Sometimes it seems like Westchester is a chain restaurant no-go zone.
The truth is, we just prefer to think of it that way. That identity has faded over the last decade or so, and today Westchester is actually home to quite a few chains: Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s on the higher end. (Ruth’s Chris and other steakhouses on the high, high end.) Mid-graders like Applebee’s and T.G.I. Fridays here and there. And fast food— well, you can’t escape that anywhere.
But in our defense, there seem to be far fewer chains here than many other parts of the country. And to the same token, many more independent restaurants. But chains aren’t all bad news.
Economically speaking, established chain restaurants like these have a huge impact on the local economy. Take the Olive Garden that opened on Friday at the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers: It will be 8,334 square feet and can seat up to 230 guests. That all translates into jobs, about 170 of them.
And no matter where you stand on whether the Olive Garden qualifies as “legitimate” Italian food, there’s one thing about it that’s undeniably appealing: The unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks lunch special for $6.99. Until now, you’d have to navigate to Poughkeepsie, Times Square; Danbury, Connecticut; or Ramsey, New Jersey, to get yourself there. No more.