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Olive Garden opening Monday

Staff report

Olive Garden will open its newest restaurant at 4 p.m. Monday in Salisbury’s Wallace Commons, 1425 Klumac Road.

The 7,441-square-foot restaurant features a Tuscan-farmhouse design and seating for 247. It will employ about 155 people.

From Monday through Feb. 22, the restaurant will serve dinner only, with hours from 4-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The restaurant will be open for lunch beginning Monday, Feb. 23. Lunch will be served starting at 11 a.m. every day.

“Salisbury is a developing city with a steadily growing business climate making it the perfect location for the newest member of Olive Garden’s family of local restaurants,” Valerie Insignares, executive vice president of operations for Olive Garden, said in a press release.

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with 670 restaurants, more than 80,000 employees and $3.1 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants Inc., the world’s largest casual dining company in sales and market share.

Most new Olive Garden restaurants have been built in the Tuscan Farmhouse-design since February 2000.

The Olive Garden in Salisbury has a rustic stone exterior, typical of the buildings in the Italian countryside, and an interior accented by Italian imports.

The interior also includes ceilings supported by exposed wood beams, stone and wood accents throughout and terra cotta tile.

The bar top is crafted from lava stone, then hand-painted by artisans in Italy with design created exclusively for Olive Garden. Imported fabrics decorate windows and dining seats. Hand-painted plates adorn rustic stone and stucco walls. The lighting fixtures are Italian.

“We are extremely excited to share the breathtaking setting of our new Tuscan Farmhouse-design Olive Garden with the Salisbury community,” General Manager Russ Garland said. “It was designed after our Riserva di Fizzano restaurant in Tuscany, Italy, which is rustic, charming, warm and beautiful — the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a genuine Italian dining experience.” To recognize Garland’s role as head of the Olive Garden family in Salisbury and to emphasize the importance the company places on its general managers, Olive Garden honored Garland by setting his name in stone.

Travertine marble imported from Tuscany was chiseled with Garland’s name and placed prominently by the front door.

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