Critics taking a bite out of Olive Garden

Olive Garden likes to say, “When you’re here, you’re family.”

Lately, the family’s had a falling out.

That’s according to a dispatch from McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers remarking on the dwindling draw of the long-popular Italian dining destination.

Everyone from academics to (former) customers takes a shot at the chain.

One memorable line from a financial counselor who doesn’t go there anymore: “They pour subpar wine and play Dean Martin music and call it an Italian restaurant.”

Executives at the restaurant’s parent company wouldn’t dish for the article, but it’s noted that changes are in the works, including a remodeling and a menu re-do. There’ll be new ads, too.

Olive Garden, owned by the same folks who run Red Lobster, still had more than $3 billion in sales last year, and it’s more than a few plates in front of category runner-up, Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

Still, while industry analysts say a fix is possible, they also say it won’t be easy.

15 comments Add your comment


January 26th, 2012
12:03 pm

olive garden—mediocre, overpriced food—not even close to “italian” — just frozen stuff they ship in and heat up. Eat real italian at local places who know how to prepare it. avoid the rip off chains.


January 26th, 2012
1:57 pm

The one and only time I ate at Olive Garden was in 1998 at the Barrett Parkway location. Afterwards, I felt like I had eaten a pound of wall paper paste with ketchup on it. It was absolutely horrible. I marvel at how long they have been able to persuade people to eat there WHEN there are so many good privately owned Italian restaurants in the Atlanta suburbs. HINT: Try La Strada on Johnson Ferry Road in Marietta!

Good Italian?

January 26th, 2012
2:09 pm

Anyone know any authentic, high quality Italian restaurants in the Kennesaw / Acworth area???


January 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

I love the commercial where they say they send their chef’s to their school in Italy! Anyone ever heard of false advertising! The food is horrible, rather eat at McDonalds! Go to La Strada on Johnson Ferry Road it you want real Italian or take a trip to Italia!

Independent voter

January 26th, 2012
3:05 pm

mediocre at best.. but their endless soup and salad is better than fast food burgers for a quick $7 lunch.. more garlic is what most Italian restaurants do.. not when in Atl. though too many good authentic local places..


January 26th, 2012
3:51 pm

I love OG. Like independent voter said, soup and salad is a deal! I usually get the chicken alfrado and it runs 10.99. A lot cheaper than most “real italian ” places.

don't bother

January 26th, 2012
9:08 pm

just buy some frozen “italian” stuff at walmart and heat it up–it’s the same stuff you get at olive garden and you will save a bundle. Plus, you can buy better wine at walmart for $5.99 / bottle than the stuff they sell by the glass at olive garden for $5.99 half a glass).


January 27th, 2012
6:08 am

Used to think macaroni grill was the best until serving size was cut in half and prices were not. Both OG and MG offer decent tasting food but no value! Try rosaritas on 41 in front of Walmart.


January 27th, 2012
11:55 am

The one in Macon is in a terrible part of town.They need to rethink some of there locations.


January 27th, 2012
1:16 pm

THE BEST homecooked ITALIAN in ATL ,,,, Consistantly Excellent…
Buckhead Italian Market and Bakery
3655 Roswell Rd NE
Ste 106
Atlanta, GA 30342
Neighborhood: Buckhead

(404) 467-9217


January 30th, 2012
11:58 am

Ippolitos on Barrett Pkw in the same shopping center as Olive Garden has great italian food.


January 30th, 2012
1:56 pm

Tuscany, in Woodstock/Towne Lake, isn’t a chain and prepare their menu from scratch. It’s decent, with a distictly Tuscan influence.


January 31st, 2012
5:49 pm

I was at the Olives garden up in marietta and having a good time with my lady friend I thought. Then I left some money on the talbe for us to go to Bingo at the VFW and I went to the resteroom. When I came my lady friend was gone and the dang waiter took my money and it was all the money I got and I never scene a bill yet. So then he tried to say I was a deadbeat and they was calling the police and I don’t take guff, so I left out. But then found out my lady friend done took my car. So I was walking and it took me an hour to get to the VFW and it rained a bit. Then there my lady friend was with a dude who was a Air force cook and did not see the S-H-blank-T that I did over there. So then I took my keys and call the Olive Garden and tell them they best have my money when I come back. Then when I get back, the cops arrest me. And the marsela chicken was tuff and nasty.


January 31st, 2012
5:51 pm

No wait a minute. My bad it was Carrabs. Olive Garden is alright but they once ask me to order something else cause I ate five bowls of salad.


February 1st, 2012
8:54 am

Yeah I gotta hold uf some of that crap. Werent no good. I think I know who do tha cookin their….Chef Boyardee