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(Grand Forks Herald)   Residents of Grand Forks, ND are lining up for blocks to enjoy a one-of-a-kind European dining experience that finally puts the city on the culinary map with its unique brand of Tuscan refinery. It's called "The Olive Garden"   (grandforksherald.com) divider line 357
    More: Fail, Olive Garden, Tuscan, Europeans, North Dakota, Red Lobster, wine list, refineries, farmhouse  
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14045 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Mar 2012 at 5:52 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-03-07 01:59:07 PM
As a fellow midwesterner I can say that though the Olive Garden here is by no means "the largest most beautiful restaurant in town" it is constantly busy. All day, every day. Never underestimate the desire of folks in the midwest to enjoy bland food
 
2012-03-07 02:15:35 PM
The Olive Garden -- What you get when General Mills decides to make a dining experience.

*shudder*
 
2012-03-07 02:17:58 PM
Refinery is right
 
2012-03-07 02:33:40 PM
So much of that review read like mediocre fiction. It just needs a few tweaks to kick it up a notch.

Setting the scene:
"As I ate, I noticed the vases and planters with permanent flower displays on the ledges. There are several dining areas with arched doorways. And there is a fireplace that adds warmth to the decor." A warmth I was missing since James left me.

Defiance:
"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." Underneath her veneer of pleasantness, I could sense her combination of scorn and ennui.

Finality:
Olive Garden is part of the Darden chain of restaurants that also operates Red Lobster. There are about 700 restaurants, including four Olive Gardens in North Dakota's major cities. You can walk into any of Darden's chains, and it feels like you're anywhere, and nowhere. You're removed from any context of geography, or personality. After all I had been through, it was a relief.

For the first time in years, I was completely anonymous. I chuckled softly to myself, and ate a breadstick.

The End.
 
2012-03-07 02:49:32 PM
I would throw stones because at least my small town has a family owned red sauce place but folks around here still brag that we not only have a McDonalds but a Subway as well.
 
2012-03-07 04:17:43 PM

NuttierThanEver: I would throw stones because at least my small town has a family owned red sauce place but folks around here still brag that we not only have a McDonalds but a Subway as well.


I was with a South Carolinian, and she took us to a local Italian restaurant. I called it a "red sauce" place, and she got insulted for some reason. In NYC, that's just our generic term for a step up from a pizzeria, but a step down from "fine Italian dining." I was kinda confused by the situation.
 
2012-03-07 04:23:38 PM

RodneyToady: NuttierThanEver: I would throw stones because at least my small town has a family owned red sauce place but folks around here still brag that we not only have a McDonalds but a Subway as well.

I was with a South Carolinian, and she took us to a local Italian restaurant. I called it a "red sauce" place, and she got insulted for some reason. In NYC, that's just our generic term for a step up from a pizzeria, but a step down from "fine Italian dining." I was kinda confused by the situation.


Just be glad you didn't try and ask for a soda instead of a Coke, you likely wouldn't have made it out alive
 
2012-03-07 04:29:43 PM

RodneyToady: So much of that review read like mediocre fiction. It just needs a few tweaks to kick it up a notch.

Setting the scene:
"As I ate, I noticed the vases and planters with permanent flower displays on the ledges. There are several dining areas with arched doorways. And there is a fireplace that adds warmth to the decor." A warmth I was missing since James left me.

Defiance:
"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." Underneath her veneer of pleasantness, I could sense her combination of scorn and ennui.

Finality:
Olive Garden is part of the Darden chain of restaurants that also operates Red Lobster. There are about 700 restaurants, including four Olive Gardens in North Dakota's major cities. You can walk into any of Darden's chains, and it feels like you're anywhere, and nowhere. You're removed from any context of geography, or personality. After all I had been through, it was a relief.

For the first time in years, I was completely anonymous. I chuckled softly to myself, and ate a breadstick.

The End.


Honestly, it reads like a column from the Onion.
 
2012-03-07 04:36:34 PM

Shostie: RodneyToady: So much of that review read like mediocre fiction. It just needs a few tweaks to kick it up a notch.

Setting the scene:
"As I ate, I noticed the vases and planters with permanent flower displays on the ledges. There are several dining areas with arched doorways. And there is a fireplace that adds warmth to the decor." A warmth I was missing since James left me.

