Maggiano's Italian restaurant opens in Columbia mall

An Italian restaurant boasting hand-crafted, made-from-scratch dishes and original recipes opened its doors Monday at its newest location at the Columbia mall.

Maggiano's Little Italy can seat 289 patrons and is located on one of the corners of the mall's new open-air expansion.

The opening included a "pasta-cutting" event, in which a woven strand of handmade pasta was cut in place of a ribbon. Maggiano's also has restaurants in Annapolis and Chevy Chase in Maryland, and 46 nationwide.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who was one of a number of politicians on hand, said the addition of Maggiano's is an example of the progress made on the Downtown Columbia Plan, a master planning document for Columbia's Town Center approved in 2010.

"This is a really important piece of that pedestrian-friendly, walkable downtown that we have been envisioning," he said. "Maggiano's is going to be an immediate hit."

Steve Provost, president of Maggiano's Little Italy, said the restaurant's commitment to an authentic Italian experience sets it apart.

"We do it all in an ambiance and environment that brings to mind old neighborhoods like Little Italy in Baltimore, where Italian immigrants gathered more than 100 years ago to eat, celebrate and no one ever went home hungry," Provost said.

One feature is what they call the "On the House Classic Pasta." Anyone who orders one of Maggiano's eight handmade pastas goes home with a second pasta of their choice, compliments of the chef, according to a news release.

Maggiano's is operated by Brinker International, Inc., a restaurant group that also owns and operates Chili's Grill & Bar. 

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