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RED LOBSTER OPENS FIRST RESTAURANT IN RONKONKOMA
New Restaurant Offers a Menu Filled With Fresh Seafood

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (August 8, 2005) — On Monday, August 15, Red Lobster will unveil its first location in Ronkonkoma.  The new restaurant will feature a dynamic menu that includes a variety of fresh fish entrées, live Maine lobsters, the company’s healthy LightHouse Menu and its award-winning kid’s menu, as well as an assortment of traditional Red Lobster favorites.

The 242-seat, 7,562-square foot restaurant is located at 5010 Expressway Drive South (a half mile east of Hawkins Avenue).  Employing 125 crewmembers, the new Ronkonkoma Red Lobster will offer dinner at 4 p.m. on opening week. Beginning August 22, guests can enjoy lunch at 11 a.m. and dinner at 4 p.m. 

“We are proud to be a new neighbor in the Ronkonkoma area.  Our enthusiastic crew looks forward to serving guests the freshest seafood in a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere,” said Brian Duffy, a 20-year Red Lobster veteran and the general manager for the new Ronkonkoma restaurant.

Fresh Seafood on the Menu
Guests at the new Ronkonkoma restaurant can enjoy flavorful seafood dishes that include shrimp, scallops and crab, as well as the company’s signature, fresh live Maine lobsters straight from the restaurant’s lobster tank.  Also offered are oysters on a half shell (available seasonally and served raw or steamed with traditional cocktail sauce) and steamed clams (one dozen clams served steaming in a rich roasted garlic sauce) as well as traditional Red Lobster favorites.

Red Lobster  also will offer select cuts of fresh fish, including salmon, tilapia, rainbow trout and sole in thick, skinless portions – always fresh and never frozen.  These selections can be grilled, broiled, fried or blackened and reinforce Red Lobster’s reputation for offering the freshest, best-tasting seafood at a friendly price.

LightHouse Menu
For the many health-conscious Americans who seek foods that are low in fat, calories or carbohydrates, the Ronkonkoma restaurant offers Red Lobster’s “LightHouse Menu” that provides guests with nutritional information for some of Red Lobster’s most popular menu items.  The menu lists more than 30 items – including numerous entrées, accompaniments, side dishes, dipping sauces and beverages – with the caloric, carbohydrate and fat content for each.

Nutritionists advise consumers to eat more seafood since it is such a healthy protein.  In fact, the American Heart Association recommends people eat seafood at least twice a week as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.  Plus, federal advisers recommend Americans eat more fish and fewer refined grains such as white bread.  They also say the amount of salmon and other fish containing heart-protecting Omega-3 fatty acids should be doubled to two servings a week.

Award-Winning Kid’s Menu
The Ronkonkoma restaurant also will offer a kid’s menu that includes grilled, steamed and traditional favorites..  Based on these new choices, Child Magazine named Red Lobster one of the “Best Restaurants for Families.”  Also, Restaurant Hospitality magazine named Red Lobster the Grand Award Winner in last year’s annual “Best Kids Menu in America” competition.  

Still Hiring
In anticipation of its opening, Red Lobster is hiring for all hourly positions.  Those interested in applying for a position should apply in person Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ronkonkoma restaurant, or call (631) 580-2864 for more information.

About Red Lobster
Red Lobster has over 670 restaurants in North America and more than 63,000 employees.  The company served more than 141 million guests in fiscal 2005 (ending May 29, 2005) and enjoyed total sales of $2.4 billion.  Diners have recognized Red Lobster as the nation’s best seafood restaurant for 17 years in a row in nationwide polls by Restaurants & Institutions magazine. 

The company is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI).  Darden also owns and operates Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill and Seasons 52 restaurants.  For the Red Lobster nearest you, call 1-800-LOBSTER or visit www.redlobster.com.

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