Olive & Thyme's Melina Davies Takes THR's Taste Test

Melina Davies Headshot - P 2013
Chris Godley

Melina Davies Headshot - P 2013

The production exec-turned-buzzy Burbank restaurateur talks fugu, Wasa crackers, stinky cheese, Chateau Margaux and more.

Melina Davies spent years in the entertainment industry -- first as an assistant at ICM, then as a creative executive for Joel Silver and Lawrence Bender, and finally as the head of production for Bryan Turner’s Melee Entertainment -- before switching gears to open Olive & Thyme in February 2011. The Burbank-based restaurant and marketplace, which has quickly become a standby of local writers’ rooms and production facilities for its sandwiches and salads, arose out of Davies’ desire to bring city-side food and wine selections to the 818. “My husband and I live in Lake Hollywood, and we got tired of always having to go over the hill to 13 different places to buy stuff for a high-end dinner party,” she says. “You’d have to drive from Wally’s to the Beverly Hills Cheese Shop and on and on. We’ve got all you need here.”

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Current Fixation
“Finding out how to perfect the coddled egg. I had this dish at one of my favorite places in Brentwood, Farmshop. Close to the most perfect egg dish I have ever had. A perfectly cooked egg, seasonal mushrooms, and a buttered brioche on the side, simple but so flavorful my brain starts to stir.”

Destination Dinner
“In town: Providence, Gjelina, Baco Mercat, Angelini Osteria and Nobu Malibu. Outside of California: Le Calandre in Padua, Italy, and Can Pineda in Barcelona.”

Go-To Takeout
“Mozza 2 Go, Talesai and Kiwami.”

Adventurous Bite
“Fugu -- puffer fish. I was in Japan with my husband and out to dinner with an art dealer. He took us to an amazing sushi restaurant and orders fugu. It was amazing, until I found out you could die from it if not handled properly!”

Simply Won’t Eat
“Nothing. I will try anything once.”

Favorite Snack
“A Wasa cracker with a scoop of Rustic Spoon peanut-cashew butter.”

Dietary Regimen
“I don’t eat past 8 p.m. and drink a quality bottle of wine every night.”

Pet Peeve
“If you’re a waiter, know your menu. If you’re a customer, don’t ask chefs to do something without butter or oil. It’s annoying. Man up and get a salad.”

Big Wish
“That Americans will start looking at food as an event, rather than hurrying up and eating.”

Guilty Pleasure
“Stinky cheese.”

Last Meal
“Chateau Margaux, La Tache and Romanee-Conti … and a bit of ice cream.”