is a breakfast and lunch spot located in the basement of Wallenberg Hall at the intersection of Jane Stanford Way and Lasuen Mall. The cafe serves hot sandwiches, soups and more. The youngest three classes of Stanford undergraduates along with many transfer students have likely not had food from Olives as a result of its closure in 2020.

The cafe will be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a spokesperson.

Students recalled the cafe as a convenient eatery, both for its location near classes and for accepting dining dollars, that had a great atmosphere to boot.

Despite campus opening for in-person classes during the 2021-22 academic year, Residential & Dining Enterprises spokesperson Jocelyn Breeland said the cafe remained closed due to “construction work in that part of the Quad and staff shortages, which have been experienced by R&DE and many employers nationwide since the pandemic.” 

The return has been long awaited: Breeland said R&DE is “thrilled to reopen Olives as a great student dining option in the Main Quad” and the team “missed seeing students there and are looking forward to welcoming them again.” 

Breeland added that R&DE is excited to debut the menu, which includes “a variety of freshly-made sandwiches, salads and a different hot entrée daily.” 

Some key dishes will feature “global flavors,” such as the Chimichurri Herb Crusted Salmon. There are also vegan options, including Creamy Pumpkin Sage Pasta and a meze plate with dolmas, quinoa tabbouleh, sauteed garlic broccolini and pita. 

The cafe will have monthly specials beginning in October, according to Breeland. In the upcoming months, students can look forward to butternut squash soup with coconut cream, an Octoberfest beer pretzel and specials for Diwali and Dia de los Muertos.

While students are constantly creating new traditions and things at Stanford are always in flux, the return of Olives for many means getting a taste of what was. 

Lina Fowler ’22 M.S. ’23 described the excitement from upperclassmen when they heard the news: “I think all us pre-pandemic students can collectively agree that Olives was an elite spot to spend meal plan dollars,” she said. “As soon as the reopening was confirmed, I blasted it on my Instagram and was flooded with reactions about it.”

She’s most excited to be “reunited” with The Quad, a sandwich with ​​pulled pork, ham, bacon, swiss cheese, dill pickles and ailoi “160” on a torta roll, with extra pickles.

Joseph Zhang ’24, who matriculated in 2019, said he had fond memories of his time at the cafe, including swinging by with his friends after his Korean class in Pigott Hall, a short four minute walk away.

“Olives was always really packed with people in long lines, so we would anxiously wait to see if we could get our sandwiches before we needed to go to our next classes,” he said. 

Kyla Figueroa ‘24 is a Vol. 260–262 Managing Editor for The Grind and a staff writer for Arts & Life. She is a junior from Stockton, California studying English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and minor in CSRE. Ask her about the indie rock and pop music scene, the coming-of-age genre, and Slaughterhouse-Five at kfigueroa ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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