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Olive Garden interested in Albany site

Hotel owner, public health downplay "negotiations" rumor.

— A consulting firm representing the Olive Garden family of restaurants has made inquiries about acquiring a hotel near the Albany Mall, but the owner of the property is downplaying assertions made by an Albany City Commissioner that “serious” negotiations are under way.

At a luncheon with the Albany Kiwanis Club, Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta said there were “serious” negotiations under way to put an Olive Garden restaurant at the present site of the Inn at the Albany Mall at the intersection of Dawson Road and Westover Boulevard.

Milan Patel, a representative of the investment group that owns the hotel, said there have been inquiries made, but to say that there have been serious negotiations was a stretch.

“To say that right now would be premature,” he said. “Companies like Darden Restaurants spend a lot of money and time doing their due diligence, and I think that’s what’s going on right now.

“We’re not razing a $3 million building on speculation.”

Marietta said he got his information about the Olive Garden from a recent Dougherty County Board of Health meeting in which Jim Pericaud, the head of Environmental Health, gave an update that included the fact that calls had been made on behalf of Darden Restaurants inquiring about site planning.

Carolyn Mashke, a spokesperson for the Southwest Public Health District, confirmed that Pericaud did speak to the board about a call from an Atlanta-based consulting firm but said no formal paperwork or other documentation had been received.

“Jim Pericaud did receive a call from the consulting firm representing the Olive Garden family of restaurants asking what would be needed if they were establishing a restaurant in the location of the present Inn at the Albany Mall,” Maschke said. “Calls like that, however, are fairly common, and it’s still very much unofficial. We haven’t received any follow-up documentation or paperwork.”

Olive Garden officials have had their sights on Albany for a while, but each time they look at a location, something has fallen through.

There are rumors that officials looked at a site off Nottingham Way and also looked at the former Hooters Restaurant on Old Dawson Road.

Still, when AlbanyHerald.com broke the story about Marietta’s comments early Wednesday afternoon, its Facebook page lit up with comments.

Polly Swilley Ball wrote, “Soup, salad, breadsticks! hooray!” after the story was posted.

Sonja Stidham posted, “Olive Garden is needed and appreciated. Would love 2 see it happen.”

Others were less optimistic about Albany’s ability to staff the facility.

“There is not enough qualified, dedicated people here to work to Olive Gardens standards,” Kyle Folds wrote. “Employees, not the restaurant, make the dining experience good or bad.”

Comments

GAgranny 2 years, 7 months ago

YES--bring an Olive Garden to Albany!! I heard this before but I am hoping that this time it happens.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 7 months ago

Roger could just be blowing political smoke out his you know what. Until the papers are signed, I won't believe it.

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TamewRod 2 years, 7 months ago

Might as well bring an Olive Garden in so all the people in Albany who crave microwaved fake Italian so bad can stop their whining.

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rock 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank you! Some body else in Albany who wants good Italian and not reheated Olive garden.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 7 months ago

Kyle Folds is very correct. Employees make the restaurant not the chain. I've been to the one in Newnan and they have a fantastic staff so the experience was very pleasurable and I went back many times after that and the service was great. Now the one in Columbus was a little iffy to me. I had a good experience the first time I went and the second time I went I ordered a pasta dish that was suppose to have shrimp, mushrooms and scallops in it and there were 3 scallops and NO shrimp at all. I told myself I wasn't going back to that location.

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Somebody 2 years, 7 months ago

If it's based on employees, they are already in trouble.

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richie 2 years, 7 months ago

write a note to Olive Garden and tell them they are welcome in Albany: Olive Garden P.O. Box 695017 Orlando, FL 32869

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rock 2 years, 6 months ago

The work force in Albany would destroy the restaurant. Crappy manners, bad service, selective service to thier black buddies and a demeanor that says you are here to pay me and not to spend your money prevails in 99% of albany restaurants. olive garden sucks, but add the Albany factor and it is a wreck waiting to happen.

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supersquawker 2 years, 7 months ago

Carabas is the place that's got it going on. Let's get them here! Much better than OG.

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Thunder62 2 years, 7 months ago

No doubt about it...Carrabbas is much better than the OG.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 7 months ago

Roger can't keep a secret to save his life!

