First Look

First Look: Olivella's Italian Deli in Deep Ellum Pivots to the Lunch Crowd

The Italian Club at Olivella's.
The Italian Club at Olivella's. Doyle Rader
Everyone knows Olivella’s for its pizza. The Dallas-based franchise has been serving up Neapolitan and Roman-style pies since 2006. Since then, it has branched out from its original location across from Southern Methodist University. Its newest site offers something a bit different, though.
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Olivella's in Deep Ellum is open for lunch during the week.
Doyle Rader
Deep Ellum seemed like a sure-fire spot for expansion in September 2022, but it didn’t quite work out that way at first. The late-night crowds clashed with Olivella’s operating hours when it first opened in the ever-growing entertainment district. A rebrand was in order. Pivoting to cater to the lunch crowd, it reopened as Olivella’s Italian Deli a couple of weeks before Christmas.
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There's a nice bar in Olivella's, which still serves its signature pizza and pasta along with a host of sandwich offerings.
Doyle Rader
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, guests will find a spacious interior with a full-service horseshoe bar in the middle of the restaurant. The menu is straightforward and focuses heavily on sandwich options. Make no mistake, you can still get pizza and pasta at this Olivella’s, but hoagies and paninis are the stars of the show here.

All the sandwiches are around $10, which is an extremely approachable price point considering the rising cost of nearly everything. There are eight hoagies to choose from and 11 panini options. Many of the sandwiches are familiar — the Italian Club, Meatball and Chicken Parm — while others, like The Don and the Pinocchio, are loaded.

The Italian Club includes mortadella, ham, prosciutto, capicola, provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion and an herb vinaigrette on a fresh-baked hoagie roll. All the bread is baked in-house daily, and a number of the items on the menu, like Mama’s Meatballs and red sauce, are made from scratch.
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Olivella's has 11 panini options, including this chicken pesto.
Doyle Rader
The Chicken Pesto panini comes with roasted chicken breast, pesto and a deliciously melty house mozzarella. It could use a touch more pesto, but that's a very minor quibble that can be easily remedied to suit anyone’s tastes.

Olivella’s Italian Deli’s straightforward approach to lunch, rather than relying on kitsch, should help it stand out in what is a saturated restaurant scene in Deep Ellum. Given the number of loft and apartment dwellers in Deep Ellum working from home and its proximity to Baylor and downtown, it should attract plenty of eager eaters.

2816 Elm St. (Deep Ellum). Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday.
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