A little boy who grew up exploring farmer’s markets with his mother and a love for olive oil and fresh herbs was born. Growing up in Provence, up on a hill above Cannes and St. Tropez, FIG & OLIVE founder Laurent Halasz took his passion for the finest ingredients and started a tasting kitchen in NYC. That was 13 years ago.
Cut to a five-city expansion in the U.S. (L.A., Newport Beach, Chicago, D.C. & Houston), FIG & OLIVE has brought the fresh, elegant and uncomplicated recipes of Provence and the coastal regions of Italy and Spain, to the plates of guests who visit the brand.
Launching in Washington D.C. in June of 2015, FIG & OLIVE had a very successful beginning as a favorite resident in City Center. Within three months of opening, the brand outsourced some of the sauces and dressings for the D.C. location and then received every restaurants nightmare…contaminated product. With no way of testing the product ahead of time, several people took ill with salmonella.
With this the restaurant closed for six days and threw out any and all food in the building. The entire restaurant was deep-cleaned and they started from scratch.
Being a business owner myself, I’ve always run with the motto “if you fail, fail fast, then get back up” (as it is BOUND TO HAPPEN) and that’s what FIG & OLIVE did when they reopened and maintained the support of early on guests and increased the volume each year with new visitors, taking no guest for granted.
Reopening, a new executive chef stepped in cultivating their seasonal menu which changes 3-4 times a year. (i.e. butter squash in the fall/winter and pea and watermelon in the summer).
FIG & OLIVE not only provides a clean, fresh aesthetic all around, but also an event space. They harbor a 10,000 square foot area with two floors and can host up to a 400-person reception for a full restaurant buyout. For smaller events you may reserve the entire second floor for a 225-person event. BUT! A favorite space is the “White Room.” This completely private room is on the second floor and is glass enclosed and lined with rosemary. The space overlooks City Center. It can seat up to 65 guests or a 70-person reception. Inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every day after work is their daily Aperitivo and Happy Hour, which is a ritual the establishment has become known for. From 4pm-7pm daily, where you can join them in a buzzy vibe and escape from your hectic day. Every weekend-evening they have live DJs that will remind you of spending an evening on the French Riviera. New Year's Eve at FIG & OLIVE they host their an annual “White & Gold” party that has become the way to ring the new year in for DC.
FIG & OLIVE values their employees and it certainly shows. Creating a positive work environment and being aware that restaurant work can be challenging and requires sacrifice, the brand believes in making the work place an arena where their employees want to be. The senior staff, along with some amazing servers, have been in the City Center location since its opening four years ago.
With its history of the creation, mission, along with the residency/resiliency in the D.C. area, it is no wonder that entering into its 5th year, the District is experiencing the “time of FIG & OLIVE.”
Creative Direction: Nora Lee by Brandt Ricca
Photography: Brady Scot Photography
Balloon Décor: All About Balloons
Wardrobe Styling: John Perry-Miller
Dresses provided by Ella Rue
Suits provided by Paul Stuart
Venue: FIG & OLIVE