Endless ‘Pasta’-BilitiesCover Story
September 26, 2021
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
For years, local enthusiasts of Italian cuisine would salivate as television commercials showcased the delicious menu options that have made Olive Garden such a popular dining destination across the country.
However, until the restaurant opened its first Hawaii location nearly a year ago in Ala Moana Center, the only way local patrons could get their “O.G.” fix was to make a stop at the restaurant as part of a vacation or business trip to the continent. After years of anticipation and waiting patiently (sometimes!), Olive Garden continues to serve up its popular entrées, desserts, salads, soups and appetizers within the Hookipa Terrace of the bustling shopping center.
“From the day we first opened our doors last October, the amount of positive feedback has been absolutely amazing,” says Jasmine Luecke, general manager of Olive Garden’s Ala Moana location. “Guests have commented on how long they’ve been waiting for Olive Garden to reach the islands, and now that we’re here, they’re thrilled even more so with the opening of our second location in Kapolei. We have a ton of regular guests that dine with us weekly, which makes us really happy because it shows we’re doing something right.”
Olive Garden’s iconic breadsticks are a necessity when dining at the restaurant, and are usually the first thing guests ask for. Luecke notes that the breadsticks are complemented by adding one of Olive Garden’s housemade dipping sauces ($5.49 regular; $7.49 large): marinara, five-cheese marinara or Alfredo.
Tour of Italy ($24.99) is another Olive Garden staple, as Chicken Parmigiana, Lasagna Classico and the signature Fettucine Alfredo come together on one plate. The trio is perfect for anyone who wants a taste of all three.
The aforementioned Chicken Parmigiana ($22.49) is an Olive Garden classic featuring house made marinara and a side of spaghetti. Lasagna Classico ($20.99) is constructed with layers of pasta, Parmesan, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and Olive Garden’s housemade meat sauce.
Shrimp Scampi ($22.99) is prepared in a zesty garlic sauce and tossed with asparagus, tomatoes and angel hair pasta. Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara ($24.99) features spaghetti tossed in a creamy sauce with bacon and roasted red peppers.
“‘We’re all family’ is what Olive Garden is really about,” Luecke says. “We treat every guest like family and put heavy focus on providing the best guest experience possible, especially during times like these. Our atmosphere, piping-hot food and amazing guest service all play a part in making sure our guests are leaving with that ‘wow’ factor that keeps them coming back.”
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Olive Garden team has remained “positive and hopeful” during these strange times.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have the amazing staff and guests that we do, they make our jobs easy,” Luecke says. “We offer takeout as a secondary option for those who want to enjoy our food in the comfort of their homes. Our main focus will always be the safety and health of our guests and staff members, in addition to following all mandates.”
General manager Jasmine Doropan will lead the team at Olive Garden’s Kapolei location, which is slated to open soon.
“We’re coming up on our one-year anniversary, which is very exciting,” Luecke says. “We’ve had an amazing year and we are looking forward to the opening of our second location in Kapolei. We want to send out a huge thank you to our leadership team as well as our staff members for their dedication and hard work.”