Food in the News: Olive Garden

Olive Garden is having a moment.
Not only does the Italian chain restaurant have a terrific lunch deal, but they are also in the spotlight due to an 85-year-old woman and an arena football team. Read on to learn more about why Olive Garden is trending…and not just because of their awesome breadsticks. Mmmm…breadsticks…

I don’t know about you, but there is at least one time a year when my old friends want to meet up somewhere other than a bar, and that place usually ends up being the Garden. There is something about bottomless salad that just keeps you coming back. The awesome salad dressing. Those croutons. The soup. The spinach dip. And oh, those breadsticks.

Unfortunately, there is at least one group of people who may not be back due to bad memories. Stories are circulating about an entire arena football team being cut during a dinnertime visit to good ol’ Olive Garden. Say it ain’t so! I can’t imagine getting bad news over those delicious breadsticks, but there you have it. I hope they at least got to try a couple of different bowls of soup first. Why don’t you try our copycat recipe for their Zuppa Toscana soup?

The owner of the arena team (the Pittsburgh Power) fired all 24 members of the team at the Orlando, Florida Olive Garden. “Mid-statement, all the players got up and left,” former team member Beau Elliott told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. I guess they never got to dessert.

Last week we heard about 85-year-old Marilyn Hagerty, a writer who reviews restaurants for the Grand Forks Herald. Never has a restaurant review gone viral the way hers did. Some mocked Hagerty for her sincere review of a chain restaurant (“Tuscan farmhouse” in style, she wrote) while others were happy to see a review of a restaurant that the 99% can afford and enjoy. Let’s be honest: many Americans never have the opportunity to visit a big city, let alone eat in the newfangled “It” restaurant; Hagerty obviously reviewed a local place that many people enjoy for their deals and chain Italian fare. Apparently the location has been packed since Hagerty has appeared on The Today Show and Piers Morgan, amongst other media outlets.

My favorite part of her review?

“At length, I asked my server what she would recommend. She suggested chicken Alfredo, and I went with that. Instead of the raspberry lemonade she suggested, I drank water.”

Smart lady!

Until next week (still dreaming of those breadsticks),


*Photos Courtesy of Olive Garden

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  • Megan

    Too funny! I love all the recipes from OG!

  • Wendy


  • Suzy

    We live in a more rural area and waited forever until last year we finally got our own Olive Garden!

    I love to go their for lunch. Minestrone and salad! Mmmm!

  • Betty Loomis

    We had a good meal at Olive Garden in Indiana. Our town was very small & mushroomed. We waited until after the rush of opening then went in for dinner. We had a long wait for our dinner. When I took the first bite all my pasta lifted off the plate by my fork like a pie. The whole top of my husbands order was courved with onions & believe me he likes onions! We tried it later & it was almost as bad. We will never go back.

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