The Old Oleander

By Esther Davis McKenna
Old Oleander 

Galveston’s got a bustling downtown shopping and restaurant district and GM has added a new column to keep its readers up to date on what’s new and cool in G-town. Whether you are looking for a sassy boutique or a bite to eat, be sure to check What’s New before planning your day downtown. 


 This new concept is part country store, part grocery, and part bistro and was created by Charles Lehnhoff and partner/head chef Bryan “Chops” Soliz. A soft opening was held during Galveston’s spring break holiday, and Old Oleander is expected to open with full hours in early May. 

 Lehnhoff said his goal was to create a local grocery in the downtown area that also sold bistro-style sandwiches and gourmet, New York-style pizza by the slice. 

“Downtown residents don’t have a local place to shop for quality groceries. All other options are miles outside of the neighborhood,” said Lehnhoff. “Our goal was to create a space where people could shop for food and sundries and stay for a great meal and live music.” 

 The Old Oleander occupies the former Old Strand Emporium inside the historic Hendley Building on Strand Street. The market will carry dry goods, sundries, and high-quality produce. 

 Soliz’s rotating menu is based on seasonal ingredients from around the country. “We sell Washington apples, Georgia peaches and all other items in their peak season,” Soliz said. 

 Those seasonal items will also be featured in sandwiches and pizzas. Customers can expect gourmet toppings like prosciutto and pears in their sammies and on their slices. 

 Soliz’s menu includes his own version of hot-pressed sandwiches, like his Texas take on the classic Cuban, called the “Texicana” and “Smokey and the Baguette” featuring house-smoked chicken breast with roasted red peppers, black pepper maple bacon, pecan smoked cheddar (also house smoked) pepper Jack cheese, and his original chipotle aioli. Beer and wine are also available. 

 Fresh produce and meats and cheeses will be offered in the grocery case, and local artists will be showcased on the walls and on the shelves. An assortment of vendors’ goods, like hand-made soaps and creams, will be sold on consignment throughout the shop. 

 Live music and open mic nights are in the works. You can also rent the space for a special event. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. Old Oleander is located at 2016 Strand Street. For more information or for hours of operation, call 409.209.1770 or visit

 Are you opening a new business or creating a new branch for an established Galveston business? Send your details to for consideration.