ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Olive Garden restaurant in East Anchorage -- Alaska’s first -- opened for business Monday afternoon, as a hungry crowd streamed through its doors.
By 2 p.m. Monday there was already a line outside the Italian-themed chain eatery at Anchorage’s Tikahtnu Commons mall, and by the time it opened at 4 p.m. there were about 50 people waiting in line.
The restaurant seats slightly more than 250 people, and on its first night open the wait to get in was about 90 minutes.
Olive Garden does not accept reservations.
The restaurant has created about 165 new jobs in town, including four managers.
Olive Garden won't be open for lunch until this weekend.
A second restaurant is expected to open at the Dimond Center by the fall.
"I love it, I love it, I love it," said Joyce Madley, just before she went inside the new restaurant for dinner. "Best thing to ever happen to Alaska."
Email Rebecca Palsha