AUBURN — With just 12 days to go before the long-awaited opening of the region’s only Olive Garden restaurant, the Sun Journal got a sneak peek at what will greet customers when they finally walk through the doors at 10 Subaru Drive.

It’s clean, fresh and a new design for Olive Garden, whose parent company Darden Restaurants operates more than 800 Olive Garden locations in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. This will be only the fourth in Maine.

The design concept is called Domani, which means tomorrow in Italian, General Manager Ryan Quinn said. The restaurant is bright and modern with a practical layout as you walk in the front. There is a spacious bar with seating and tables and chairs along the left side. Farther to the left is all dining room space, with a combination of tables and chairs, booths and a few alcoves with booths for a little more privacy. All told, seating capacity is about 200.

To the right of the main entrance is a separate area for takeout service, with dedicated parking, a separate entrance and pickup area, and direct access to the kitchen for workers. The popularity of takeout service took off during the pandemic, and restaurant chains like Olive Garden quickly realized the importance of that aspect of the casual dining business.

Speaking of busy, expect the latest restaurant in Auburn to be busy, busy, busy for two to three months, once the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. Monday, May 22, for lunch.


Quinn said they are fortunate to have hired about 150 employees to staff the restaurant for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Olive Garden does not take reservations, but you can add your name to a waitlist by calling or through the Olive Garden mobile app. You will be able to see actual wait times via the mobile app.

You can order takeout at or on the mobile app. Delivery will also be available. Customers will be able to place catering orders online, usually with 24 hours advance notice, but same day is possible, depending on the size of the order.

The Auburn Olive Garden has a full liquor license and will offer wine and beer, including Lewiston’s own Baxter on tap.

Hours at the Auburn location will be Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday & Saturdays 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

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