Fresh, Healthy Mediterranean Bowls Made To Order At Olive U

Fresh, Healthy Mediterranean Bowls Made To Order At Olive U

By Joshua Manning

While fast food is convenient, it’s often unhealthy. Olive U Mediterranean Grill, now open in Wellington, aims to change that. The chain of fast casual restaurants serves fresh and healthy choices, starting with their signature, hand-crafted Mediterranean bowls.

Olive U Mediterranean Grill invites you to “live the fresh life” at its new location on State Road 7 in front of the plaza with Whole Foods Market in Wellington.

Olive U takes fast casual Mediterranean dining to a whole new level, featuring a menu of ingredients to make personalized bowls for lunch or dinner.

“We use top-quality ingredients with no shortcuts,” said owner Abdul Aburmaieleh, who created the concept seven years ago and has plans to expand throughout the South Florida area. “Our culture entails our customer service. People are greeted at the door and feel welcomed. When they taste our food, they are wowed.”

Customers can mix and match from a wide array of flavorful combinations. Olive U specializes in gyros, salads and their signature, hand-crafted Mediterranean-flavored bowls, which start under $12.

When you arrive at Olive U, the first thing you’ll do is choose the base for your bowl from choices such as lettuce, pita, hummus, cinnamon rice, or lentils and rice. Next, you’ll choose your protein from among the seasoned Olive U chicken, chicken shawarma, falafel, beef and lamb gyro, or tofu.

There is also an array of toppings to choose from, such as lettuce, onions, pickles, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, banana or jalapeño peppers, feta cheese, garbanzo beans and Kalamata olives. Finally, choose from among several sauce toppings.

“We use all natural spices. No preservatives. It’s a place where you eat and feel good about it. Healthy food does not have to be boring,” Aburmaieleh explained. “I believe in the concept of garden to table. That is where all of our ingredients come from. We just cut it and serve it.”

Looking for something more? You can add an appetizer to your meal. Choices include hummus, tzatziki, baba ghanoush, spicy feta, falafel, grape leaves and fries. Can’t decide? Put together three to build your own appetizer plate.

After, save room for a piece of sweet, taste-tempting baklava to finish your meal.

With a background in law enforcement, Aburmaieleh owned Mediterranean restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, before moving to Florida in 2014. He created Olive U because the market for Mediterranean food is growing.

“It is very clean and associated with healthy foods,” Aburmaieleh said. “That’s why it is gaining popularity, because you are focusing on what Mediterranean food encompasses, whether it is the olive oil or vegetables.”

Not sure how to put together your bowl? He has a recommendation.

“I love the chicken shawarma or the Olive U chicken with cinnamon rice and the house sauce,” Aburmaieleh said, who also enjoys a side order of hummus with his meal. “Also, I personally think our gyro on pita with the sauce is game winning.”

There are also family meal options and catering available. If you’re looking for a healthy meal to bring home for dinner, the Olive U Family Dinners include a choice of bases and proteins, plus five fresh toppings, and include a hummus and pita appetizer, as well as the signature house sauce — all for just $49.

The restaurant features a crisp, modern look with plenty of indoor seats, as well as a few tables outside in front of the store. Takeout and delivery are available. Cleanliness is a point of pride with Aburmaieleh, as is having a friendly, welcoming staff ready to go above and beyond for customers.

Olive U Wellington is one of five current locations of this growing food concept. There are also two in Boca Raton, one in Delray Beach and one in Palm Beach Gardens.

“I was fascinated by the Chipotle concept, and I wanted to create a similar service with authentic Mediterranean food, which is my background,” said Aburmaieleh, who will be opening a West Boynton location on Hagen Ranch Road this summer before shifting focus to Pembroke Pines, Plantation and Davie in Broward County. “Our four-year plan calls for 17 more stores.”

He is excited about the reception Olive U has received in the Wellington market.

“I love Wellington. I used to live here. Based on the demographics, I knew that Olive U would do so well,” Aburmaieleh said. “We have had nothing but wonderful feedback from customers. It was our best opening.”

He invites everyone who hasn’t been to the store yet to come by and “feel the love.”

“My philosophy at Olive U is always to give the customer the best, high-quality ingredients and never take shortcuts,” he said. “This is how we want to be different. When people hear the name Olive U, they think of three things — quality, friendliness and great food.”

Olive U Wellington is located at 2535 S. State Road 7, Suite 130. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To learn more, call (561) 500-5010 or visit