Food News

Why Do These Reviewers Love Olive Garden?

​Whether we're talking about the Olive Garden's "five worst dishes" or Anthony Bourdain boiling with rage when he drives past one, the chain's bottomless breadsticks have incited loathing in South Florida and elsewhere.

Not so in Grand Forks, North Dakota or Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where two local papers describe the chain as "pleasant" and "impressive" this week.

Written by reviewer Marilyn Hagerty, the Grand Forks review has gone viral. Her unironic description of the chain that "has gained a following since 1982 with its ample portions and relaxed ambience is known for its classic lasagna, fettucine Alfredo and chicken Parmigana."

At her location, there is "a fireplace that adds warmth,""raspberry tea that was recommended," and, of course, "two long, warm breadsticks." As for the decor, "All in all, it is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks."

As peculiar as the Grand Forks review, is a second from Baton Rouge, a Cajun mecca. "I am not a food snob," wrote reviewer George Morris yesterday. Among accolades, he writes, "The bread sticks are warm, soft, and pleasing, and the salad is pretty simple --lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, olives, croutons, peppers, and a tangy Italian dressing-- but satisfying. It's an excellent warmup to a meal."

"Pleasing," "satisfying," and "good," pepper the prose of "Olive Gardens offer consistent, pleasant meals." 

We might not agree, though we've got to hand it to them for finding a place they genuinely enjoy when, apparently, there's not much else in town. And I've been craving carbs anyway. I think I've found my spot for today's lunch. At least it's less depressing than Taco Bell.

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