Olive Garden Food Critic Marilyn Hagerty Returns With Another Review 8 Years After She Went Viral
"The salad was nicely chilled."
It’s been a long time coming, but viral food critic Marilyn Hagerty is finally gracing her fans with another enticing review.
This week, the 93-year-old from Grand Forks, North Dakota returned to the subject of her first viral review in 2012 — the town’s Olive Garden.
In a new article for the Grand Forks Herald, Hagerty takes viewers back to “eight years ago in February” when she first visited the Olive Garden and was naive to the fact that her review would be a hit.
“Little could I dream it would take me to New York City and a visit to the New York Times editorial staff,” she wrote, also shouting out the late Anthony Bourdain for noticing her work.
The critic recalled her first visit to the restaurant when she ordered a fettucini alfredo, upon her waiter’s recommendation, and went on to review her latest trip to the establishment.
“With strong memories, I went back this week to review the Olive Garden. I made the same order,” she wrote, sharing with readers that her pasta dish was $12.99 and 1010 calories.
Her earnest review continued, explaining that the “salad was nicely chilled” but lacked in black olives. “I asked for more,” she assured her fans.
Hagerty shared that her waiter was an aviation student at University of North Dakota and that the restaurant has a “friendly ambiance” and “attracts area people who shop in Grand Forks.”
Upon her visit, Hagerty met Olive Garden frequenters Glen and Nancy Weber of Starkweather, North Dakota. “They were enjoying cheese ravioli and classic lasagna,” she wrote of her new friends.
Hagerty described the restaurant as “nicely designed” with a fireplace that “adds warmth and welcome.”
“The menu features appetizers, homemade soup, pasta favorites,” she wrote. “There are tastes of the Mediterranean including salmon and shrimp along with chicken, beef and seafood entrees.”
Each of her reviews ends with a “report card” summarizing her experience. For her second review of the Grand Forks Olive Garden, Hagerty applauded the restaurant once again. “Quality of the food is consistent,” she noted.
She also raved that the “menu is uncluttered, brief and easy to read” and that the staff is “exceptionally friendly.”
While her Olive Garden reviews are what brought Hagerty into the spotlight, she seemed to be more excited by other chain restaurants.
Her 2014 review, “Buffalo Wild Wings offers busy, fun atmosphere” is much more positive, unlike her previous so-so account of Applebee’s.
“I mean, this place was jumping,” she wrote. “There was a platoon of nimble servers all wearing gold and black shirts. There were dozens of games on screens all over the restaurant and the bar.”
Overall, she was impressed with the food, except for the fries, which she described as “average.” She later learned from the assistant manager that the honey barbecue boneless wings are “hands down favorites.”
Hagerty’s only qualms were with the restaurant’s pace of service, “On the downside, the food at times seems too rushed and like fast food rather than a sit-down restaurant.”