Defiance:
"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." Underneath her veneer of pleasantness, I could sense her combination of scorn and ennui.

Finality:
Olive Garden is part of the Darden chain of restaurants that also operates Red Lobster. There are about 700 restaurants, including four Olive Gardens in North Dakota's major cities. You can walk into any of Darden's chains, and it feels like you're anywhere, and nowhere. You're removed from any context of geography, or personality. After all I had been through, it was a relief.

For the first time in years, I was completely anonymous. I chuckled softly to myself, and ate a breadstick.

The End.

Honestly, it reads like a column from the Onion.


i224.photobucket.com
 
2012-03-07 05:33:46 PM
"My first visit to Olive Garden was during midafternoon, so I could be sure to get in" And on account of the senior discount and Matlock's new 5:00 starting time.
 
2012-03-07 05:42:04 PM

RodneyToady: The End.


Thank god, I was starting to feel sorry for her.
 
2012-03-07 05:55:33 PM
As if people in the mid-west don't think good seafood comes from Red Lobster.

/see,I told you
 
2012-03-07 05:56:42 PM
I think it would be amusing to put a Sbarro in there too and watch their little noggins explode.
 
2012-03-07 05:56:59 PM
Just wait till they get a Bucca di Beppo.
 
2012-03-07 05:57:00 PM

jj325: As a fellow midwesterner I can say that though the Olive Garden here is by no means "the largest most beautiful restaurant in town" it is constantly busy. All day, every day. Never underestimate the desire of folks in the midwest to enjoy bland food


I used to work near a large shopping mall in San Francisco that also had a consistently packed Olive Garden, despite the scads of superior Italian dining choices a mere stone's throw away. I never quite understood the phenomenon.
 
2012-03-07 05:58:03 PM
She first brought me the familiar Olive Garden salad bowl with crisp greens, peppers, onion rings and yes - several black olives.

Really?
 
2012-03-07 05:58:04 PM
This entire article reminds me of that Family Guy clip where an old guy is talking at a nursing home about how things used to be and an old guy in the crowd turns to his friend and says "I enjoy things I remember."
 
2012-03-07 06:00:15 PM
Remember, this is the Upper Midwest. Long John Silver's wins awards for "Best Seafood in Town" from local papers all the time.
 
2012-03-07 06:00:21 PM

Heamer: jj325: As a fellow midwesterner I can say that though the Olive Garden here is by no means "the largest most beautiful restaurant in town" it is constantly busy. All day, every day. Never underestimate the desire of folks in the midwest to enjoy bland food

I used to work near a large shopping mall in San Francisco that also had a consistently packed Olive Garden, despite the scads of superior Italian dining choices a mere stone's throw away. I never quite understood the phenomenon.


When I lived in NW Indiana there was a constant claim that the Merrillville Olive Garden was the busiest in the US - driving past it at any time any day it was always packed, so I tended to believe the rumor.
 
2012-03-07 06:00:50 PM
On a hot summer day, I will try the raspberry lemonade that was recommended.

And what a day that will be. Fast living in the summertime for all the cool kitties and hep cats.
 
2012-03-07 06:01:10 PM

Heamer


I used to work near a large shopping mall in San Francisco that also had a consistently packed Olive Garden, despite the scads of superior Italian dining choices a mere stone's throw away. I never quite understood the phenomenon.


mall : boutique :: Olive Garden : superior_local_dining_choice
 
2012-03-07 06:01:34 PM
That is honestly one of the funniest things I have read in a while.

It attracts visitors from out of town as well as people who live here.

I am sure it does, Marilyn. I am sure it does.
 
2012-03-07 06:02:08 PM

TsarTom: She first brought me the familiar Olive Garden salad bowl with crisp greens, peppers, onion rings and yes - several black olives.

Really?


She wouldn't have mentioned them if they were green olives,

Racist old bitty.
 
2012-03-07 06:03:04 PM

Heamer: jj325: As a fellow midwesterner I can say that though the Olive Garden here is by no means "the largest most beautiful restaurant in town" it is constantly busy. All day, every day. Never underestimate the desire of folks in the midwest to enjoy bland food

I used to work near a large shopping mall in San Francisco that also had a consistently packed Olive Garden, despite the scads of superior Italian dining choices a mere stone's throw away. I never quite understood the phenomenon.


