Even recognizing that wherever there is an Olive Garden there is probably a better, more authentic Italian restaurant (perhaps several) within a short distance, Olive Garden seems like one of those places everyone loves… even if they’re afraid to admit it.
Yes, the food isn’t The Best, but it’s still usually very good, and the “authenticity” of the food is not something anyone is arguing is their big selling point.
There is something comforting about the consistency.
If you love and always order the Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo, for instance, you can rest easy knowing it will be pretty much the same whether you order it in Pennsylvania or in Oregon, y’know?
Dining at Olive Garden is like getting a degree in popular culture, rather than literature. But everyone needs a bit of popular culture once in awhile, right?
~ Someone Smart
Beyond that, I think a huge part of the love so many people have for The O.G. (that’s what the kids are calling it these days, I like to tell myself) comes down to three simple words.
Every budget-conscious diner can tell you that you’ll be hard pressed to find a tastier and healthier cheap meal than their all-you-can-eat Soup/Salad/Breadsticks meal.
Someday maybe I’ll share how to make an O.G. salad or (due to what will likely be much higher demand) their divine breadsticks… but for this week I thought I’d share something that I just tried making myself at home for the first time, which is my favorite of the O.G. soups — the sausage/potato/kale based Zuppa Toscana.
It’s surprisingly quick and easy, and I was delighted to find it tasted just like the Real Thing.