Downtown Dayton to get new restaurant

A two-time winner of one of's Best of Dayton Food & Dining awards is moving to a vacant space at 44 W. Third Street in the ground floor of the parking garage next to Stop-N-Save Food.

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The owners of the Olive Mediterranean Grill at 6129 N. Dixie Drive in Dayton have signed a lease for about 5,000 square feet of space located on the ground floor of the building at the southeastern corner of West Third and Ludlow streets.

The space used to be home to a food court. Olive Mediterranean Grill expects to open by mid-June or early July.

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Olive, which opened in 2015, won first place in's category for Best Mediterranean/Greek Dining in both 2016 and 2017.

“We know we are going to make it and make it big in downtown,” said Fred Shokri, one of the restaurant’s owners.

RELATED: This AMAZING lunch platter is just one reason to try Olive Mediterranean Grill

Brothers Fred and Mahdi Shokri originally intended to open a hookah bar on North Dixie Drive, but after signing a lease, they were unable to obtain the proper approvals from the city of Dayton to allow patrons to smoke inside.

But instead, they decided to open a restaurant specializing in Mediterranean and Greek food that Mahdi learned to cook from a chef well versed in the cuisine.

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Mahdi, 23, is head chef and handles the bulk of the kitchen and cooking responsibilities. Fred, 33, keeps busy doing everything else associated with running a restaurant.

Some of the main food items include gyros, lamb shanks, sandwiches, kabob platters, falafel, salads, feta rolls, Baba Ganouj and Greek potatoes.

Fred says they always wanted to be in a higher-traffic and busier location like downtown but they had to first learn how to run a successful business and get more experience.

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Olive Mediterranean Grill will retain its menu but might make some tweaks after moving downtown, Fred said.

“We’ll see what’s hot here and what’s not,” he said.

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Fred said Olive was able to build a customer base by having an online presence and getting positive reviews on websites like Yelp.

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