Within the past few months, you can't walk more than a block or two in the Loop and not bump into a falafel joint. As a Loop worker myself, I've always had a hard time finding great baba gannoush, hummus and especially shawarma. Yet three new places are hoping downtown workers are ready for Jerusalem salad and kebabs as good as those found in Albany Park.
Olive Mediterranean Grill is the brainchild of Faisal Ghani, an entrepreneur who already owns more than a dozen Jimmy Johns in the region. Ghani is from Pakistan, and while Middle Eastern food is not what he grew up eating, he's clearly interested in exposing Loop workers to the bright flavors and vegetarian-friendly items from the Middle East. He's created a fast-casual concept that is geared around freshly-made shawarma, juicy kebabs and falafel that is made from scratch. Olive occupies the back corner of an unremarkable food court at Clark and Lake (think Popeye's and McD's), but I've noticed a regular batch of regulars already lining up by 12 p.m.