First Taste: Mollie and Ollie

“Touch screen to begin.”



I guess that’s no worse than “Hi, I’m Kyle and I’ll be serving you tonight.”

The kiosks at Mollie and Ollie, a chic and shiny “fast casual” restaurant in the funky old Bay Leaf space on Main are just like the ones at the airport—or at the newest McDonald’s. The space is as inviting as on OR and the name was inspired by the owner’s goldfish.goldfish

So you choose from the first screen: Classic Breakfast Bowls (oatmeal, yogurt, fruit); Classic Scrambles; Classic Salads; Classic Stir Frys; Sides; Beverages; Dessert. Each time you make a choice, you’re asked to make another one until you’ve completed your dish. The screen shows your total (our stir frys were about $10 apiece.)

Then the machine asks if you want to leave a tip. Um, no.

The pitch is you get clean food from “carefully selected suppliers, growers and farmers who are environmentally responsible, humane and where possible, local.” But aside from touting organic eggs and a lot of kale, the menu doesn’t actually give any detail about sourcing—proteins are described as “slow roasted,” “honey brined” and “citrus poached” which has nothing to do with environmental responsibility, or anything, really.

We waited fifteen minutes, then a person wearing a “Be Nice” hat delivered our bowls, in much the same manner that I set down our cat’s bowl. Both stir frys emitted a distinct and unpleasant scorched aroma which worsened when we tried a bite. We postulated several reasons the food smelled the way it did—maybe the cooks hadn’t cleaned the griddle or wok sufficiently? Maybe the griddle was too dry for the fat-free proteins?


But there was no Kyle to circle back to check if we liked our food. So we left our full bowls and drove over to Tonyburger where we ordered and were served burgers and fries. There’s nothing like a raspberry milkshake to reset your tastebuds.

Note on “First Taste” reviews:

I reserve the right to write about a restaurant from the day they open—if they are charging customers full price for food and wine. I know a new restaurant has “kinks” to work out—the kitchen may still be tweaking some dishes, for instance. Tweaking never stops in a good kitchen. That takes time, but it shouldn’t happen on the paying customers’ dime.

As for “kinks” like allowing inedibly scorched food to leave the kitchen—that’s beyond the pale and argues against the experience being a “one-off.”

First Bites are followed by second visits.

Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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