The former Ruby Tuesday building sits empty Wednesday in Auburn. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Break out the breadsticks: At long last, it looks like Auburn’s getting an Olive Garden.

Project representatives submitted plans to the city on Friday to tear down the shuttered Ruby Tuesday at 649 Turner St. and build an Olive Garden in its place.

Lewiston-Auburn has had a long, well-documented clamoring for its soup, salad and endless pasta bowls — 47% of readers in a Sun Journal survey as far back as 2007 demanded the restaurant open here, stat — and rumors have swirled the last year about the chain eyeing the Ruby’s location.

In its development review application, Trillium Engineering Group asked the city for two waivers, one a setback reduction and the other for additional shared signage.

Olive Garden site plan for Auburn by sunjournal on Scribd

The $1.1 million, 6,600-square-foot project would have a larger footprint than the Ruby Tuesday building and eliminate 10 parking spaces.


Trillium’s proposal will head to the Planning Board on Oct. 12. There was no word yet on when construction would begin or when the restaurant would open if both waivers are approved next month.

Four Corners Property Trust out of California is listed as the property owner in the application and described as an independent, publicly traded company, “that owns and leases out 833 restaurants and retail properties across the country.”

The former Ruby Tuesday in Auburn closed in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, along with locations in Augusta, Topsham and Westbrook.

As Olive Garden rumors swirled, the city confirmed earlier this year that one Maine company and one national company had both expressed interest in the property.

The chain already has locations in Augusta, South Portland and Bangor.

Mayor Jason Levesque on Friday called the announcement “another shining example of the economic development that is happening and will continue to happen within the city of Auburn.”

“Congratulations to the developers and on behalf of the city of Auburn, we wish Olive Garden all the best,” he said.

Site plan for an Olive Garden to be built on Turner Street in Auburn. Submitted photo

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