Olive Garden is planning its first Hawaii location at Ala Moana Center.
After years of its TV commercials running in Hawaii, the Italian-American restaurant chain filed a $50,000 building permit for suite 3247, which is currently occupied by the Mai Tai Bar.
Representatives of Landry’s, the owner of the Mai Tai Bar and nearby Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., did not respond to Honolulu Star-Advertiser requests for comment. An employee for Bubba Gump’s said the restaurant is closing on Jan. 26 to make way for Orlando Fla.-based Olive Garden. It’s unclear what will happen to the Mai Tai Bar.
“What a great first location for Olive Garden in Hawaii at the state’s largest and most prominent shopping center,” said Duane Shimogawa, real estate project manager for Avalon Group. “From a real estate perspective, this will only help draw other big-named mainland restaurant and retail chains to Hawaii. Be on the lookout for not only additional Olive Garden restaurants in the state but also others as well.”
An Ala Moana spokeswoman deferred comments to Olive Garden.
Bubba Gump opened at Ala Moana in 1999 as part of a more than $50 million upper level expansion in the Diamond Head and Ewa wings.