Olive Garden Lovers’ Wait Almost Over

The long wait for an Olive Garden in Grand Forks is nearly over. With just under 24 hours to go, I’m sure people in town are already jonesing for the Italian fare. Our big brother to the south has had it for years and has always been a busy place.

Now, Olive Garden fans won’t have to make the trek to Fargo to get their fix. They can get it right in south Grand Forks, on 32nd Ave. on the site of the old Columbia 4 movie theater.

GF Olive Garden

The restaurant will open Monday at 4 p.m. Only dinner will be served from Monday until Friday, January 27. From Monday to Thursday, hours will be 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Friday, it’ll be 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Then beginning Saturday, January 28 and thereafter, lunch will be served starting at 11 a.m.

The place is huge, with seats for up to 246 guests. It features a “design inspired by traditional farmhouses found in Tuscany, Italy.” It has a “rustic stone interior accented by Italian imports designed to make the dining experience a tribute to the restaurant’s Italian inspiration.” That according to a release issued last week.


Now, as I’ve said previously, this is not authentic Italian food. It’s not slow, laborious cooking. It’s quick, American-style Italian food that caters to our taste for heavy, rich sauces and fattening dishes.

I’m not completely averse to it though. I’m a fan of a good alfredo sauce so I’ll probably give that a try. Plus the breadsticks and salad are actually pretty good. It’s definitely not an every week place to eat, but every once in a while a guilty pleasure.

I’ll try to get out there and see if the service and food are up to snuff.

One thing that I thought was pretty cool was that a slate of marble was chiseled with the general manager’s name and placed near the front door. The general manager, Donald Szutenbach, is a Manvel, ND, native.


The best thing about the Olive Garden location on 32nd is that it’ll likely be a boon to other businesses nearby. The old Grizzly’s location will be hopping soon, with Erbert and Gerbert’s and Old Chicago taking the space. Hopefully another business can scoop up the land south of Office Max. Preferably a local place, not a national chain. But that’s not likely.

What are you looking forward to digging into at the new Olive Garden? Or are you not excited for it?

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