Olive Garden Is Opening Its First Location in This State
Back in January of 2020 (a lifetime ago, it seems), the Mai Tai Bar and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. announced it was closing shop in Honolulu's Ala Moana Center amid a rental dispute. At the time, it was revealed that Olive Garden had filed a building permit for the same location. After 10 months, the Italian chain restaurant is officially opening for business—and news of a second location comes with it!
While there are more than 850 locations nationwide, this is the first Olive Garden in the state of Hawaii. More than 120 people have been training for opening night, which is expected to attract hundreds of diners, according to KHON2. The restaurant's general manager, who had never tried an Olive Garden breadstick before training for the job, told the local news station that phones calls from eager spaghetti lovers pour in every day. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)
While Bubba Gump had room for about 300 seats, current coronavirus guidelines have limited the venue's capacity to about 50%. Hawaii's newest Olive Garden is set up with around 160 seats, the general manager told KHON2. Customers will have to wear a mask at all times—except when eating or drinking—and groups must be under five people.
A second location is reportedly coming to Ka Makana Ali'i in Kapolei in May 2021. And Hawaii isn't the only state with a new Olive Garden restaurant bracing to open its doors. Two locations in Chesterfield, Mich., near Detroit, and Raleigh, N.C., are now in business. Another will open in Oklahoma City on Nov. 16.
While the family-style Italian restaurant is expanding to the state, one popular steakhouse just closed its last location in Hawaii, and customers are devastated.