HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- UPDATE (Apr. 24):
The Olive Garden nearly completion in Harrisonburg now has an opening date: May 22, 2017.
The new restaurant will be led by Stephen Walls as General Manager and will accommodate over 250 guests.
It's also expected to bring more than 150 new jobs and is currently hiring for all non-management positions, including servers, bartenders, line cooks and more. You can apply at this link here: http://www.olivegarden.com/careers
The Harrisonburg Olive Garden will open with the new 'Tastes of the Mediterranean' menu through the national company.
A hiring event will be held at the Harrisonburg Valley Workforce Center this Wednesday to fill many of the job openings at the store. You can learn more about that event through Facebook here.
UPDATE (Dec. 15):
After months of anticipation for the Olive Garden coming to Harrisonburg, we now know a little more about its construction.
According to the media relations department of Olive Garden, the restaurant is scheduled to open in summer of 2017. An exact date has not been nailed down yet.
Construction began in November on the site of the former Best Western, just southeast of the Harrisonburg I-81 cloverleaf interchange (Exit 247-A).
The Krispy Kreme built across the road, where Shoney's used to stand, was originally scheduled to open on December 13 but has been delayed until January 10.
UPDATE (Sept. 1):
The Best Western in Harrisonburg closed its doors forever Wednesday, paving the way for a new business in the city.
The owner of the neighboring Domino's Pizza said the Best Western was a partner of theirs for years and will be greatly missed, but the owner also looks forward to the new developments on the corner of E. Market Street (Rt. 33) and Burgess Road. The site is just southeast of the Harrisonburg I-81 cloverleaf interchange (Exit 247-A).
Construction of Krispy Kreme has already started where the Shoney's used to be. Olive Garden will be built after the Best Western is torn down. To manage the expected increase in drivers, a traffic light will be added to the intersection near Domino's.
According to Mary-Hope Vass, the Harrisonburg city spokeswoman, site plans for the Olive Garden have been approved and architects are working on revisions for the building permits.
UPDATE (Aug. 10):
The plans for an Olive Garden in Harrisonburg continue to develop.
Harman Properties, a Harrisonburg-based company, manages the properties where both Olive Garden and Krispy Kreme are expected to come to the "Friendly City." WHSV has been tracking developments on both since February.
WHSV's Katie Caler talked with Randy Harman on Wednesday about the progress of construction for the two restaurants.
Yesterday, WHSV reported that ground is set to break soon on the location of a new Krispy Kreme restaurant in Harrisonburg, which we originally learned about around the same time as Olive Garden. Those details can be found through the 'Related Stories' section of this article.
In February, Harman Properties confirmed through Harman Realty, its management firm, that it was in talks with Olive Garden to bring the restaurant to Harrisonburg. That original announcement can also be found in the 'Related Stories' section.
Now, Harman said that Krispy Kreme has been given the green light and they are beginning to move dirt at the site of the old Shoney's in Harrisonburg, which will be the location for the new restaurant.
It was previously said that if Olive Garden were built, it would go where the Best Western Hotel is right now at 45 Burgess Road.
Today, we know that the Best Western which currently stands on-site will officially be closing on August 30. From that point, Harman will go through a liquidation process and demolition will likely start sometime in October.
However, that does not mean Olive Garden has the green light for construction. Darden, the company which owns the Olive Garden restaurant chain, is still working through site plans and building permits, etc. before they can get the green light to build.
The details may seem complicated, so here is a simplified version of events:
Krispy Kreme is officially being built at the site of the old Shoney's in Harrisonburg. The process of construction is already beginning there.
Olive Garden has not been greenlit to be built, but plans for the restaurant are under review. It would be built on the site where Best Western currently stands. Best Western will officially be closing on August 30.
WHSV is looking more into this story to provide the latest updates.