Fresno’s new Olive Garden restaurant almost ready to open

Fresno’s newly built Olive Garden is almost ready.

For years, the area’s sole Olive Garden restaurant on Shaw Avenue in Clovis has attracted crowds willing to wait for their pasta, bread sticks and salad.

The newest Olive Garden opens Monday at the Marketplace at El Paseo, the shopping center near Highway 99 and Herndon Avenue in Fresno. The restaurant will open after a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting with the Fresno Chamber of Commerce.

This is the same center that will eventually have a Cracker Barrel Old Country store and restaurant. That down-home restaurant serves comfort food like hash brown casserole and has a country-style store with rocking chairs out front.

Together, Olive Garden and Cracker Barrel have been some of the most anticipated restaurants coming to Fresno. That’s because, in part, they are also some of the most familiar chains to open new locations here.

The new Olive Garden is huge at 7,500 square feet. It can seat 250 and will bring 175 jobs.

The new location will look different, with updated decor, seating and floors.

The restaurant plans to showcase its Tastes of the Mediterranean menu, with dishes under 600 calories like shrimp scampi. Olive Garden still sells classics like lasagna and its $6.99 lunch of unlimited soup, salad and bread sticks.

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