DETROIT, Mich. — Olga’s Kitchen Founder Olga Loizon passed away Monday at the age of 92.
The daughter of Greek immigrants, Loizon pioneered women in business, becoming the first woman to secure a business loan from her bank. She used the funds to open the first Olga’s Kitchen in Birmingham, Mich.
“Her passion for her work and Olga’s Kitchen was unmatched, marketing for the brand at every turn,” said Bill Loizon of the family matriarch. “She will never be forgotten and will forever be missed.”
She often held what were called “Olga’s Visits,” where she would visit locations to interact with fans of the brand and the woman. The Detroit Greek Independence Day Committee bestowed Loizon with the Greektown Preservation Society Award, citing her contributions to Michigan’s Greek culture. And in 2011, she received the Esteemed Women of Michigan Award.
The concept of the restaurant was sold to investors in 1976, then to Michigan-based TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants in 2015. “While she will be dearly missed, her legacy will forever live on with Olga’s Kitchen,” says Mark Schostak, executive chairman of TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants, “and we will proudly continue her vision of delighting guests for decades to come in her honor.”
The Original Olga is survived by her husband, three children and two grandchildren. Public condolences are asked to be made at the Olga’s Kitchen Facebook page or the Olga Loizon Memorial Fund which benefits women passionate about entrepreneurship. Checks can be donated at any Olga’s location, or sent to 17800 Laurel Park Drive North, Ste. 200C, Livonia, MI 48152.