Years of anticipation for the arrival of the Olive Garden Italian restaurant chain to Puerto Rico will end June 30, when the island’s first location will open to the public in Bayamón, franchise owners Restaurant Operators Inc. announced.
The 8,000 square-foot eatery is in the final stages of construction, and is located in the La Cambija sector, next to the recently opened Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant, operated by the same company.
“Today we announce the opening of the first Olive Garden restaurant, one of the most awaited chains among Puerto Ricans,” said Jorge Colón-Gerena, chairman of Restaurant Operators Inc.’s board.
“We are thrilled to welcome them and will ensure it is a nice place where Puerto Ricans can enjoy the best Italian delicacies,” said Colón-Gerena.
The arrival of the restaurant chain was confirmed in April 2012, as this media outlet reported, when company executives announced they had entered into an agreement with Olive Garden’s parent, Orlando-based Darden Restaurants Inc., to develop and operate eight restaurants islandwide through 2020.
The company will invest some $20 million — or $2.5 million per location — in the new Olive Garden casual dining restaurants. Once all eight restaurants are open, the chain expects to create in excess of 1,000 jobs.