Olive Garden makes a home in Guam

NEW FLAVORS: A new addition to the Olive Garden appetizer menu are the Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms($12.99). Shrimp, scallops, crab and whitefish are combined with herb breadcrumbs, parmesan, romano and mozzarella cheese for a hearty stuffing. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

We’ve all seen the commercials of the never-ending soup and salad, the giant meatballs that are almost as big as your fist, pastas swimming in mouth-watering marinara sauce and warm, chewy bread sticks that melt when you take a bite.

Olive Garden has finally come to Guam and the nationwide franchise has brought with it the tantalizing dishes we’ve seen on TV.

Marketing director Jason Respicio said whether you’ve seen only the commercials or dined at the brand stateside, you won’t be disappointed when you visit their newest location at the Tumon Sands Plaza.

“One of the things we knew we wanted to mirror was the availability of what you will see on TV,” Respicio said. “If you have seen it on the internet, if you have seen it on TV, we have it here.”

Respicio works for Apple Pacific — the company responsible for bringing Olive Garden to Guam.  

Giants and kid-friendly dishes

One of the more popular dishes is the Tour of Italy: a medley of lasagna, chicken parmesan and fettucine Alfredo.

But Respicio said you might want to try out one of the Giant Italian Classics.

“It’s giant, it’s huge, it’s ginormous,” Respicio said. “It’s ridiculously massive in a good way.”

Diners can choose between the Giant Meatball, Giant Chicken Parmesan, or the Giant Four Cheese Stuffed Shells — all starting at $14.99.

For the smaller sized in your family, Olive Garden offers an extensive kids menu featuring “insanely cheesy” mac and cheese, spaghetti, pizza and chicken tenders.

Even the pickiest kid is sure to find something they like.

Pro parenting tip: Kids eat free on Mondays and Tuesdays!

Red, red, red wines

And while all your stateside favorites are on the menu, they also have something unique to the Guam location for the adults in the family.

“We have a total of 28 different wines,” said Respicio, who added that while it can be overwhelming to have such a long list of wines, your local Olive Garden has you covered.

Customers can pick three 3-ounce servings of wine and taste your way to finding a favorite.

Setting the scene

And while the menu choices are tailored to suit the giant and the not-so-giant appetites, Guam’s Olive Garden offers a variety of settings.

You can visit the bar for a great start to date night. “We have a fun dark smoky vibe here on the bar side,” Respicio said.

Or walk through the inner dining room to the Italian style courtyard, “so you get that bright open family experience.”

“It’s one of those experiences you can only get here at Olive Garden,” Respicio said.

Strong welcome

The restaurant is “one of the most successful franchises in the United States and a pillar in the Italian dining sector so that’s something we want to follow,” Respicio said.

“Once it came, the people responded. The reception was very welcoming.”

Bringing a national experience to Guam was part of the goal, he said. But the restaurant’s management has always kept its new home in mind.

 “It’s still Guam,” Respicio said.

And it is still the Olive Garden you remember.

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