Olive Garden Has a New Site

Beverly Bush Smith is a free-lance writer who regularly covers restaurant news for The Times Orange County Edition.

The Olive Garden chain of restaurants (with several locations throughout Orange County) has come to the Saddleback Valley, with a new location in Laguna Hills at El Toro Road and Moulton Parkway. The owners have remodeled a building formerly occupied by a catering firm, making it lighter, more open and adding greenery. Because of its proximity to Leisure World, explains Manager Scott Rockenmacher, this Olive Garden offers its lunch menu (basically half portions) in the evening as well as at noontime. There are also daily specials for senior citizens ($6.95 to $7.95, including soup or salad, bread sticks and vegetables) which run throughout the day. Specializing in Italian fare, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Friday, and Saturdays till 11 p.m. Lunch prices, $3.95 to 7.95; complete dinners, $6.95 to $13.95. The location: 24256 El Toro Road. Information: (714) 583-1020.

Probably every restaurant-goer has encountered poor service at one time or another. But if Geril Muller has his way, fewer restaurants, at least, will be faltering out of ignorance. Muller (yes, the Geril Muller of Chez Cary and Ambrosia fame) has formed a new company, Restaurant Training Service, together with Doris Crandall, Southern California restaurant writer and restaurant consultant. They offer a 24-hour "service tuneup" consisting of six weeks of classes, four hours each week. The program, targeted at both high-end and low-end restaurants, is held in the banquet room of Antonello Ristorante in South Coast Plaza Village. The cost is $144 per student. For more information, call Geril Muller at (714) 730-1304 or Doris Crandall at (714) 533-7644.

The Wang family, celebrating its 17th year in business in Costa Mesa, recently added some new dishes to the menu of the Golden Dragon. The fried vegetable deluxe appetizer wraps vegetables, shrimp, pork and chicken in an huge, crispy egg roll. Walnut Shrimp and Five Lucky Shrimp join a list of almost 100 entrees, priced from $5.50 to $12.50. The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 2023 Harbor Blvd. (714) 642- 7162.

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