Italian restaurant casual dining chain, Olive Garden, will open its first restaurant this Monday in Bayamón, following a $3 million investment. The restaurant created more than 300 direct and indirect job opportunities during the construction and operational phases, executives said Thursday.
Jorge Colón-Gerena, chairman of the board of Restaurant Operators Inc., which holds the franchise rights to Olive Garden in Puerto Rico, the restaurant “is expected to be well-received by the public, not only because it is the most highly anticipated restaurant brand, but also because of its strategic location.”
The restaurant is near three major shopping malls, a hotel complex and municipal sports facilities, making it accessible to tourists, visitors to the area and residents. The restaurant boasts 8,000 square-feet of space and can accommodate up to 260 guests.
“We bring to market a leading restaurant brand that specializes in Italian cuisine in a comfortable environment, in which each member of the family will feel at home. We not only offer the brand’s signature dishes at friendly prices, but we’ve also expanded our wine menu to meet the needs of the local market,” said Dionisio Trigo, president of Restaurant Operators Inc.
Olive Garden’s arrival to Puerto Rico has been a long time coming. Plans call for opening several more locations throughout the island over the next few years.
“We continue to bet on the long-term economic development of our island because we believe in the capacity of working population, in the quality of the products, and in the market’s support,” Colón-Gerena said. “We are already working on the second location, which is set to open in San Patricio Plaza in 2015.”
Olive Garden operates more than 800 restaurants in the U.S. mainland and is known for its family-friendly environment and authentic Italian menu created by chefs that are certified by the Culinary Institute of Tuscany.
Some of the brand’s most well-known signature dishes, which will also be available in Puerto Rico, are: “Tour of Italy,” “Fettuccine Alfredo,” “Lasagna Fritta” as an appetizer, and its signature salad and bread sticks, among others, company officials said.