Italian restaurant Oliva was founded on the idea of making food “with love, not out of a can,” co-owner Cynthia Loeb said.
Cynthia and her husband, Justin Loeb, moved to Fort Worth nine years ago to be closer to family, bringing with them a passion for restaurants.
Cynthia has managed eateries in New York City and Switzerland, and opened Old Hickory Steakhouse at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. Justin began working in restaurants in high school and owned a wine business in New York City, where he met Cynthia.
Backed with decades of experience in food and wine, the Loebs launched Oliva in 2010 after finding a restaurant space on Craigslist. The spot formerly housed an Italian eatery, and the Loebs decided to use their restaurant expertise to continue serving the cuisine in Northeast Fort Worth.
Cynthia and Justin aim to set their restaurant apart by offering authentic, made-to-order dishes using fresh ingredients. The restaurant hand-cuts its produce, and each sauce has its own saucepan.
“We hand-cut all of our lettuce; we grate our own carrots. It just makes a difference,” Cynthia said.
Cynthia oversees front-of-the-house duties for the restaurant, including bookkeeping, accounting, scheduling and paying bills. Justin takes care of back-of-the-house duties, such as kitchen operations, maintenance and shopping for ingredients.
The Loebs used their model and made-to-order mentality from Oliva to open Elote Mexican Kitchen in 2013.
Located at 12584 N. Beach St. across from Oliva, the Loebs’ second eatery offers tacos, burritos, salads, enchiladas and other Mexican dishes.
At both restaurants, customers can also customize any dish on the menu.
“The neighborhood dictates what we serve. We’re here to make them happy,” Cynthia said.