I know I know, if you like Olive Garden you’re darn excited, if you don’t then you’re probably thinking “seriously, another eatery?”. It opens this Monday, March 23rd at 4pm in Stroudsburg in the Best Buy/Old Navy/Panera Bread shopping center. For the first week it will only be open for dinner starting at 4pm, the following week they should be open for their regular lunch/dinner schedule.
Just a few years ago the strip of 611 from the Crossroads to Main Street Stroudsburg was a lot quieter. Crossroads (not to be confused with the crossings) use to be a highly trafficked area for truckers as an active truckstop/rest area. Over the past few years the area across from the main truck stop has become a retail center that contains a Lowes, Kohls, Chilis, Red Robin and Longhorn Steakhouse. In process where the truckstop there is a Red Lobster, AT&T and Giant supermarket going in.
Heading towards Stroudsburg there’s a strip mall going in on the left that so far just contains a Dunkin Donuts(imo you can’t go wrong with a few more DD’s). If you keep going you’ll see that where there use to be trees(if you haven’t visited in awhile you’d probably be shocked) there’s clearing after clearing making way for who only knows…When you get almost into town that’s where the Olive Garden is going – it’s a relatively new shopping center with an Old Navy, Borders(I think), Best Buy, Five Guys Burgers, Panera Bread and Five Below. Due to the economy both the Starbucks and Linens and things are already gone. Sidenote – KB toys and Waldenbooks in the Stroud mall have also fallen to the times.
Personally, I like having the options and would love to see an Outback Steakhouse go in as well(I know with Longhorn and Texas Roadhouse opening not too long ago it’s not that needed but I still love me some Outback).
The way I see it is the Poconos are changing – they had their shining moment years ago of resorts and celebrities and over the years that has greatly faded. It feels like the area is getting overcrowded at times, which honestly I think it is, but if it’s going to build up I’d rather see some larger companies coming in then just strip malls of lousy stores. Extra people means extra traffic, extra crime(the shootings lately are getting more absurd/frequent), and less trees…but in the economic downfall we’re going through should anyone really complain that there’s more jobs being created and more tourists coming which in the end means more money all the way around.