"It was just a big family being out," says the restaurant manager of the "laughing" group

By Bob Meadows and Lesley Messer
Updated June 30, 2008 05:10 PM

Perhaps bread sticks soothe nerves?

Jessica Simpson, 27, met beau Tony Romo’s parents on June 27, when all of them had dinner at an Olive Garden in Janesville, Wisc.

Romo, 28, who grew up in nearby Burlington, was home to play in a golf tournament.

But making a reservation at the Olive Garden surprised even the restaurant s general manager. “We thought it was a big joke,” said Doug Belfanz. “Jessica Simpson’s not going to the Olive Garden in Janesville, Wisconsin!”

Yep, actually, she did. Simpson, wearing a casual blouse and blue jeans, walked in holding hands with Romo, who wore a T-shirt and baseball cap.

Simpson had wine with her three-cheese ziti, but seemed more interested in Romo.

“She scooted up next to him during the meal,” says Belfanz. “They were acting like a couple.”

After dinner, they posed for a photo with the staff and signed autographs. Sneaking out through the kitchen, Simpson complimented the chefs on the meal.

“They were laughing,” Belfanz says. “It was just a big family being out.”