Nearly Complete

LAKEWOOD – The new Olive Garden restaurant in Lakewood may be open by April 1.

Charles Smith, Lakewood building inspector, said he received an application for a banner to be hung at the restaurant for the opening.

”(The application) includes the opening date of April 1 at 11 a.m.,” he said. ”That is the date they are anticipating to open.”

N&D Restaurants, which is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, will be the owners of the Olive Garden. The company also owns and operates the Red Lobster in Lakewood.

The business will be located on the former site of the Firestone Auto Center in front of the Chautauqua Mall. In October 2011, Darden officials first attended a Lakewood Planning Board meeting to discuss the preliminary plans for the Olive Garden restaurant. Darden then purchased 2.49 acres of land from Simon Properties, owners of the Chautauqua Mall, for the restaurant.

Smith said he visited the construction site earlier this week. He discussed the construction with officials from Deerfield Construction of Loveland, Ohio, the contractor for the restaurant’s development. Smith said the construction crew is working on finishing the tiling of the roof and installing drywall inside the restaurant. Also, they’re finishing the utilities and mechanical systems.

“The contractor said they are hoping to turn it over to Darden in February,” he said.

Smith said there was an issue with paving the parking lot, but a layer of asphalt was laid down.

“It is useable. They will have to repave it or do a top coat, though,” he said. “It won’t hold up at the opening.”

Smith said the construction of the restaurant has followed the site plan approved by village officials this summer.

“It has gone very smoothly, and the contractor has been cooperative,” Smith said. “It has been a good project.”