The Oilerie: Extending a Delicious Welcome
Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography
Having the right tools makes getting the job done that much easier; that’s particularly true when the tools come from the kitchen pantry. Just ask Stacy and Mark Conley, owners since 2014 of The Oilerie in Village at Wexford on Hilton Head Island, where they certainly have all the right tools to get the party started.
“I love to entertain,” Stacy said. “That’s why I’m entertaining a private party here at the shop tonight. I cook for them, they bring their own alcoholic beverages, and I make a strawberry balsamic lemonade.” Using the olive oils and vinegars, spices, rubs, sauces, relishes, garnishes, dips, and toppings, from the shelves of their cozy shop, the Conleys make a little culinary magic and enjoy sharing their secrets and selling the ingredients that make dishes and drinks dance.
Like many of the intimate tasting events hosted at The Oilerie, this particular evening’s event was won in a silent auction at a local charitable fundraiser. “On tonight’s menu are chicken tenders in a Tuscan lemon herb sauce and meatballs in our smooth and spicy barbecue sauce,” Stacy said, bubbling over with enthusiasm for the ingredients they sell, the myriad ways in which they can be used, and the anticipation of sharing her passion with a group of people that are certain to become fans of Stacy and her shop. “Then I made a Lemon Garlic Orzo dish with watercress and peppers; it’s really nice because you can eat it cold or eat it hot. I also made dark chocolate truffles. We share a tasting of our dips and spreads, then our main courses, and a dessert. I show them a little history about the olive oil and its health benefits, and they do a little tasting.”
The Conleys were devoted customers of the franchise’s flagship shop in Fish Creek, Wisconsin long before they became owners on Hilton Head Island, one of eight Oileries in the United States. “It goes way back to shortly after the franchise opened in 2003,” Stacy said. “My mother, my sisters, my cousins—we used to take girl trips.” Trips that took them to Door County, Wisconsin where they would do some tasting at the Fish Creek store and stock up on a year’s worth of the delicious oils and vinegars. “I just loved everything about it.”
With a selection of 18 extra virgin olive oils, five nut oils, and 11 balsamic vinegars, including The Oilerie’s own decadent balsamic, aged for 25 years, customers will find classic flavors and special favorites in stock and discover custom taste combinations with every visit. Each bottle is decanted from the shop’s beautiful, shiny canisters, corked, sealed, labeled, and dated with their signature brass tags. “We want everyone to make themselves at home,” Stacy said.
“After doing some tasting, or whenever you’re ready, we’ll fill the bottle for you. Take your time; mix and match. Create what you think will be the best combination for you.” Customers are also encouraged to wash their empty Oilerie bottles, bring them in for refills, and save a $1 on each bottle—good for the wallet and good for the environment.
The Conleys have a knowledgeable and tightly-knit team, including Laurie, their shop right-hand (and left-hand, Mark said), long-time part-timer Karen, daughter Kallyn, a recent college grad and area substitute teacher, and daughter Lisa when she’s on summer break from her studies at Clemson University. Whether greeted by Stacy, Mark, or one of their staff members, customers are encouraged to enjoy samples and tastes and discover the various lines of specialty foods at The Oilerie. In addition to the amazing tastes and flavors, the health benefits of olive oils are an important part of what the store’s team shares with customers. “There’s an American Medical Association study that says that two tablespoons of olive oil a day reduces bad cholesterol by about 15 percent,” Mark said.
“It’s the same way with the balsamics,” Stacy said. “It’s good for the digestion, good as an anti-inflammatory. The extra virgin olive oil is good for your hair and skin. We also have a health and beauty line made in Italy at an amazing price point. It’s like a very high-end imported beauty line made with extra virgin olive oil. People hunt it down.”
Fans of The Oilerie’s food products can find them on tables and in the kitchens of more than a dozen area restaurants, where local chefs are building dishes around the high-quality ingredients. The freshness of the oils and vinegars appeals to professional and home chefs alike, and much of that is the result of The Oilerie’s producer, Adriano, and the store’s short supply chain. “Adriano produces our oils at his family-run orchard in Italy,” Mark said. “We’re getting our oil from one family producer. The supply chain is very short. They take it from the province of Lazio about an hour south of Rome. It ships in stainless steel, food-grade, certified 20-liter barrels here to Savannah, and we pick it up.”
Mark and Stacy Conley at the Jazz Corner in the Village at Wexord.
The Jazz Corner is one of many local restaurants featuring their olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
A few of the not-to-be missed favorites at The Oilerie include their Cherry Balsamic Fruit Sauce, absolutely gorgeous in so many ways, over a piece of brie, on pork, topping ice cream, French toast, oatmeal, yogurt, bagels; and the jarred Italian Olive Salad, the quintessential muffuletta filling and delicious on bruschetta. “These are our superstars,” Stacy said. The bread dippers are their only pre-made, spiced-up products. The dipper pack includes The Oilerie’s aged balsamic, the Fior Fiore unflavored olive oil, and four teaspoons of founders Curt and Amy Jo Campbell’s super spice. “We like to say, think outside the breadbox,” Stacy said. “Use these dippers for potatoes, corn on the cob, meat, in salad dressings…anything you want.”
The best ways to keep up with the latest happenings at The Oilerie is to follow them on Facebook and stop by the shop, and stop by often. About twice a month (more if we’re lucky) Mark shares yummy recipes, featuring their products, on Facebook. Offering the most personal of customer service, there is something for every personal taste in their welcoming shop, and the staff will creatively assist with gift giving, with beautiful packaging and arranging delivery.
The Oilerie is a whole lot of delicious fun.
The Oilerie is located in Village at Wexford, 1000 William Hilton Parkway, Suite C2. For more information, please call (843) 681-2722 or find them on Facebook.