This story is part of Tri-Cities Best, a viewer-driven segment of News Channel 11’s community coverage. Your votes placed The Black Olive as the Tri-Cities’ Best Italian Food, among several finalists also chosen by viewers:
- Bella Vita
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Black Olive has been serving the Tri-Cities for nearly the last two decades.
Co-owners Kinsey Holliday and Moe Farrouki started the business as Primo’s in Elizabethton 17 years ago. Just a few years after starting, they expanded to Jonesborough and changed to what is known today as The Black Olive.
Bringing authentic Italian food and flavors to the Tri-Cities is the goal of The Black Olive. Everything from the food to the drinks is served with care, passion and hard work.
Holliday said that the Spicy Bowtie Chicken is a fan favorite, but there’s plenty on the menu for everyone.
“We’ve got awesome lasagna, baked cheese tortellini and we’ve got great Philly’s,” Holliday said. “People that are actually from up north tell us, ‘you have the best Philly cheesesteak.'”
There’s a piece of Italy in several towns in Northeast Tennessee. The Black Olive has locations in Johnson City, Jonesborough and Elizabethton. The Johnson City location is the newest location of the three, and it’s located on Main Street.
The Johnson City location has about a year under its belt. Holliday said there wasn’t originally a plan to expand, but the Main Street location seemed like it’d be a perfect fit for the business.
At all three locations, Holliday said they emphasize the customer experience.
“We try to do our best every day and improve things and get customer feedback,” Holliday said. “We really care what their experience is.”
Farrouki said that it’s an honor to be recognized by the community that he serves and to be voted the Tri-Cities Best. That does not mean that the hard work stops, however. He said that they’re going to continue to provide the best possible food and experience for customers.
“It makes me so happy, but it adds more responsibility,” Farrouki said. “We need to keep working harder and harder to keep it the way it is.”
Both Farrouki and Holliday spoke very highly of their staff as well. They said The Black Olive would not be in this position without the hard work and dedication of their staff.
Holliday said that they’re working to expand their catering service to be able to reach more people in the area.