It is for people like my wife, who likes Prego spaghetti sauce only.

She wants to take a trip to Europe before our kids get too old, but I will not go. The three of them would only want to eat American fast food, and I don't think I could stand the embarrassment.
 
2012-03-07 06:03:10 PM
Alright I'll be "that guy" and say that I actually like the Olive Garden. They're Chicken Scampi is pretty good.

But of course it doesn't compare to the thousands of Italian restaurants we have scattered all over St. Louis.

One of the big pluses about this city.
 
2012-03-07 06:03:37 PM
Come on, people, it's the best they've got.

There are about 700 restaurants, including four Olive Gardens in North Dakota's major cities.

Shenanigans! North Dakota doesn't have four major cities.
 
2012-03-07 06:04:51 PM
My town had lines around the block when Burger King reopened after an absence of several years. No, really.
 
2012-03-07 06:05:14 PM
I used to work near a large shopping mall in San Francisco that also had a consistently packed Olive Garden, despite the scads of superior Italian dining choices a mere stone's throw away. I never quite understood the phenomenon.

It called selling the people what they want.

As opposed to the hipper than thou crowd *telling* people what they want.
 
2012-03-07 06:05:26 PM
My server's paper hat was slightly askew in a jaunty style that seemed to imply exuberance without any irreverence. The menu had greatly expanded since my last visit, so I asked my carefree server what he would recommend.

"shiat, bee-yotch. I dunno. Get da Whopper meal or summin", was his reply, in a patois that I assume the restaurant's management has assigned to the staff in order to compliment the faux downscale appearance of the establishment.

My seat was clean and my table had a fresh vinegar scent to it, though I noted that my feet were stuck to the floor in spots and that someone had written a vulgarity in ketchup on the outside of the window.

I was quite impressed with the Whopper combo meal special. Not only was the price very appealing ($3.95 or $4.95 had I decided to "upsize" my drink and frenched fried potatoes, which I chose not to do) but the succulence of the beef patty and the generous amount of toppings on my hamburger sandwich would definitely make me want to come back to try their dinner specials.

/fine midwestern dining reviews
 
2012-03-07 06:05:38 PM
These and the New York/Chicago pizza threads. It's like clockwork.

Anyways, I've said this before but I'm an Italian* New Yorker who has no issue with the Olive Garden. It's fine for what it is. I haven't been to one in years and you can obviously do much better, but I'm not offended by its existence. The only problem I have is seeing the one in Times Square packed. I know people like familiar, there are better choices really, really close. And not necessarily crazy expensive ones. I see vacation as chances to branch out and that's the exact opposite of branching out.

*I'm actually half-Italian, but I barely know the other side of the family
 
2012-03-07 06:05:58 PM
My cousins wanted to eat there this last Saturday. we went elsewhere after hearing they had a TWO AND A HALF HOUR WAIT. God help us all.
 
2012-03-07 06:06:07 PM
"Grand Forks is the third-largest city in the state of North Dakota ... [with a] metropolitan area [population of] 98,461." ~Wikipedia

Yeah, I'd be excited about a new restaurant opening if I lived there, too. Anything to get the taste of lutefisk out of my mouth.
 
2012-03-07 06:07:09 PM

Mrtraveler01: Alright I'll be "that guy" and say that I actually like the Olive Garden. They're Chicken Scampi is pretty good.


As a former OG server, I would say that if you find yourself in one of those establishments, it's best to go with a sauteed dish like that. I wouldn't say it's great, but the chicken marsala gets the job done as well, again, in a pinch.
 
2012-03-07 06:07:47 PM
Had to double-check to ensure I wasn't reading an Onion article.

I'm not going to belittle people who eat at these suburban strip-mall chains, but they should never be confused for fine or authentic dining.

And I'm sure that even the small cities in the midwest must have their share of independently owned and operated restaurants.
 
2012-03-07 06:07:49 PM
The dining preferences of elderly midwesterners are funny and should be ridiculed because they differ from mine. Because I'm young and cultured. I ate Thai food for lunch, and I asked for chop sticks. Yeah, you heard me. Chop sticks.
 
