The Olive Tree Italian Family Restaurant was a concept inspired by the owner’s childhood home on the family olive grove and vineyards. Growing up with the freshest local ingredients and making their own olive oil and wine, Nick Hapsis knew he wanted to share that kind of unique dining experience. He and his wife, Kaliopi, started on their venture of making his dream a reality.
Aberdeen, Md. is where it all began in 1992. When it opened at 1005 Beards Hill Road, The Olive Tree was a modest affair – 10 bar stools and 8 booths – a far cry from a corporate-like setting. Nick and his wife spent seven days a week, 16 hours a day at the restaurant making sure that every guest had a great dining experience. The restaurant quickly developed a reputation among its patrons for offering fresh-made pasta, homemade authentic Italian dishes and phenomenal seafood the locals love. Today The Olive Tree has widely expanded and now even offers a bustling catering carryout called “The Olive Tree 2go!”
If you find yourself in the Maryland area, looking for an Italian restaurant with fresh produce and local seafood, you must stop by one of The Olive Tree Italian Restaurants. The menu embodies The Chesapeake Bay’s regional influence with the ingredients and comforting feel of an Italian kitchen. Everything is made from scratch, from the wide variety of savory sauces and one-of-a-kind signature dressings to the pasta and piping-hot breadsticks.
“We learned the importance of making everything fresh from scratch from an early age,” explains Mindy Hapsis, daughter of the founders. “My siblings and I all had our first job as The Olive Tree Pasta Makers. We learned how to make pasta using the pasta machine, which was in the lobby and on display for guests to see. People still recognize us as the little kids at the Olive Tree!”
The privileged coastal locations in Maryland makes fresh seafood readily available. Olive Tree has fresh seafood and ingredients delivered every single day. Even its produce is local and often from Harford County locals’ favorite, Hopkins Farm.
Some of the restaurants’ most popular dishes have a direct link to their geographic location. “Maryland is famous for its amazing seafood culture,” Hapsis says. “Our Jumbo Lump Crabcakes are one of our most popular offerings. They are all lump and no filler, which is our way of saying they are loaded with crabmeat and no breading. They are so popular that we ship them all over the United States.”
The unlimited breadsticks are made on premises and the salad dressing is homemade. The Olive Tree Italian Restaurants’ owners have made quality, freshness and guest satisfaction the cornerstone of their business for the last 20 years. The owner explains that “using authentic Italian recipes, insisting on the freshest meat, fish and poultry, using the highest-quality local ingredients in each dish, and giving heaping portions of all of our dishes has been our commitment to loyal guests.”
The Olive Tree offers a “10 Under $10” menu on Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., that includes selections like shrimp pasta, oven-baked pizza and Tuscan chicken, to name a few. But that is not all you will get – the entrees are accompanied by unlimited fresh salad and homemade breadsticks.
The Olive Tree is also widely known for its freshly made sangrias. Locals love to enjoy all sangrias such as the bestseller, White Peach Sangria, at only $4 a glass everyday. Half-priced appetizers and half-priced drinks can be enjoyed during Happy Hour, Monday through Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The Olive Tree restaurants have newly completed renovations to commemorate the “20 Years & Counting” anniversary. They will be able to accommodate their growth due to guest demand for reservations and significant population growth in Aberdeen. “There are tens of thousands of families relocating to the area for Aberdeen Proving Grounds,” Hapsis explains. “So our guest base has increased tremendously in addition to our loyal patrons.”
The company’s catering service is designed for guests who want to serve and enjoy the quality and freshness of The Olive Tree at a special event, such as a wedding, a company party or any other social gathering.
“Catering has become a huge aspect of what we offer.” Hapsis says. “We just introduced delivery for orders over $200 due to the high demand. We match up every tray ordered with a complimentary tray of our fresh salad and a tray of homemade breadsticks.”
The party platters have a wide selection of entrees: blackened chicken alfredo over homemade pasta, shrimp and crab penne, homemade lasagna, and fresh eggplant parmigiana, to name just a few.