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Marilyn Hagerty’s Olive Garden Review is an earnest restaurant review written by North Dakotan newspaper columnist Marilyn Hagerty which became the subject of celebration and mockery after being posted online in March of 2012.
On March 7th, 2012, the Grand Forks Herald of North Dakota published a review by the 85-year-old food critic Marilyn Hagerty titled “Long-awaited Olive Garden receives warm welcome.” In the review, Hagerty earnestly remarked that the chicken Alfredo was “warm and comforting on a cold day”, “the server was ready with Parmesan cheese”, and that the Olive Garden was the “largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks.”
The same day, the Denver, Colorado blog The Denver Omelette published a post titled “North Dakota….where Olive Garden is king” which mocked the Grand Forks Herald review and referred to Hagerty as “the cutest food blogger ever.” Shorty after, Daniel Malloy tweeted a link to the review which received 3 retweets.
— Daniel Malloy (@ajconwashington) March 8, 2012
The day after the review was published, it was callled “unwittingly hilarious” by the men’s lifestyle blog Guyism before making its way on to a number of websites including the food blog Eater, the tech culture blog Boing Boing, the Internet humor site UpRoxx, the Internet tabloid Gawker and the content-aggregator blog The Huffington Post. A Reddit post by user Andewz111 titled “Big happenings in Grand Forks, ND where an Olive Garden has finally opened; check out a local paper’s review of the restaurant” linked directly to the review and accumulated over 2,500 up votes in less than a week.
On March 8th, Hagerty was interviewed by the Village Voice and addressed some of the negative attention she had received from the review:
“I may sound a little on the defensive to you today because of the emails I’ve received. One was kind of snotty. But the other four or five were kind of friendly. But my daughter tells me I should go on Facebook and read all this crap. And I do not have time to let myself be bothered or read all that stuff. I have a Sunday column I’m doing now about a completely different subject. I don’t have time to sit here and twit over whether some self-styled food expert likes, or does not like, my column. The publisher likes it.”
Anthony Bourdain, the host of the American travel and food show No Reservations, tweeted a link to the interview in a show of his support for Hagerty against the “snarkologists”:
Very much enjoying watching Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty triumph over the snarkologists (myself included) blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad/…
— Anthony Bourdain (@NoReservations) March 8, 2012
On March 9th, the Grand Forks Herald revealed that the review had accumulated nearly 300,000 views within 56 hours and posted a video including an interview with Hagerty herself.
New York City Visit
On March 13th, Hagerty visited New York City for a publicity and dining tour. On her first day, she ate a “dirty-water dog” on camera during a press event with the New York Times. She remarked that the hot dog could’ve been “a little hotter” but that she liked the “combination of mustard and onions.”
Grand Forks Herald – THE EATBEAT Long-awaited Olive Garden receives warm welcome
Village Voice – Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Olive Garden Reviewer, Speaks
The Huffington Post – Marilyn Hagerty’s Olive Garden Review For ‘Grand Forks Herald’ Goes Viral