The restaurants at Elmhurst’s new “Restaurant Row,” a formerly vacant lot next door to the Queens Center Mall, plan to open in October. DNAinfo writes that an Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Joe’s Crab Shack are all hiring workers, then the Olive Garden is scheduled to open October 27th and the Longhorn Steakhouse will open October 11th. There’s no set date for Joe’s Crab Shack yet.
The Mattone Group started construction on the new development earlier this year. (Their original plans called for a movie theater here, but it fell through.) The “restaurant row” plans caused controversy with local pols, who believed the developers weren’t upfront about the development to the community. There was also concern about increased traffic in the area.
Plans to build three chain restaurants on a 100,000-square-foot parcel of land next door to the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst aren’t making everyone happy. DNAinfo reports that Council Member Daniel Dromm is speaking out against the project, dubbed Queens Way Plaza, due to the lack of involvement with community officials. Community Board Four also believes that the developers, The Mattone Group, handled the details “in secret.” The Mattone Group previously planned to build a large movie theater complex at this site but never found an operator. Plans for a restaurant row emerged two years ago and the Mattone Group expects to open an Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and a Joe’s Crab Shack here this summer. While the project did receive Community Board approval, it hasn’t received extensive community vetting.
According to DNAinfo, the Borough President’s office will hold a meeting for the developers, Council Member Dromm and the Community Board to address the Council Member’s concerns.