There is food as a form of sustenance.
Then there is good food as a form of sustenance.
Rick Petrocelli retired from healthcare as an industry executive in 2004. But he grew up in the family restaurant business. When he read an article in La Cucina Italiana indicating that store-bought olive oil is not the same as real extra virgin olive oil, he started researching. This led him to start taking classes on the subject.
From Skeptics to Believers
Petrocelli chuckles as he recalls coming home one day and telling his family, “I’m going to be an olive oil retailer.” The skepticism was palpable.
But Petrocelli continued taking classes and became a certified olive oil consultant. He opened his first store “The Olive Tap” in Long Grove, Illinois, in 2006. Not too long after that, some of those same skeptics were approaching Petrocelli, asking if he would be willing to franchise.
Petrocelli’s wife, Kathi, had been vacationing in the Pikes Peak region for years. Kathi started bringing Petrocelli along after they married, and on one of those trips, Petrocelli noticed a storefront in Manitou Springs for lease. They contacted the landlord, toured the space, and put their deposit down in 2009 – all while still on vacation.
In 2012, they decided to make Manitou Springs home.
Oils and Vinegars and... Samples
The concept of The Olive Tap is about experiencing food at a whole different level. They provide personally sourced olive oils and balsamic vinegars to customers seeking authentic and traditional flavors. They stock oils and vinegars for all palates – from light, mild, and buttery to strong and peppery. Each has its own unique use in the kitchen, and the staff at The Olive Tap helps customers sample and decide what works best for them.
Each of the oils and vinegars are represented in store in their own fusti tanks, labeled with tasting notes or background on the product. Each fusti has a tap, which allows staff to assist with samples or even to hand bottle the product to take home.
In America, many consumers seek the lowest cost. Due to this, many have lost their ability to taste, causing them to settle for inferior ingredients, Petrocelli explains.
“We are trying to do our part to bring people back to authentic, traditional flavors and getting back to the roots of food,” he said.
Although oil and vinegar are the nucleus, the store is a foodie haven. In addition to the Manitou Spring store, The Olive Tap has added a secondary location on North Academy Boulevard to cater to their growing clientele. Stop in and be inspired.