From Local Favorite to Magnolia Network Makeover — Olives Restaurant is a Blend of Elegance and Local Charm

In the heart of East Grand Rapids’ Gaslight Village, Olives Restaurant has undergone a Magnolia Network makeover that promises to elevate more than just aesthetics for this local favorite.

By Brandi Koloski

Photography by Dean Van Dis

Row of unupholstered Brooke Chairs with Orbit Tables.

In the heart of East Grand Rapids' Gaslight Village, Olives Restaurant has undergone a Magnolia Network makeover that promises to elevate more than just aesthetics for this local favorite. Beloved for its delectable cuisine and warm atmosphere, Olives recently reopened its doors after a three-week renovation period led by local designer Jean Stoffer — the result is a new space that exudes warmth, sophistication, and a touch of urban chic. The restaurant's transformation journey has been showcased in the season three finale of Jean's Magnolia Network series, The Established Home, adding another layer of excitement to its revival.

A New Chapter for Olives

The driving force of this local favorite? The dynamic duo, Marc and Charlene Montpetit took the helm of Olives last October and embarked on an unexpected journey into their realm of restaurant ownership. Marc and Charlene saw potential where others may have hesitated. With a shared passion for dining out and a discerning palate honed over years of being "professional customers," they seized the chance to breathe new life into Olives.

Driven by a vision to elevate the restaurant's brand to match the excellence of its cuisine. "It was definitely in need of a face-lift," Charlene noted. "The food was already great, but we could elevate the interior to the level of the food." Their vision for Olives was clear – to create a space that felt like an extension of one's own home, where guests could enjoy the comforts of familiarity while indulging in culinary delights. To bring this vision to fruition, they enlisted the expertise of interior designer Jean, whose knack for infusing residential charm into commercial spaces proved to be the perfect fit.

Ambiance of Home

The collaboration between Olives and Jean Stoffer Design stemmed from a shared desire to create a space that felt like a well-appointed, comfortable home. Marc and Charlene's vision aligned seamlessly with Stoffer's expertise in residential design, resulting in a dynamic partnership that aimed to bring a touch of urban sophistication to Olives while retaining its inviting charm.

"We wanted Olives to feel like a cool restaurant you might find in a big city. It has an urban feel as it’s a smaller space. We used rich materials like velvet banquettes and elevated features like interior windows and beautiful decorative lighting." — Jean Stoffer, Jean Stoffer Design

The goal was to transform Olives into a destination dining spot, reminiscent of upscale urban eateries in larger cities. Collaborating closely with Jean, Marc, and Charlene set out to revamp Olives into a haven of intimacy and warmth. They transformed the upstairs area into a series of cozy rooms, each exuding their distinct personalities. From private dining spaces that feature the Sigsbee Fully Upholstered Chairs to a speakeasy-inspired lounge adorned with the sophisticated Merano Armchair, every corner of Olives now flaunts an inviting allure with different moods.

Optimizing Space

While the aesthetics of the space may be the most obvious change in the renovation of Olives, improving the functionality of the space played a large part in design decisions  — particularly in the transition from the bar area to the dining section. Previously, certain tables were often overlooked due to their positioning behind a column in the first-floor dining room, causing service delays and discomfort for diners as their chairs interfered with the bar crowd on game day. As a solution, Jean lined a clever room division with Sally Boltdown Barstools and a drink ledge, increasing the capacity of the bar while allowing diners to relax and enjoy their meal.

Additional enhancements, such as wine lockers and sound masking, further elevated the dining experience. Wine locker memberships became sought-after for their exclusive benefits, while a slatted sound masking ceiling facilitated comfortable conversations without compromising the restaurant's modern charm, as praised by Charlene.

A Local Focus

But the transformation didn't stop there. Marc and Charlene were committed to supporting local excellence in the evolution of the space. From working with local vendors like Grand Rapids Chair for furniture to partnering with locally based construction companies — even sourcing produce from nearby farms, every effort was made to source locally and contribute to the community's thriving ecosystem of artisans and craftsmen.

The furniture from Grand Rapids Chair perfectly complemented the vision for Olives restaurant. "From the start, Marc had selected Grand Rapids Chair for the furniture," Jean noted. With a focus on quality craftsmanship and customizable options, the furniture seamlessly complemented the overall aesthetic of the space while ensuring durability and comfort for patrons.

"[Grand Rapids Chair's] offerings fit our design and function goals perfectly." — Jean Stoffer, Jean Stoffer Design

A Chair With a Mission

Echoing throughout the restaurant dining areas is the Brooke Chair complimented by the upholstered Brooke Barstool along the main bar. Aligning with Olives commitment to supporting charitable initiatives and giving back to the community, the Brooke Seating Family carries a deeper significance through its association with the JDRF. JDRF, or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is an organization dedicated to funding and advocating advancements in type 1 diabetes (T1D) treatments and, ultimately, finding a cure. The connection between the Brooke chair and the JDRF mission adds a layer of purpose and meaning to the furniture choice.

As Olives underwent a full rebrand, the community couldn't help but take notice. What was once a beloved local spot has now become a destination in its own right, drawing patrons from near and far to experience its reimagined charm. Guests are now welcomed into a space that feels like home. Reflecting on their journey, Marc and Charlene are grateful for the chance to breathe new life into Olives. Their passion for creating memorable dining experiences, coupled with a commitment to community, has propelled Olives to new heights. The design process of Olives, captured for the season 3 finale of Magnolia Network's "The Established Home," showcases the design process and thoughtful utilization of space — tune in today to see for yourself!