Sesame Collective Restaurant Group Is Opening the Italian-Focused Dolly Olive

The restaurant will highlight simple, high-quality ingredients as well as a gussied-up martini that’s poured tableside at near freezing temperatures.

,Sesame Collective, the restaurant group known for bringing the flavors of Israel, Turkey and Greece to Portland, is traveling to another part of the Mediterranean with its latest venture: Italy.

Dolly Olive, which is the recently formed company’s first new concept, will hold its grand opening on Wednesday, June 29, at 527 SW 12th Ave, the former Bistro Agnes space.

Unlike other Sesame Collective restaurants—like Mediterranean Exploration Company, Shalom Y’all and Yalla, which are all driven by their use of bold spices and creamy hummus accompaniments—this latest project will focus on simple ingredients, though consistently high in quality.

“Our restaurant group was born in the pandemic, and we’ve been able to keep things going and move things forward, which is a testament to our team’s tenacity,” Sesame Collective chef and owner Kasey Mills stated in a press release. “This is the first time we’ve been able to unite our team’s unique talents to create something new. We couldn’t be more excited to open these doors.”

Under the guidance of chefs Mills, Natalie Gullish and Patrick Lynch, the offerings at Dolly Olive will be less about sauces to allow the produce to shine. You can expect a pasta program that produces at least three different rotating noodle dishes, house-baked focaccia that shifts with the seasons, and a wine list that is heavy with Italian varietals. Overall, an early peek at the menu shows that it strikes a balance between imported specialty products from Italy and local ingredients from brands like Cowbell Creamery and Prairie Creek Farm.

Beyond wine, Dolly Olive will serve craft cocktails, bitter Italian sodas and amari, with bar director Bryan Tamayo making it his mission to perfect the martini. In fact, the opening menu will feature one that’s named after the restaurant and comes with a bit of theatrics. The vodka-based take on the drink is made with tarragon dry vermouth, olive leaf fino sherry and pinot noir grappa poured at near freezing temperatures tableside before it’s then decorated with an assortment of housemade garnishes.

After the grand opening, the restaurant will initially be open from 5 to 9 pm Wednesday through Saturday, but eventually expand dinner service to seven days a week. Later this summer, Dolly Olive plans to add an Italian-influenced brunch of pastas, salads and pastries.

Before that can happen, however, Sesame Collective needs to round out its staff at the new location. The company is currently hiring and taking inquiries at jobs@sesamecollective.com.