Joliet's Olive Garden: Here's When It Should Open

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JOLIET, IL — For many years, people in the area poked fun at the notion that Joliet, the third-largest city in Illinois and the self-proclaimed City of Champions, would ever attract an Olive Garden Italian restaurant to open. Then, everything changed on Nov. 8, 2021.

Nov. 8, 2021, which was a Monday, became the day that Joliet officials revealed an Olive Garden would be built along Route 30 near the Interstate 55 exit. The Olive Garden would mark the second major development at The Boulevard. Costco opened in November 2021.

“I’m happy to hear this announcement today,” Joliet’s two-term Mayor Bob O’Dekirk remarked last November. “This project has been pursued by the city and past mayors, and I am glad to have played a role in bringing Olive Garden to Joliet.”

Find out what’s happening in Jolietwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

🤳: Hey Siri, how do you say “I love you” in Italian? 📱: Never-Ending Breadsticks from Olive Garden.
— Olive Garden (@olivegarden) September 1, 2022

Aside from the start of excavation work in April, this week marks the biggest construction push for the new Olive Garden. Construction officials told Joliet Patch the new Olive Garden near the Interstate 55 exit could open for business in early February.

Construction officials told Joliet Patch that the new Olive Garden could be open for business around the beginning of February. John Ferak/Patch

Belisle Construction Inc. in Crest Hill is overseeing the project.

Find out what’s happening in Jolietwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Belisle has built several Olive Gardens across the country in recent years. Simultaneously to Joliet, Belisle is building a new Olive Garden in suburban Lombard, according to Belisle Construction Superintendent Joe Platt, who grew up in Plainfield.

Platt told Joliet Patch he is happy to be building the new Olive Garden for the Joliet and Plainfield area, knowing how much buzz there’s been over the years about getting an Olive Garden to open here.

“This is our hometown, we’ve got to make it perfect,” Platt told Joliet Patch.

Platt said crews began the concrete work last Friday.

“It will be poured this week, hopefully by Thursday,” he remarked.

Construction officials told Joliet Patch that the new Olive Garden could be open for business around the beginning of February. John Ferak/Patch

Joliet’s new Olive Garden restaurant will be nearly 8,000 square feet, according to Belisle Construction’s Jason Hage.

“This is the newer model, too, and it’s going to be nice inside,” Platt added. “It will look different than Naperville and Bolingbrook.”

From now on, motorists driving along Route 30 or heading to the Costco store at The Boulevard will notice considerable construction over the next several months, Platt said.

Let’s 👏 get 👏 this 👏 bread 👏 (and never-ending soup or salad).
— Olive Garden (@olivegarden) September 16, 2022

Tentative plans call for the restaurant’s wall installation next week. That will be followed by roofing and mechanical. There will be stone exterior for the sit-down Italian restaurant.

“This should be one of the biggest announcements ever. It should satisfy the thousands that have been hungry for the presence of Olive Garden for the past dozen plus years,” remarked Mike Paone, Joliet Chamber of Commerce vice president, last November.

Paone went on to say, “it goes to show that a national chain that has long been sought is taking notice of all the positive developments and revitalization of the restaurant industry.”

Related Joliet Patch coverage:

Joliet’s Olive Garden Construction: It’s Really Happening?

Olive Garden Plans Joliet Restaurant Opening In 2022

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