For 10 years, the Queen Creek Olive Mill has been known for freshpressed extra virgin olive oil, but this year the owner hopes to entice people with another specialty — an Italianinspired restaurant.
With an alfresco dining philosophy, the restaurant, del Piero, consists of 10 picnic tables and a lawn amid a grove of olive trees and the backdrop of the San Tan Mountains. There is also a small indoor dining area.
The eatery, set to open in mid-November, will offer a variety of pastries and coffee, bruschette, salads, gelati and panini sandwiches.
Menu items will feature local products, including produce, olive oil from the mill and meats from The Pork Shop in the Queen Creek area, said Perry Rea, who, with his wife, Brenda, and five children, owns and operates the mill.
Alicia Popple, who learned to press olive oil a couple of weeks ago, is the restaurant’s chef. She said visitors may value the food more by knowing the process that goes into producing the olive oil. All of the dishes will feature the mill’s pressings.
“We’ll be open for breakfast and lunch, catering to the people who are coming to visit the mill,” Rea said. “We want to provide something fun to eat when they’re here so they can enjoy themselves a little longer.”
In addition to opening the restaurant, Rea has been preparing for the harvest and the fall opening to the public. The mill opened to visitors on Tuesday.
Rea said his interest in olive oil started as a hobby when his family moved from Detroit to Arizona.
“I say I went from motor oil to olive oil,” Rea said. “Restaurants started asking for the oil. It just got out of hand.”
He follows the Old World tradition of making olive oil by handpicking olives and cold-pressing them within 48 hours of harvest to get the highestquality oil. More than 60 area restaurants and resorts use oil from the Reas’ mill, and individuals can purchase the oil online or at the on-site store.
The mill is open for tours through Dec. 24 and during the weekends in November, when it celebrates “Olio Nuovo,” the new olive oil of the season.
Queen Creek Olive Mill opens for harvest
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays through Dec. 24; del Piero restaurant expected to open Nov. 15.
Where: 25062 S. Meridian Road, Queen Creek
Information: (480) 756-6998 or