By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It’s no myth the recipes, dishes and salad bars of Olympic Steak & Pizza have been pleasing patrons for nearly 45 years throughout West Tennessee.
The restaurant with Greek ties was created by the couple Tom and Susan Sinis. Now with four locations, they and their sons, Bill and Harry, help operate the eatery offering gourmet pizzas, a variety of steaks, multiple side dishes and various entrées.
“Olympic Steak and Pizza started in 1977,” Harry recalled. “It’s family owned and it started in Dyersburg. We opened up our restaurant in Ripley in 1985. Then from there in 1995 we opened up in Atoka. In February we’re celebrating our 25th year in Tipton County via Atoka.
“This is going on its 14th year in Millington,” he added. “It’s been 11 years in Oakland and our newest location is in Arlington. And that’s one year old.”
Harry was recently in Millington holding meetings and taking phone calls in regard to the future of the Flag City location. While some customers enjoyed sweet potato waffle fries, grilled chicken and shrimp, Sinis noted the recipe for 43 years of success in the restaurant business.
“We bring the same approach to each location,” he noted. “We have these home recipes from 40 to 50 years. We continue to do the same things. The other part is we try to give excellent service and take care of the folks who come in. We try to say, ‘We appreciate our customers.’ And we really do.”
Some customers have asked staff or one of the Sinis where did the combination of steak and pizza originate.
“Initially our store in Ripley was a steakhouse,” Harry recalled. “It was Olympic Steakhouse. But when we opened up the Atoka location, we started to offer some family recipes for pizza. We said we need to bring pizza back in because we know how to do it and we’ve done it for years. So my dad was like we’re going to name it Steak and Pizza. There you go.”
The Greek roots of the Sinis family tie into many of the pizza recipes and the style of the homemade dough. The flavors gracing the many of the steaks have a Mediterranean taste. Sinis noted many make the trip to Olympic to grab a pizza to take home or have a romantic night out enjoying an affordable steak.
Then he noted during lunch many pop into Olympic for the salad bar special featuring many fixings for the bed of lettuce.
The Sinis family created their restaurant with family and tradition in mind. Building their business in small towns throughout West Tennessee was by design.
“It’s the culture we try to build in the workplace and the communities we’re involved,” Harry said. “We’re all in this together. Obviously we have customers who support us and we try to support them. It could be their church, their schools, their ball teams. We’re heavy into community involvement. We love this family atmosphere for the entire community.”
The Olympic banner has been seen from Brighton to Millington sponsoring high school sports and youth activities. The name “Olympic Steak & Pizza” has also been associated with community events and school functions.
“Everything we do and we have, our customers support and they give to us,” Sinis said. “We try to give back to them and their families. Whatever they’re involved in, their children are involved in or their grandchildren. That’s important to us too.”
The bond between the residents and Olympic developed in Atoka at 10862 Highway 51, in Arlington at 5183 Airline Road, in Ripley at 475 Highway 51 and currently in Millington at 8500 Wilkinsville Road.
“The immediate future is we just opened up our Arlington location,” Harry noted. “And we’re looking at other markets also. As far as the Millington location, we’re looking to relocate and build a standalone location to be similar to our Arlington location for this area. Just got out of a meeting discussing that.”
By the time Olympic is celebrating its 45th and 50th anniversaries, there might be locations in Bartlett or Southaven, Miss. The Sinis family said the traditions established in the restaurant since 1977 will continued to be the recipe for growth and success.
“Just to continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Harry said. “We’ve been tremendously blessed with a lot of good people we’ve worked with from our staff to their families.
“And all the customers in all the towns who have supported us and their families,” he concluded. “We just want to continue to do what we’ve been doing.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.