Dining Destination

LAKEWOOD – The countdown has started for those who have been eagerly anticipating the opening of the new Olive Garden Restaurant in Lakewood.

According to a sign posted on the business, at 11 a.m. Monday, March 25, Olive Garden will open its doors to the public for the first time.

N&D Restaurants, which is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, is the owner 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.

On Feb. 25, during a Lakewood Village Board meeting, David Wordelmann, village mayor, said he was able to tour the interior of the facility. He was quite impressed with the layout of the restaurant. He also said the dining business has a very large kitchen.

”The kitchen is amazing,” he said.