Although born in Chicago, Chef Brian Olenjack is a fun-loving, friendly Texan at heart. He puts tender loving care into every menu item while putting BIG smiles on his customers’ faces. With Brian’s culinary leadership, Olenjack’s Grille has become a valued, admired restaurant in Arlington and North Texas. Brian can either be found guiding his kitchen crew on a busy Friday night, teaching his popular cooking classes, or volunteering his time with local non-profits such as the Boys & Girls Club or The Levitt Pavilion. Here’s a peek into the life of culinary genius (and transplanted local hero), Brian Olenjack.
- Why did you choose cooking and not baseball or ice hockey? I’m much better at creating a meal compared to hitting home runs or scoring goals.
- Do you have kids? Do they love the kitchen as much as you do? I have three boys who mean the world to me. I hope my children choose a career path that makes them happy. I really want them to enjoy food and not be afraid to try something different.
- When you’re not in the kitchen, where can we find you? With my family. I’m either coaching baseball or football, or spending time with my crew. Life is too short and the kids grow up so fast.
- What are two of your most rewarding culinary experiences? When I was invited to the James Beard House in New York City to cook and when I opened my namesake restaurant.
- How do you want your guests to feel when they experience Olenjack’s Grille? I want every guest to feel relaxed and comfortable — just like I was cooking for them in their own kitchen.
- What do you enjoy more? Cooking in the restaurant or holding cooking classes? I’m the most comfortable when I’m cooking in the restaurant. But the cooking classes give me a greater interactive experience with my guests. Many of them have become my good friends.
- Do you think you’d make a good bartender? I’d make a horrible bartender! I would be too busy tasting everything. You would have to call a cab to send me home.
- If you could only choose one, which would you choose? a) Perfect meal b) perfect service or c) perfect atmosphere. At Olenjack’s Grille, you can count on us to provide all three. I’m always looking for the perfect meal! Some of the best food I ever ate came from hole-in-the-wall places.
- Which appetizer, entrée, dessert & beverage on the menu is your favorite? That is a tough one! It’s almost like asking me which of one of my kids is my favorite. If I had to choose, my favorite is the Shrimp & Grits — the combination of flavors brings out the sweetness of the Gulf shrimp. The grilled Lamb Chops are also pretty good.