One of America's Next Great Restaurant Brands Brings 150 Jobs and New 'Lighter Take' Menu to Vernon Hills, Ill.

Guests can get first bite of Maggiano's made-from-scratch, Italian-American cuisine at Westfield Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills starting July 21.

VERNON HILLS, Ill. - July 18, 2014 // PRNewswire // - Touted in 2014 by Entrepreneur as "one of the next great restaurant brands," Maggiano's Little Italy® is bringing the authentic, Italian-American menu, generous family style portions and distinct ambiance the brand is known for to Vernon Hills, Ill., as well as a new lighter take on classic dishes. On Monday, July 21, the doors open and welcome guests to Maggiano's first restaurant in the city and 47th location nationwide at Westfield Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills.

The restaurant seats approximately 300 guests and will be home to 150 Maggiano's teammates including Executive Chef Arturo Alvarado, who leads the scratch kitchen, and General Manager Ron Darnell, who oversees restaurant operations. With additional locations in Naperville, Oakbrook, Schaumburg, Skokie, and the original Maggiano's Little Italy in downtown Chicago, the Vernon Hills opening brings the total number of people employed by Maggiano's in the Chicago metropolitan area to more than 900.

On any given night, guests will see Chef Alvarado serving up a diverse array of signature pastas and baked specialties like Maggiano's Famous Rigatoni "D" ® as well as rotating seasonal dishes. The kitchen is also one of the first to offer the brand's new 'Lighter Take' menu which features new preparations of classic dishes including Chicken Parmesan and Fettuccine Alfredo, delivering the same flavors and generous portions with at least one-third fewer calories.

Another menu feature Maggiano's brings to Vernon Hills is "On The House Classic Pasta," which sends guests who order one of eight handmade pastas home with a second Classic Pasta of their choice, compliments of Chef. Since launching this guest favorite in 2009, the brand has given away more than 11 million Classic Pastas, keeping true to the thriving spirit of generosity which originated in Little Italy neighborhoods where no guest went home without leftovers in their hands.

Wine enthusiasts will enjoy pairing authentic Italian-American dishes with varietals they cherish or newly discovered favorites from a selection of more than 50 acclaimed wines including Salute Amico, an exclusive partnership with world-renowned Ruffino winery. Maggiano's hospitable teammates can also recommend a premium twist on classic, handcrafted cocktails like The Perfect G+T and signature Elderflower Collins.

"We are excited to invite our friends and neighbors into Maggiano's to enjoy classic Italian-American food made with care and served in an atmosphere reminiscent of authentic Little Italy," said Darnell. "Our talented teammates bring established traditions of generosity and making people feel special to the communities we serve, and whether guests are looking to celebrate a special occasion with us or just let our chefs do the cooking on a weeknight, Maggiano's at Westfield Hawthorn will deliver a memorable dining experience."

Maggiano's was established by renowned restaurateur Richard Melman in downtown Chicago in 1991, recreating the welcoming environment, classic Italian dishes and hospitable service of Little Italy neighborhoods from 100 years ago, such as Taylor Street in Chicago, the North End of Boston and North Beach in San Francisco. Today, the brand, which was also named the "Nation's Favorite Casual Dining Restaurant Chain" in the 2013 national survey by Market Force, satisfies millions of guests in restaurants from coast to coast.

Located at 307 Hawthorn Center in Vernon Hills, Maggiano's offers lunch, dinner, carryout and delivery options. The bar and dining areas are open from 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Thursday; 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon – 9 p.m. on Sunday. Premium Happy Hour is offered all day Monday – Thursday in the dining room, bar and lounge, and features $3 premium draft beers, $5 wines by the glass from the prestigious Coppola winery and $6 specialty cocktails. From 3 – 6 p.m., guests can also enjoy $4 flatbreads. Ample parking is available. For more information or to make a reservation, call Maggiano's at 847-918-0380 or visit www.maggianos.com.

About Maggiano's Little Italy® 

Maggiano's Little Italy® specializes in Italian-American cuisine served in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Maggiano's menu features both classic and contemporary recipes – authentic pastas, signature salads, prime steaks, fresh seafood, regular chef specials and specialty desserts. Maggiano's 47 locations nationwide offer lunch, dinner, delivery and carryout service. Banquet spaces for special occasions are also available at select restaurants. Maggiano's is owned and operated by Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT), one of the world's leading casual dining restaurant companies, serving more than one million guests daily. Brinker owns or franchises more than 1,600 restaurants in 31 countries and two territories. In addition to Maggiano's, Brinker owns and operates Chili's® Grill & Bar.

Follow news about Maggiano's on Facebook (www.facebook.com/maggianos), Twitter (http://twitter.com/maggianos), YouTube (www.youtube.com/maggianoslittleitaly) and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/maggianos). For more information, please visit http://www.maggianos.com.

SOURCE Maggiano's Little Italy

Contacts:

Toni Antonetti
PR Chicago
847-949-0097
toni@prchicago.com

Ashley Johnson
Maggiano's Little Italy
(800) 775-7290
ashley.johnson@brinker.com

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