In 1990, when JoAnne Levy was ready to buy her first home, she returned to Olivette, where she had lived for the first few years of her life. Levy, VP of ROi, found a home in Chevy Chase and fell back in love with the area. After marrying Jim Thomeczek, an attorney with Thomeczek and Brink, their growing family dictated a move in 2001 to a bigger house just a half-mile away, in order to keep their kids in Old Bonhomme Elementary. Parents to Samantha, 25; Jake, 21; Jerry, 19; Mari, 16; and Josh, 12, the couple loves the diversity of the people, architecture and neighborhoods that Olivette offers. We ask JoAnne and Jim to share more about the community.

What’s the best-kept secret in Olivette?

We think Old Bonhomme school is somewhat of a best-kept secret. It’s a terrific school and the diversity of the population is so great—there are so many different nationalities represented amongst the student body and there’s a focus on teaching the kids about different cultures, races and religions.

Also, Sugarfire Smokehouse—it’s a great new restaurant, the food is fabulous and it’s a fun place to go with the family. And we just discovered that L’École Academy has a great lunch that's open to the public.

What are some of your favorite places in the area?

We eat at Mei Hua Chinese Restaurant all the time. We see people we know there, and the owners have seen our children grow up. When our kids get to choose their birthday dinner location, they quite frequently will choose Mei Hua—it’s a special place for us.

Stacy Park also is a fun place to spend an afternoon. All of our kids have played sports there and the park has summer concerts every year, which are just a blast. It’s really just a lovely park with a nice walking path through and around it.

What is the family’s favorite neighborhood tradition?

Although we don’t live there anymore, a lot of people in Olivette know that the place to be on Halloween is Chevy Chase. We would have 200 to 250 kids come by our house. All of the houses are decorated, they close off the streets, and people hang out outside by fire pits—it’s one big community tradition and a lot of fun.

Neighborhood Notes

Steve Mathes, Coldwell Banker Gundaker

Olivette has a rare and wonderful combination of great schools with a close-in, sought-after location convenient to several area parks, the airport, shopping and restaurants. With a varied housing stock combining teardown/new construction nestled between stately two-story and Mid-Century Modern ranch styles, Olivette is an attractive real estate destination for today’s buyer.