Canal Winchester is getting its very own fast and casual pizza shop. The Olive Branch Coffee & Pizzeria opens today, April 20. The combination cafe and pizza place is located at 5600 Gender Rd. It will be the perfect place for the community to stop for coffee on their way to work and stop for dinner on their way home.
Tamie and Bryan Wallake are self-proclaimed entrepreneurs. Together the husband and wife own several businesses around Canal Winchester. When looking to start a new venture, a friend made a suggestion, but it took a while to grow on Tamie.
“Bryan came over to the office where I was working and said, ‘Okay, I got it. Let’s open a pizza shop!'” she said and laughed. “I’m like, ‘I do not want to open a pizza shop. There’s a dozen pizza shops in town.'”
Since she was not totally sold on the idea of opening up a pizza place, Tamie began to brainstorm all the possibilities. A fervent lover of coffee, Tamie told her husband that they could open his pizza shop on one condition: it would double as a coffee shop.
“It’s just two really great concepts that we just happened to put in the same space,” she said. “I don’t expect people to come in and buy a coffee to go with their pizza.”
However, it soon became very clear to her that this project would turn into much more than kneading dough and grinding coffee beans. The couple also owns Breaking Chains Ranch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those struggling with drug addiction and homelessness. They realized that opening this establishment meant it could open its doors to those in need.
“The concept of a pizza shop became this huge concept of, you know, we’re going to change lives through this,” said Tamie.
The Olive Branch Coffee & Pizzeria gets it name from not only the fresh ingredients used to make their foods but from the symbolism. A universal image of peace, The Olive Branch will also signify a second chance. The Wallakes plan to give job opportunities to those who have had a rough time in life and really just need to catch a break. Whether it be a criminal record from rebellious teenage transgressions or a drug addiction, The Olive Branch can give them a fresh start.
“We just want to help bring peace and reconciliation to hurting people,” said Tamie.
The Olive Branch opened today at 6 a.m. and will remain open until 10 p.m. They will fire up the brick oven for the pizzas at 11 a.m. just in time for lunch.
With a couple signature pies on the menu, the pizzas are made to order. The fast casual pizza approach has grown popular in the last couple years and places following the format are popping up everywhere. The Olive Branch is the first of this variety in Canal Winchester.
For those new to the idea, imagine ordering a pizza the same way you order at a Subway or Chipotle. You get your crust, pick your sauce, pick your toppings, they throw it in the oven for a couple minutes and voilà! Ready to enjoy.
Tamie says she hopes The Olive Branch is the “best of both worlds” when it comes to their pizza. The easiness of ordering a pizza that is ready in a couple of minutes plus the welcoming atmosphere of a family-owned pizza place.
There is ample seating on both halves of the restaurant. Since the cafe and pizzeria are essentially two separate entities, there are two separate seating areas. Of course, patrons are not limited to one side or the other, but The Olive Branch gives customers both a cafe atmosphere on one side and a restaurant dining room on the other.
The Canal Winchester business has created partnerships with two local companies.
Coffee from locally roasted and family owned One Line Coffee will be served all day long. With coffee classics like lattes and mochas on the menu, there is a drink to fit everyone’s taste buds.
Those looking to satisfy a sweet tooth can treat themselves to a cup of gelato from Coppa Gelato. The first place to offer gelato in Canal Winchester, The Olive Branch partnered with the company from Westerville and will offer 12 of their delicious flavors.
The Wallakes own Heaven Sent Children’s Academy, the daycare next to The Olive Branch. Tamie sees the restaurant’s opening as a great opportunity and benefit to the parents of the children at the daycare.
“We have 100 parents that drop every morning, 100 parents pick up every night. So I thought what a great service to our parents,” said Tamie.
The children at Heaven Sent are also getting some experience growing vegetables. Behind The Olive Branch and the daycare sits a new community garden called Heaven Sent Garden. The Wallakes are getting the kids involved in the growing process and teaching them responsibility and how to care for the plants. The veggies grown in the community garden will be given to those in need and used as some of the fresh ingredients in The Olive Branch’s pizzas and sub sandwiches.
Though they are just opening, Tamie thinks that The Olive Branch has a bright future.
“My husband would love for it to grow to other locations, absolutely. He has big plans for that,” she said. “So chances are we will probably have more locations after we rest for a minute.”
But at this moment in time, Tamie is focusing on their current location and taking it one step at a time.
I swung by The Olive Branch yesterday, the day before the big opening, and aside from a few decorations needing to be hung up and a quick run to Gordon Food Services to pick up last minute supplies, the cafe-pizzeria was ready to open its doors.
Want to take a tour before they were open for business? Look at the images below.