DANVERS — When the Tuscan farmhouse-themed Olive Garden opens next week, it will be the first with that design in Essex County, the company says. In addition to the Old World decor, it will bring with it 165 new jobs.
While the company already operates an Olive Garden in Methuen, it says the Danvers restaurant's design will be unique in these parts, based on Olive Garden's Riserva di Fizzano restaurant in Tuscany.
Fans who have long waited for an Olive Garden in Danvers can finally sample the fare when the Route 114 restaurant is scheduled to open for dinner on Monday at 4 p.m.
Olive Garden's design teams worked with Italian architects Fabio and Lucia Zingarelli to create an Italian farmhouse look with "a rustic stone exterior, typical of the buildings in the Italian countryside," a statement from the company says. The inside also has imported furniture, a hand-painted bar top made of lava stone, exposed wood beams in the ceiling, stone and wood accents, and plenty of terra-cotta tile.
"At the Danvers Olive Garden, there is an atmosphere of Italian hospitality," General Manager Tony Kim said in a prepared statement. "From the decor of our new restaurant to our delicious Italian food, we're ready to deliver a great experience for all of our guests." Kim's name will be carved in stone on a Tuscan travertine tile by the front door, as the company likes to honor its general managers as important to the operation.
The restaurant's arrival in town at 153 Andover St. has been in the works for some time. The restaurant was built in front of a Lowe's home improvement warehouse store.
The eatery will give the North Shore a bit of an economic boost, given it will employ 165 people.
A representative told selectmen last September the 246-seat, 7,441-square-foot restaurant cost approximately $4.6 million to build, including $1.3 million for the land, $2.6 million for site improvements, and $730,000 for fixtures and furniture.
The restaurant, under the name GMRI, picked up the liquor license of the former Uno restaurant that closed on Endicott Street two years ago. GMRI is a subsidiary of publicly traded Darden, the world's largest company-owned and -operated full-service restaurant company with 1,800 restaurants. Olive Garden has more than 730 restaurants employing 86,000 people.
The restaurant opens for dinner only at 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday next week as the operation ramps up. It will then start serving lunch on Saturday, June 11, opening at 11 a.m. that day and each day after.