New Olive Garden’s opening is so close, you can count it down

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – We’re a week away from the opening of the new Olive Garden in Augusta.

An earlier plan called for the restaurant to open today, but now it will open next Monday at 11 a.m. at Cabela Drive and Riverwatch Parkway.

To all outward appearances, the restaurant looks ready to open.

A small group of orange-clad workers could be seen this morning finishing some asphalt work in the parking lot.

The business district is bustling these days with additions in recent years, including News 12. City leaders have discussed making some traffic changes to accommodate the added traffic, but that work hasn’t begun yet.

Olive Garden fun facts

In anticipation of the opening, here’s some Olive Garden trivia:

  • The chain’s first restaurant opened in 1982 in Orlando as a unit of General Mills, like its then-sister chain Red Lobster.
  • It used to be called “The Olive Garden,” but the company dropped “The” in 1989 as part of a rebranding effort.
  • In 2011, the company tried opening a handful of locations (including in Brunswick, Ga., and Beaufort, S.C.) that housed an Olive Garden and a Red Lobster in the same building with a shared kitchen. It didn’t work, and the plan was killed after three years.
  • New locations, like the one opening next week in Augusta, are modeled after a real farmhouse in Italy that now hosts the Riserva di Fizzano restaurant, which adjoins the Culinary Institute of Tuscany.

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