16 Sep

Eat with the olives at mill

By Kristi Eaton,

Del Piero to provide casual grove dining in Queen Creek locale.

Soon visitors to the Queen Creek Olive Mill won’t have to leave the property to taste the homemade olive oil in their favorite foods.
A restaurant, del Piero, is scheduled to open in early November at the mill, owner Perry Rea said.

Rea said he decided to open the restaurant after customers expressed interest in having a place to eat on site.

“We listen to our customers,” he said. “They asked, ‘Where can we eat?’ ”

It will not be a fancy, sit-down restaurant, Rea said, but instead a chance for people to enjoy their food among the groves. Ten picnic tables, each seating eight customers, will sit under a shaded patio, he said.

He said he anticipates serving 100 to 200 customers a day.

Alicia Popple, who graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, is going to run del Piero.

“I think it’s going to be extremely successful,” she said.

The food will be Mediterranean, with the theme “definitely around olive oil,” Rea said.

Popple said the $7 to $10 lunches would include panini sandwiches, salads and samples of olives.

Coffee will also be served, and customers will have the chance to take picnic baskets out into the groves to enjoy a meal among the 1,500 olive trees, she said.

A bruschetta brunch will be offered Sundays.

Popple anticipates 14 to 15 bruschettas to make the menu.

“We have some pretty funky bruschettas,” she said.

Rea said del Piero will feature local products, including meat and gelato.

The restaurant will serve beer and wine starting in January, once a liquor license is obtained, he said.

Customers will be able to “take wine out into the grove,” Rea said. “It’s even romantic.”

The Queen Creek Olive Mill grows and presses extra-virgin olive oil and sells its products in an on-site store and at local grocery stores, such as AJ’s Fine Foods.

The Olive Mill also provides oil to local restaurants Pizzeria Bianco and Elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.

Tours of the mill are given from October to December during pressing season.

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