Terry Olson is a super cool dude with great conversation. We bumped into each other for the first time a few years ago while he was promoting his new vodka, Zim’s, and I was promoting the new The Social Metro. Being a vodka fan, I was immediately interested in his quality product. Since then, we’ve become friends and always support each other. Terry is a native of Victoria, British Columbia in Canada, who ended up in Michigan playing hockey in college. We’ve kept him ever since.
Since my normal schedule has me out at parties and restaurants at least 5 times a week, Terry decided he wanted to take me somewhere I’d probably never been. Leave it to him to find a restaurant that wasn’t even officially open yet. We visited a very cool new spot called Gaudino”s in St. Clair Shores. There’s a story behind Gaudino’s that we’ll fill you in with in another article, but safe to say, it’s got a little history as a premier Italian market in Metro Detroit since the 1940s. Today, it has returned as a specialty market, but this time, surrounded by a gourmet restaurant. Designed by the architectural firm of Ron and Roman, how the market meets the restaurant, is laid out into a very sweet concept.
Terry is always well dressed. When we see him, he’s usually in dapper sports coats, cleverly coordinated with unique shirt, pocket square and tie combinations. He enjoys wearing Armani, Polo and Hugo Boss. At our casual dinner, he opted for a combo of Ralph Lauren pieces – sweater, shirt and slacks.
“I’m blown away by how the early birth of Zim’s has been accepted so quickly into the mainstream,” he explains. “We’ve become an industry disrupter.” Zim’s is available in Michigan and Pennsylvania, but can be purchased anywhere online. It is a Polish, gluten-free vodka made with a potato-based recipe. It is available in 59 proof and 81 proof.
“I love my family – wife, kids, parents — my friends and my faith,” he says. Terry has been married to Kathy for 31 years. They have 3 children, Kassidy, Mac and Jacquelynn. “And a big shout out to my buddy, Bruce Carroll (Bruce is president of Zim’s).”
The food here is pretty amazing. We tried the house-made sausage, lasagna, meat balls and gnocchi, all washed down with refreshing Zim’s and lemonade. All the ingredients are available in the market in case anyone is motivated to duplicate the dish at home.
Although we went before the restaurant was officially open, it was still quite impressive. We definitely see it as becoming an eastside gem. “I give it big thumbs up,” says Terry, “from the traditional sausage dishes to the clever cocktails to the contemporary concept. Five stars all the way.”
27919 Harper Ave
St. Clair Shores, 48081