2012-03-07 06:08:26 PM

Bathroom Samurai: Remember, this is the Upper Midwest. Long John Silver's wins awards for "Best Seafood in Town" from local papers all the time.


They should be honest," ONLY Seafood in Town!"
 
2012-03-07 06:08:27 PM
Thread Jack!



1.bp.blogspot.com



I just found a lady taking a dump out of her forehead in an image search and I had to share.
 
2012-03-07 06:08:53 PM

BigRightRear: As if people in the mid-west don't think good seafood comes from Red Lobster.

/see,I told you


About 10 years ago I had to spend a week in a small midwestern city where the Red Lobster was the best restaurant in town. I can't remember eating anything at all in that city, except for a big mac at lunch one time.
 
2012-03-07 06:09:03 PM
I eat at Olive Garden on occasion. The sauce is ok, but they typically over cook the pasta beyond al dente, so that's always disappointing. The salad and bread sticks are free and those are mediocre as well.

Basically, it's mediocre.
 
2012-03-07 06:09:11 PM
So do people feel the same hate for Red Lobster?
 
2012-03-07 06:09:37 PM

RoyBatty: So do people feel the same hate for Red Lobster?


Yes.
 
2012-03-07 06:09:48 PM
What's wrong with that? There's one a couple towns over that's all kinds of fancy.
 
2012-03-07 06:09:50 PM

wiredroach: My town had lines around the block when Burger King reopened after an absence of several years. No, really.


While I was in the Navy the little town I grew up in got a McDonalds. When I called home it was all they wanted to talk about. My roommates thought it was hilarious.
 
2012-03-07 06:09:59 PM

Shostie: RodneyToady: So much of that review read like mediocre fiction. It just needs a few tweaks to kick it up a notch.

Setting the scene:
"As I ate, I noticed the vases and planters with permanent flower displays on the ledges. There are several dining areas with arched doorways. And there is a fireplace that adds warmth to the decor." A warmth I was missing since James left me.

Defiance:
"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." Underneath her veneer of pleasantness, I could sense her combination of scorn and ennui.

Finality:
Olive Garden is part of the Darden chain of restaurants that also operates Red Lobster. There are about 700 restaurants, including four Olive Gardens in North Dakota's major cities. You can walk into any of Darden's chains, and it feels like you're anywhere, and nowhere. You're removed from any context of geography, or personality. After all I had been through, it was a relief.

For the first time in years, I was completely anonymous. I chuckled softly to myself, and ate a breadstick.

The End.

Honestly, it reads like a column from the Onion.


That was exactly my impression.
 
2012-03-07 06:10:24 PM
After my spouse and I got hitched legally (what with marriage equality and all) one of the locals threatened (offered) to help us celebrate by taking us to the Olive Garden or Applebees. I hope my face didn't show my horror. I've done both with my inlaws-don't need to again.
 
2012-03-07 06:10:41 PM
Fark stupid Olive Garden.


Go hit any small Italian place and get some real eats.
 
2012-03-07 06:10:57 PM

Mrtraveler01: Alright I'll be "that guy" and say that I actually like the Olive Garden. They're Chicken Scampi is pretty good.


Stop liking things people hate.
 
2012-03-07 06:10:59 PM

Mrtraveler01: Alright I'll be "that guy" and say that I actually like the Olive Garden. They're Chicken Scampi is pretty good.

But of course it doesn't compare to the thousands of Italian restaurants we have scattered all over St. Louis.

One of the big pluses about this city.


Well, that's very big of you to actually state your honest opinion instead of going along with the "cool" kids. I'll give you a tip, no adults think they are cool. They are mostly on automatic anyway. Mention anything of value and they will denounce it because their tastes are so much more refined and unique, like they are programmed to need reverse psychology.
 
2012-03-07 06:11:01 PM
We finally got a Sonics a few years back. It was impossible to get in there with such long lines. I think I waited like 6 months to try it, it was ok.
/still waiting for a damn jackinthebox.
//and a in'n'out burger
 
2012-03-07 06:11:19 PM

Louisiana_Sitar_Club: Thread Jack!



[1.bp.blogspot.com image 400x350]


I just found a lady taking a dump out of her forehead in an image search and I had to share.


Jesus that's disturbing.
 
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