Olive Garden Opens In Paramus Erin Harvell Is Named General Manager Of New Restaurant
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, January 11, 2013, 06:31 PM EST
Olive Garden will open at 1620 Bergen Town Center in Paramus, N.J. on Monday, Jan. 14 at 11 a.m. — creating 180 new jobs. The Olive Garden in Paramus is the newest Olive Garden in the family of more than 800 local restaurants committed to providing every guest with a genuine Italian dining experience.
The 7,441 square-foot restaurant can host up to 246 guests and features a design that is inspired by traditional farmhouses found in Tuscany, Italy. Olive Garden design teams traveled to Italy to work with Italian architects Fabio and Lucia Zingarelli and the result is a restaurant design that recreates the warmth and simple beauty of a Tuscan farmhouse.
The Paramus Olive Garden has a rustic stone exterior, typical of the buildings in the Italian countryside, and an interior accented by Italian imports designed to make the dining experience here a tribute to the restaurant’s Italian inspiration. Ceilings supported by exposed wood beams, stone and wood accents throughout, and terra cotta tile highlight the interior.
In addition, the bar top is crafted from lava stone and hand-painted by artisans in Italy with a design created exclusively for Olive Garden. Vibrant imported fabrics decorate windows and dining seats, while hand-painted plates, adorn rustic stone and stucco walls.
The restaurant also will feature a number of sustainable design elements, including recycled building materials, enlarged windows to increase natural light, low-water landscaping and energy-efficient equipment. These enhancements are part of the Sustainable Restaurant Design initiative launched by Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden’s parent company.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the Paramus restaurant and a great team at Olive Garden,” said Erin Harvell, newly named general manager. “In addition to our Italian specialties, including signature items like our homemade soups, garden fresh salad and warm, garlic breadsticks, the menu at the Paramus Olive Garden will feature a variety of Italian favorites and new offerings, such as our 2 for $25 promotion. Now through Jan. 20, guests can enjoy an abundant three-course meal for two – all for only $25. Guests choose two of five delicious entrées, along with an appetizer or dessert to share.”
Harvell brings extensive restaurant industry experience to her new position. She has been with Olive Garden for seven years, most recently as general manager of the Olive Garden located at 323 Mt. Hope Ave. in Rockaway. Harvell received an associate’s degree in culinary arts and restaurant management from the Art Institute of New York.
Harvell is one of more than 1,400 managers who have visited Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany in the Tuscan village of Riserva di Fizzano, which serves as the source of inspiration for some dishes on Olive Garden’s menu. Each year, more than 100 managers visit CIT and learn about Italy, its food, wine, culture and people. This includes learning the time-honored traditions of Italian cooking and working side-by-side with Italian master chefs. The CIT is designed to inspire attendees to share the Italian culture of hospitality and passion with their restaurant teams and guests back home.
To recognize Harvell’s role as head of the Olive Garden family in Paramus and to emphasize the importance the company places on its general managers, Olive Garden honored Harvell by setting her name in stone. Travertine marble imported from Tuscany was chiseled with Harvell’s name and placed prominently by the restaurant’s front door.
Olive Garden is now accepting applications for employment. To be considered for an interview, please apply online at www.OliveGarden.com/Careers.
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 90,000 employees and more than $3.5 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a member of the Darden family of restaurants (NYSE:DRI), the world’s largest full-service restaurant operating company. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, the Paramus Olive Garden will participate in the Darden Harvest program, which has donated more than 50 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com.
Paramus Olive Garden at a glance:
Opening Date: Monday, Jan. 14
Square Footage: 7,441 square feet
Number of Seats: 246
Hours of Operation: Sunday through Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday through Saturday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.