North Dakota Restaurant Review Goes Viral
Why would an Olive Garden Review put North Dakota on the national news map? Because, sometimes, an Olive Garden Restaurant is the new big thing. Now Marilyn Hagerty even has her own fake twitter. That, my friends, is how you know that you have arrived!
I grew up with a grandma who was an amateur food reviewer. She did not have a newspaper column, but she did write a weekly family letter. In that letter she would let us know much of what she ate in the previous week. She really liked it when she went to Bob Evans on her birthday because she got a percentage discount based on her age . . . and she got free cake. I remember when Grandma’s sister, Elizabeth (our Lizzie’s namesake), had her first burrito (it may have been from Taco Bell, it may have been at a family member’s home) and she was over the moon with it. She called it a burrto.
When the news broke this week after Grand Forks Herald columnist, Marilyn Hagerty, age 85, became a national sensation after writing a review of Grand Fork’s brand new Olive Garden Restaurant, I pretty much imagined my grandma writing that review.
And for those of you who have never experienced the living on the moon experience that is North Dakota: although Olive Garden has been a part of American culture for 30 years, Bismarck just got one in 2008 . . . and it was front page news. So, when Grand Forks, North Dakota opened an Olive Garden in 2012, it was big news. Marilyn had been to an Olive Garden restaurant before, but seriously folks, this is big news for Grand Forks. In the words of Hagerty:
All in all, it is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks. It attracts visitors from out of town as well as people who live here.
Admittedly, I get annoyed when I see all of the attention going to the big chain restaurants. I rarely eat at them. I eat at an Olive Garden on average once a year and am underwhelmed every time. The problem is that I’m a decent home cook. Possibly a bit better than decent. To take my entire family to dinner at a venue such as the Olive Garden would cost nearly a week’s worth of groceries here. If I’m going to blow that much on one dinner (and we do occasionally), I’d rather have a casually paced meal in quiet Pirogue Grille, where the menu is fresh, seasonal and local. I can make chicken alfredo in my sleep, and my kids can heat up frozen bread sticks.
As for the Grand Forks restaurant scene, I’d prefer to see places like the Toasted Frog get more attention, but then again, I just can’t picture my grandma having a late lunch or early supper there. She was more likely to be enamored of the endless soup, salad and bread sticks at the Olive Garden.
I think it is great that Mailyn is getting her 15 minutes of fame. She even appeared on today’s CBS This Morning via satellite from Fargo. I say way to go!