GMRI, a wholly owned Darden Restaurant company, has bought
property and requested permits to build two new sites in the metro
The company acquired more than 21,000 square feet in the 50 Penn
Place east parking lot for $925,000 to build an Olive Garden
restaurant. Construction costs are estimated at $950,000 for the
7,700-square-foot building, which should be completed in early 2005.
Olive Garden will seat 215 and employ about 125 people.
Darden Restaurant also plans to construct a 7,000-square-foot
Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill on W. Memorial Road. With its rustic
lodge decor, the estimated $950,000 site would seat 250 and employ
about 120. Construction for Smokey Bones is scheduled to begin Sept.
6, with an anticipated completion date in March.
According to Smokey Bones spokesperson Joe Chabus, the Quail
Springs area is ideal for its chain, adding to its other two
subsidiaries represented on Memorial's restaurant row - Red Lobster
and Olive Garden.
The Quail Springs Mall is a strong draw for consumers, and we
look for locations that are convenient for our guests, Chabus said.
And as the area continues to grow in both residential and commercial
locations, and the population is growing and retail establishment
are growing, as well, we are confident that this location will be
We look at the success that Red Lobster and Olive Garden have
there, and they've attracted a loyal following over the years, so we
feel that we'll be able to do well in the community.
Smokey Bones first opened its doors in 1999 in Orlando, and
continued to expand across the eastern United States with two
locations as far west as Missouri. This will be the first Smokey
Bones in the state, and one of the first built west of the
Mississippi River. Its menu prices are comparable to that of Olive
Florida-based Darden at present operates 10 restaurants in the
metro area, including its Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains and
Olive Garden spokesperson Steve Coe said the new restaurant at 50
Penn Place, or 1844 Northwest Expressway, will be built in a Tuscon
Farmhouse design, modeled after its restaurant in Italy, with a
stone exterior and extensive interior stone and woodwork.
Officials doubted the restaurant's footprint would put a crimp on
parking at 50 Penn Place.
Terry Watson, the tower's property manager, said it now has 1,163
parking spaces available. Despite GMRI buying more than 21,000
square feet in the east parking lot, Watson said the 50 Penn parking
lot will be reconfigured when the Olive Garden is completed to
maintain 1,212 spaces. The retail and office tower is about 92
percent occupied. …