North Dakota….where Olive Garden is king

March 7, 2012

Pepper Lowell, Restaurants

For those of you who don’t know, I’m from North Dakota.  I realize that by the end of this blog you will only remember that I am from South Dakota because really, it’s like North Dakota doesn’t even exist.  If it weren’t for the recent oil boom and the fact that I spent 18 years there, I would probably be on your side and think that North Dakota doesn’t exist either.

Did you know The Olive Garden is offering a 3 course Italian dinner for $12.95?? Did you know that The Olive Garden recently opened it’s 4th location in Grand Forks, North Dakota???  Did you know there was a line at The Olive Garden in Grand Forks through February??  Marilyn Hagerty does.  She is about the cutest food blogger ever and if my own grandma didn’t already love The Olive Garden I would adopt Marilyn as my excuse to go to The Olive Garden.   For Marilyn’s review of The Olive Garden she ordered Chicken Alfredo and A WATER!! She turned down the raspberry lemonade!  Who goes to The Olive Garden and turns down the raspberry lemonade!  Apparently the Grand Forks Herald needs to up her stipend. From where I’m sitting I think Marilyn should’ve ordered the alfredo, the lemonade and a g.d. tiramisu!

I feel like sort of a jerk for semi making fun of the 4th Olive Garden in North Dakota but it’s hard coming from a restaurant city like Denver where you are anxiously awaiting the latest Frank Bonanno experience or whatever else the latest celebrity chef has to offer.  New non-chain, amazing restaurants open on the daily here…it’s hard to keep up!

I will admit that Betty (she really is from South Dakota which actually is an actual state) and I are rather large fans of The Olive Garden and nothing says good ol’ college days like a Saturday afternoon consuming Applebee’s fajitas and mudslides so I’m not going to lie.  I’d be just as excited about The Olive Garden (or any other chain restaurant) in Grand Forks, ND…if I even remembered where Grand Forks was.  I’d also like to point out, the only ‘chain’ restaurant in the tiny NoDak town I grew up in is a Subway sandwich kiosk counter type thing in a gas station.

So bring on the Olive Gardens and the Applebees!  I can’t imagine Frank Bonanno is going to open a restaurant in NoDak any time soon…we’ll take what we can get.

, , , , ,


  1. Mama Monroe Says:

    The ladies at work force me to go to olive garden once every couple of months… and then I suffer PTSD and cold sweats as I relive the 9 months I spent working at the Fort Collins OG in 1999. FYI it’s true they really DO put crack in the bread sticks.

  2. Lori Says:

    I will always have fond memories of my lunch time trip to the OG with Pepper and Betty. The young boy waiter had no idea what he was in for that afternoon. Still amazed at how those ladies ended up leaving with a bag full of bread sticks and a ToGo container of Andes mints.

  3. roro Says:

    love it!

  4. Betty Steele Says:

    Maybe if you ever have free time again we could have a good ole fashioned all you can eat soup/salad/breadsticks. I know a certain turkey sandwich blogger that would be down.

  5. Pepper Lowell Says:

    ha! lori i’m so glad you brought that up…i had totally forgotten about that specific trip to the O.G.!

  6. Pepper Lowell Says:

    Betty-do they serve turkey sandwiches at O.G.??? Will the turkey sandwich blogger arrive at O.G. and pull an Earl’s and walk out??

  7. JC Says:

    “a restaurant city like Denver where you are anxiously awaiting the latest Frank Bonanno experience”

    I am glad i live in New York where I can just eat a good meal, i know it isn’t a restaurant city like Denver, i am not anxiously awaiting the latest Frank Bonanno experience

  8. betty Hodson Says:

    I am from Stanley ND. Maybe I will venture to your restuarant
    for breakfast. No one cooks a great meal like a nodak.

  9. Argette Says:

    So you had to make fun of someone who is probably a very nice older lady making a few extra bucks writing restaurant reviews and then all your snarky readers jumped on board.

    Maybe it’s a generational thing. I’m not quite 85, but I don’t find you funny.

  10. ter Says:

    I find their food to be too salty.

  11. Jim Says:

    I’ve suffered through enough epic fails at new, non-chain eateries to at least appreciate knowing what I’m going to get at Olive Garden. Sure, you can do better, but you can also do a helluva lot worse. I haven’t been to Denver in years, but if it’s the “restaurant city” you claim it to be maybe I need to find an excuse to get back.

  12. Mike ND Says:

    I find it easy to eat different types a things whenever I want here in ND.. I don’t need 1,000 restaurants to do that. I also like being able to leave my door unlocked at night. For someone who is from ND you sure don’t represent the state worth a shit. Talk about the nicest people and culture you will ever experience in your life. We like it cold is keeps all of you snarky assholes out of here.

  13. Mike ND Says:

    *We like IT cold IT… sorry for the typos above.. And I didn’t mean any offense to anyone on this forum. Simply name calling to the people referring to ND as an off the map hickville.. Anyone with that mindset, I urge you to never come to ND , we do not want you here. Especially the people who want to make fun of an 85 year old lady reviewing a restaurant…

  14. roro Says:

    hey mike, i live in north dakota. and i lock my doors everynight. if you think you still live in fairytale north dakota i urge you to look again. if i didn’t lock my doors i would have had some unwanted visitors last saturday night, and i’m not talking little furry animals. i’m talking strangers. and i think calling someone a snarky asshole is like the pot calling the kettle black.

  15. roro Says:

    and i don’t think pepper was making fun of the little lady, i think in fact she called her adorable.

  16. Mama Monroe Says:

    All the haters need to re-read the article.

  17. johnny Says:

    I had a friend who worked at an Olive Garden in West Virginia. No minimum wage for tipped employees, so she made like $2/hr. And, West Virginians are not the best tippers, believe it or not. Shocker, I know. I like the stuffed mushrooms though.

  18. Taylor35080 Says:

    It is a very well written article. The author does a fabulous job of reviewing the food and delivering
    Information to the reader – nutrional and allergy facts. In terms of quality of content and value of information, the author exceeds expectations. Who cares if the review is about Olive Garden? It was new to the area and the darling lady was just doing her job.

  19. bakkendispatch Says:

    What’s the food scene like in cities like Williston? Sounds like the boom has driven up food prices a lot, like everything else. Gotta be hard on the locals.


  1. Marilyn Hagerty's Olive Garden Review For 'Grand Forks Herald' Goes Viral - March 8, 2012

    [...] now operating in Grand Forks," she writes. Her piece seems first to have been picked up by The Denver Omelette, a food blog by a North Dakota native. From there, it made its way to Guyism, which described it as [...]

  2. Woman's Olive Garden Review Goes Viral – - AboutLifeX - Living News AggregatorAboutLifeX – Living News Aggregator - March 8, 2012

    [...] piece seems first to have been picked up by The Denver Omelette, a food blog by a North Dakota native. From there, it made its way to Guyism, which described it as [...]

  3. Woman’s Olive Garden Review Goes Viral Rhonn Mitchell Rhonn Laighton Mitchell - March 8, 2012

    [...] piece seems first to have been picked up by The Denver Omelette, a food blog by a North Dakota native. From there, it made its way to Guyism, which described it as [...]

Leave a Reply