Welcome to the Olive Cafe. We are the Saleh family and welcome you to enjoy the flavor of the middle east. We hope you enjoy the unique culinary experience we bring to you. The restaurant is run and owned by Mohammed and Rasheed. We love being part of Columbia and hope to bring the best tastes of Arabia to you.
We came to American via Jordan where our family has been for many years. Before that our family came from Palestine. Our journey to Columbia started in the 80’s when our older brother Khalid, came to go to Truman State in the 80’s to study architecture. He married and started to farm and work in the Centrailia area. Our brother loved the land and the people of Mid-Missouri, his children have grown up in Missouri and some have attended MU.
Rasheed came to Missouri in 2001 to work in Centrailia. He worked in the Oscar Mayer Food Craft plant. He met his wife, Saja in 2011 during a trip home to Jordan and they started a family shortly after that. They have two lovely daughters. Rasheed and his wife Saja, love to cook. They bring the flavors of the Middle East to your taste buds.
Mohammed came to Missouri as a high school student in 2003 to learn better English so he could attend college in the US. Mohammed has always been a man of letters and is currently working on his Masters Degree with an eye on a PHd. He came to Centrailia where he was welcomed into a supportive family and community. Mohammed started college in Moberly and got an associates degree in arts. He then moved on to MU where he got a double Bachelors in Biology and Health Science. He is working on his Masters in Health Policy. Mohammed is often working in the restaurant when not in class. He is the business mind behind the Olive Cafe.
Starting a restaurant was second nature to us. The Middle Eastern culture revolves around good food, family and friends. When we first moved to Mid-Missouri we would feed all our friends and acquaintances. They raved at how wonderful our cooking was. We wanted to share the culture and delicacies of our heritage with our new friends and create a place that people could meet and enjoy time together.
We started working for the previous owners of the Olive Cafe but wanted something for ourselves. The old owners had other business and with some kind perseverance we got our dream. Over a 6 month period we negotiated the sale in true Arabian flavor, like a dance. We went from renting to owning and started specializing in dishes we knew people would love.
Over time we have expanded to include grocery, a buffet, delivery and catering services. We offer student discounts and Ramadan specials. Together, as a strong family, we bring you the taste of the Middle East. We hope you enjoy your Olive Branch Experience.