Marilyn Hagerty's Olive Garden Review

Marilyn Hagerty's Olive Garden Review

Updated Apr 19, 2013 at 08:05PM EDT by RandomMan.

Added Mar 14, 2012 at 05:47PM EDT by Don.

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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[1] of North Dakota published a review by the 85-year-old food critic Marilyn Hagerty titled "Long-awaited Olive Garden receives warm welcome."[1] 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[7] 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.

Notable Developments

The day after the review was published, it was callled "unwittingly hilarious" by the men's lifestyle blog Guyism[11] before making its way on to a number of websites including the food blog Eater[9], the tech culture blog Boing Boing[8], the Internet humor site UpRoxx[10], the Internet tabloid Gawker[2] and the content-aggregator blog The Huffington Post.[6] A Reddit[12] 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.

Hagerty's Reaction

On March 8th, Hagerty was interviewed by the Village Voice[3] 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":

On March 9th, the Grand Forks Herald[4] 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[13] 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."

Her entire trip is currently being chronicled via a Twitter[15] account and a blog.[14]

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Top Comments

Mr. Mediocre
Mr. Mediocre

The "Humor" here is that she reviewed something as mundane and common as The Olive Garden, as most critics review new and interesting eateries. It would be like a five-star chef giving a serious review of McDonald's Big Mac.

In other words, this isn't funny.


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