The proof is in the pasta as customers flocked to Brooklyn’s newest Olive Garden.
The Italian-American inspired restaurant chain that boasts 892 locations globally had its soft-opening on Friday and held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, April 8 at 10 a.m.
The entire staff, including General Manager Steven Flory Alexander, managers Brian Cho and Bianca Freeman, chefs, kitchen workers and wait staff, all gathered together to celebrate the long-anticipated grand opening of the newest restaurant at 1784 Shore Parkway, near the Ceasar’s Bay Shopping Center in Gravesend.
The restaurant has garnered rave reviews during its initial first three days in operation, Alexander said. Some customers have already made return trips.
“The first person walked in at 11:05 a.m. on Friday morning and it was very exciting,” he said. “There were a lot of positives, everyone seemed to be having a great time and our team members were having a good time. The community really enjoyed the food.”
The Olive Garden’s newest promotion is its giant Italian classics, including the foot-long chicken parmigiana and the giant 10 oz. meatball served over spaghetti.
The reviews on social media have been stellar with commenters saying the restaurant was so much more than what they expected. “A lot of hard work went into it; blood, sweat and tears” added Alexander.
The new Olive Garden has brought approximately 150 jobs to the community, training new workers and always looking to hire great talent.
Alexander was pleasantly surprised with some of the comments he’s received. “A lot of people said they had never been to the Olive Garden before. They came in and said how good everything was, [and] that they enjoyed the food. The general consensus is that they’re coming back.”
Alexander also emphasized the importance Olive Garden places on giving back to the community. “All the money made from alcohol sales this past weekend will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Brooklyn, and that’s approximately $4,000” he said.
“We’re also involved with the Harvest Program, where we give extra food, not leftover but extra sauces, extra lasagna, anything surplus we end up harvesting and giving it away to the Harvest food donation program. Olive Garden has given over 35 million pounds of food to the Harvest Program across the nation.”
They also work with the Girl Scouts of America, hold a disability mentoring day and perform other acts of community outreach.
While some have questioned the location of the new Olive Garden in a neighborhood known for fine Italian cuisine, Alexander is quick to point out what makes Olive Garden unique.
“One thing we always say is when you’re here, you’re family,” he explained. “We genuinely care about our guests and it’s really exciting to get to know everybody.”
This is the chain’s second location in the borough, with the other being at the Gateway Center in East New York. Located near a Kohl’s, Best Buy, Modell’s and a recently announced Target department story, the new Olive Garden is the perfect place for shoppers to stop in and enjoy a delicious family style meal.
“Having Target here is going to be really great,” said Alexander. “People will be able to go out shopping at Target and then stop by the Olive Garden afterwards.”