OLIVE & CITRUS Nabil Ayoub

Nabil Ayoub, owner of the Olive & Citrus restaurant, watches his chef and sous chef at work in the kitchen.

Heritage Hall, a Redlands landmark built in 1922 by Seventh-day Adventists, has been transformed into an elegant fine-dining restaurant at the corner of Olive and Citrus avenues. The name of the new restaurant? Olive & Citrus.

Nabil Ayoub, former owner of the Caprice Café on State Street, purchased the building about four years ago, said his partner, Paul Emerson of Emerson & Farrar jewelry a few blocks down the street.

Asked at a soft opening Saturday night how much they have invested in the restaurant, Emerson said, “Plenty.” Ayoub also declined to share the amount. But the shiny copper fixtures and the extensive remodeling of the 4,000-square-foot landmark confirm a substantial investment.

According to the Redlands Historical Society, in 1921 the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s 220-member congregation agreed that their church on East State Street was too small. It bought three lots that form a triangle as Olive Avenue veers southeast across from the Redlands YMCA. The church spent $10,000 to build Heritage Hall with a 500-seat auditorium.

“The building is a cross-gables, one-and-a-half-story, stuccoed structure with some Craftsman style elements,” says the historical society website. “The gables are vented with exposed triangular knee brackets under the eaves. The entrance fronting onto Olive has a gable at the intersection of the roofline and the entry has another centered gabled with double wooden doors and piers.”

The distinctive stairs that led to Heritage Hall have been transformed into a more traditional entrance with a covered patio for outdoor dining.

 In 1946, the congregation had outgrown this building, too, and moved to its present location on Brookside Avenue. The building was purchased by the Odd Felllows, who retained ownership until the late 1970s. For a while, it was owned by Amando Cisneros, owner of Oscar’s Restaurant on Sixth Street. Dr. Terry and Geneil Vines bought and restored the building in 1995.

The restaurant formally opened for dinner hours, 5:30-9:30 p.m., on Monday. It also has been open for coffee from 9 a.m. to noon, said Emerson. About 30 people have been showing up in the morning, he said. The bar is open from 5 to 11 p.m. It will soon open for lunch, Emerson said.

The restaurant seats 166 people. It’s not cheap. Most entrées are in the $30 range. Appetizers include marinated olives with feta cheese. Three kinds of flatbread are offered. A 32-ounce RR Ranch rib-eye steak with lemon, rosemary and anchovy butter is available for $98.

The restaurant is at 255 E. Olive Ave.  For more information, visit oliveandcitrus.com or call (909) 674-0094.

(1) comment

JodieGraham

Amazing! Will visit for sure!

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