Yes, I agree about the staff. The Outback here isn't as good as the others and most of the chains are a disappointment because of the lazy employee attitude around here. However, the exception is Chik-Fil-A.

I have worked for Darden Restaurants in high school and college and they are great employers. I hope for an OG here. It would be packed! Just hope the management would try to hire some quality.

I won't believe it until I see it. Whatever happened to Best Buy???

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yea1981 2 years, 7 months ago

Why would Olive Garden be interested in a site that has an existing business. That is a pretty nice hotel. Why not a empty site? Or heck the Bank of America site across the street. Such a rediculous article.

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J.D._Sumner 2 years, 7 months ago

The general theory is that the property is high value enough that they will demolish all or part of the hotel and build. Btw you might want to check your spelling before being so critical. Just saying.

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yea1981 2 years, 7 months ago

I assure you the spelling is a typographical error. It is not due to a lack of education. We can compare degrees if you desire.

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Moe 2 years, 7 months ago

Another reason to question Roger Marietta's judgement. "Serious negotiations"? Please.

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pberthoty 2 years, 7 months ago

I have been hearing this for over 10 years and always rumors. I agree with the Carrabbas statement, which is a better restaurant. I have not eaten at any Carrabbas where it has been bad. Carrabbas is part of the OSI Restaurant Partners chain that owns Outback, Bonefish, Roys and Fleming restaurants. We have had one of the best Italian restaurants in town for years on Slappey, Johnny Garganos.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 7 months ago

Don't forget the Pizza Shop downtown. I'm so glad they opened. I think they are better than the Olive Garden any day of the week. Garganos is good too.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 6 months ago

That is your opinion. I ordered Lasagna and got it frozen on the table. Sent it back and it was warm. Never will I go there!

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Puzzled 2 years, 7 months ago

Roger Marietta is a fool - time and time again.

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Jack_Frost 2 years, 7 months ago

Olive Garden has been "interested" in Albany for what? 20 years? It still hasn't happened, and until they're here, I won't believe it will. Everyone wants it though, so I'm not surprised Marietta is yelling that they're coming. Got to build up those brownie points during an election year.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 7 months ago

I have to agree with the other poster, sounds iffy to me. Why would Olive Garden want to build there. There are other sites much closer to busy bypass. Why not north Slappey area. This is probably political BS. I have been to Columbus OG and it was great. Now Longhorns in Columbus, go there to see bad service at a restaurant. Had the bartender as our waiter. Food was good, but non-existent service.

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colq123 2 years, 7 months ago

As usually the Albany newspaper did not verify their report concerning this issue. Olive Garden management acknowledged they have NO interest in the Albany GA area.

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patheticracing 2 years, 7 months ago

I would love to have a Olive Garden or Carabas here, but unless we get rid of Johnny Carrinos we are more likly to see a Carabas. See Olive Garden & Johnny Carrinos are owned by the same company so when ever you have one you do not have the other. Carriinos is not very good give me Gargano's any day over them & yes the son's food is not as good as his moms was. After the last time with OG looking @ albany & them trying to set them up w/ a piece land that had a drainage ditch down the center of it why would they want to come & plus good luck at finding good service people here.

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Somebody 2 years, 7 months ago

Having an Olive Garden in that location would cause a traffic hazard trying to get in and out when traffic is heavy.

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scooby62 2 years, 7 months ago

Why not use the old Harley Davidson buiding? A little renovation, and you can have a nice sized Olive Garden.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 6 months ago

I do not care for Johnny Carrinos because I do not like sausage in my Italian food. So guess we are stuck.

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deedub63 2 years, 6 months ago

I guess everybody forgot about Villa Garganoes.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 6 months ago

At lunch today, I overheard a man at the next table tell the restaurant's manager that he works for Darden Restaurants. After the manager left, I asked him to please let his bosses know that we desperately need an Olive Garden here. He told me to go to the website to put my preference under Comments, but also told me that Valdosta is getting one this fiscal year. If Valdosta is getting one, I doubt that they would plan two restaurants within 90 miles of each other, but you never can tell.

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