Our Story

 

We set out to create a fun, lively, and approachable restaurant and bar in our own back yard — a friendly, bustling neighborhood spot where the very best in food and drink would be served in a welcoming setting. We are looking at every single detail to make sure that Olive+Oak will be the perfect place to enjoy great wine, craft beer, well made drinks and thoughtful, ingredient driven food with friends and family.

 

Our philosophy on food is simple. We work tirelessly to source the best ingredients, locally whenever possible (we tend to shy away from local oysters!) In the kitchen, we use solid, old school cooking techniques. We cook from our hearts and never forget who we are cooking for. YOU. We hope you will dine with us often.

 

Mark Hinkle

OWNER

 

Born and raised in Alton, Illinois, Mark fell in love with food at an early age. When he wasn’t terrorizing the neighborhood with his three brothers, he would indulge in his favorite cooking shows featuring the likes of Emeril Lagasse, Jack McDavid and Martin Yan. Never foreseeing a “career” in food, he attended the University of Illinois and pursued a degree in business. To earn a little cash, he worked in kitchens throughout his time in Champaign. After graduating, he made the move to Chicago where he landed a job in banking. Though it all looked great on paper, with one of the greatest restaurant cities in the country at his fingertips, the banking gig didn’t last long.

 

He took his first front of house job working at the perpetually busy Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House. Under the guidance of some of Chicago’s best Maître D's he learned the ins and outs of how to run a great restaurant. While he never lost his passion for the kitchen, he found his true calling in delivering old school hospitality. After stints within Gibsons Restaurant Group, at RL and Gibsons Steakhouse, he earned a spot as General Manager of Hugo’s at the age of 25. In early 2007, Mark and his soon to be wife Jennifer made the move back to St. Louis to tie the knot, start a family, and join what was becoming a very exciting local restaurant community.

 

After acting as General Manager for two restaurant openings, Mark eventually found a home at the Chesterfield landmark, Annie Gunn’s; here he found his niche. His passion for not just the guest, but also food, wine, beer, cocktails and all aspects of the business evolved. In 2015, having fallen in love with the character and charm of Webster Groves, Mark set out to bring something new to the neighborhood his family called home. Determined to create a friendly, bustling spot with thoughtfully prepared food and gracious hospitality, Olive + Oak was born.

Jesse Mendica

EXECUTIVE CHEF

 

Jesse, a Webster Groves native, started in the business at 16 years old working at her hometown favorite, Two Nice Guy's. She quickly realized that along with the fun and excitement of working in a kitchen came great reward and pride. The feeling never left her, and she strives to share her love of playing with food, laughing, and enjoying hard, dirty work with everyone who will listen. She truly believes that when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

 

Prior to leading the kitchen at Olive + Oak, Jesse worked as the Executive Sous Chef at the award-winning Annie Gunn's restaurant known for it’s rustic farm to table fare. Here she developed her own style, using the best possible ingredients to create approachable, tasty food for her guests.

 

In 2007, Jesse joined her team from Annie Gunn's to cook at the prestigious James Beard House, and, in 2012, she burst onto the scene as the only female competitor in the St. Louis Sous Chef Iron Chef Competition. In 2016, after opening Olive + Oak, Jesse was honored by being named a Semifinalist for Best Chef Midwest by the James Beard Foundation.

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