It’s a store, it’s a café, it’s a tasting bar. It’s Olive Pit in Corning. Owned and operated by the Craig family, Olive Pit has been a popular pit stop for travelers on the I-5 corridor since 1967. What began as a roadside stand serving burgers and frosties is now a one-stop shop for all things olive – and more.
Pete and Ann Craig opened Olive Pit nearly 50 years ago offering travelers a place to rest, comfort food and jars of locally produced olives for sale. Today, three generations of the Craig family, including Ann, still provide the same old-fashioned service as well as a huge selection of fine foods.
As a young woman, Ann, who is originally from Oklahoma, moved to Richmond where she worked as a “Wendy the Welder” during World War II. At a friend’s suggestion, she moved to Corning, became a waitress at a local diner and met her future husband, Pete.
Pete and his brothers were young entrepreneurs who dreamed of opening their own gas station. Driving north one day, they ran low on gas near Corning. After surveying the area they decided the small town was a perfect place to put down roots. Before long, the brothers opened Craig Brothers’ Shell Station. After twenty years of marriage, Pete and Ann decided to venture out on their own, and Olive Pit was born.
Many of the products sold at the Olive Pit store are locally grown and produced. Shoppers will find a variety of Tehama County and California olives – more than 120 varieties – and olive oil. Balsamic vinegars, mustards, tapenades, craft beers, fine wines and unique gift items round out Olive Pit’s offerings.
Know for its signature milkshakes – Strawberry Balsamic, Blood Orange Olive Oil and Pumpkin Butter – the Olive Pit Café offers an assortment of quick bites to wake up travelers' taste buds. Build-your-own burgers and deli sandwiches can be enjoyed in the inviting dining area or back on the road.
But perhaps what Olive Pit is best known for is its ample samples of gourmet olives that will cure any olive lover’s craving: Garlic Stuffed, Texas Hot Chili, Kalamata, Martini Style Pimiento Stuffed and Bleu Jalapeno Stuffed, to name a few. Several olive oils and vinegars like Traditional Balsamic from Modena, Italy and flavored varieties like Honey Balsamic, Chocolate Balsamic and Peach White Balsamic can also be found at the olive tasting bar. Just past the checkout stand is the Olive Pit tasting room, where visitors can sample local wine and craft beer for just $5.
The next time you’re traveling down I-5 and get a hankering for olives, nuts, local wines and brews, or a creamy milkshake, stop at Olive Pit – still in its original location at 2156 Solano Street in Corning – to experience the best of Northern California fare. Olive Pit is open daily from 7 am to 7 pm, with extended hours during spring, summer and holidays. Please call (530) 824-4667 for current hours.
For more information, visit olivepit.com.