Olive & Marlowe's gourmet vinegar and oil shop to expand to East Liberty 

The goal is to "give people a chance to taste oil and vinegar the way they do wine"

This is, apparently, a great time to be in the oil business. The olive oil business in particular.

Olive & Marlowe, which offers gourmet balsamic vinegars and olive oils at the Strip District's Pittsburgh Public Market, is poised to join East Liberty's increasingly upscale retail mix. The new location, at 5931 Broad St., will open "in September at the latest," says owner Heather Cramer. (The business bears the names of the Cramers' daughters — and before you ask, "Olive" is a family name.)

"We realized that if we didn't open up a [bricks-and-mortar] shop, someone else would," says Cramer.

Both locations will offer oils and vinegars infused with flavors ranging from Persian Lime to Coconut Mango. All are shipped by a pair of California suppliers: Cramer brings to the table her own field research, and a chance to sample.

For those of us who just buy the olive oil with prettiest peasant girl on the label, a tasting can be revelatory. Even if you do feel silly sipping oil from tiny plastic cups.   

Olives alone come in 1,000 varietals: "They're like apples," Cramer says. And the flavor possibilities increase once Cramer starts blending them — mixing rosemary-infused olive oil with strawberry balsamic vinegar, for example, to make a bright summertime blend.

The goal, says Cramer, is to "give people a chance to taste [oil and vinegar] the way they do wine ... so they know what flavors to look for."

Soon, they'll have a second place to find them.


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