Olive Garden apologizes for not allowing U.S. flag

Olive Garden is apologizing for refusing to allow an 80-year-old Kiwanis Club member to display the U.S. flag at an Alabama restaurant.

The City of Oxford website.

The City of Oxford website.

The Kiwanis Club in the east Alabama city of Oxford had planned a banquet, but Marti Warren, of Anniston, said she wasn’t allowed to bring the flag or a banner into the building.

Warren, in a Fox News interview, said, “This is not my country. This is not my country I grew up with.”

Warren, a former educator, told Fox she was outraged. “I was so angry. I felt like I had been slapped in the face.”

Oxford is located 90 miles west of Atlanta on I-20.

Management at the restaurant refused to answer questions concerning the incident, such as the size of the flag.

A media contact would not answer specific questions either, but did issue an apology via email.

“We are very sorry for any misunderstanding about this issue. We do not have a policy at Olive Garden concerning bringing the American flag into our restaurants. Some members of our team were misinformed about company policy by our corporate office. As a company we take responsibility for that and we regret it. We take pride in how we communicate to our restaurants and we are correcting this so it doesn’t happen again. Like all Americans we have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the American flag and everything it symbolizes, and we welcome anyone who wishes to bring the flag into our restaurants. In fact, we periodically provide American flag collar pins to our employees to wear while serving guests.”

The parent firm of Olive Garden,  Darden restaurants, which also operates the Red Lobster and Longhorn chains, is based in Orlando.

764 comments Add your comment

Tom T

October 12th, 2011
2:41 pm

I didn’t see anywhere that it said it was a huge flag. This is the United States of America. It’s a free country. If you don’t like that idea then move to England or Australia.

Jake

October 12th, 2011
2:41 pm

I care also. I will never spend another american dollar in olive garden.

BobDawg

October 12th, 2011
2:43 pm

I haven’t graced an Olive Garden in years… Went there one time and had a “garlic” hangover ever since… Now I will never step foot in there….

Midtown123

October 12th, 2011
2:45 pm

Who eats at that dump anyway?

CAptain Midnight

October 12th, 2011
2:46 pm

While we’re on the subject of boycotting restaurants, how about “Yum Foods” that own fast food places including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.They are lobbying the Kentucky state government to allow the use of food stamps in its restaurants. Next time you go in, you get to stand behind some welfare Queen with five kids loading them up on KFC on your tax dollars. Oh’ and you better not have a problem with it else she gone call her cousins’ on her “SafeLink” government phone and they gone be waitin for you in the parking lot. Only in America.

Rose Henry

October 12th, 2011
2:47 pm

From what the article says, the flag was being brought in as part of the Civic Organization’s program. A lot of these orgs pledge to the flag as part of opening their meetings.

disabled vet

October 12th, 2011
2:48 pm

I guess this country has forgotten we lived and died for our flag and country and what it stands for . we are losing our rights and religion of being American.

SIGMONICUS

October 12th, 2011
2:48 pm

TrishaDishaWarEagle, you’re such an anamoly: a skinhead with a vocabulary! Robert Jay Mathews was a common thief but you idolize him because he kicked a coupla bucks to some aryan extremists? I’m guessing you’re not down with flag-burning but can’t enough cross-burning. PS – Cam Newton is black.

freecountry

October 12th, 2011
2:48 pm

No one has to allow any type of flag into their restaurant. The whole country gets in a tizzy when they see a confederate flag, so why not just play it safe and don’t allow any flags. fair is fair. You go Alabama!

homer

October 12th, 2011
2:48 pm

Bluto, if Marti Warren and her kids and grand kids would be perfectly okay with sitting next to a group of Gay Pride revelers with their rainbow flags and banners in the dining room of the Oxford, Alabama Olive Garden, then I would say “Who would have imagined?”

I think you get the point. If it’s okay with the Kiwanis Club then where do you draw the line?

Dang it!

October 12th, 2011
2:48 pm

I started to comment that this was a store-level faux pas, but, I didn’t. The question now is will the manager get the ax or some corporate training?

Retired (Iraqi) Soldier

October 12th, 2011
2:50 pm

Olive Garden is no place for a U.S. flag.
Flags are meant to be draped across the caskets of soldiers who were too stupid or too slow to get out of the way of incoming ordinance.
In other words, the flag is a symbol of stupidity, and Olive Garden has excellent pasta.

Fritz

October 12th, 2011
2:51 pm

Wow!!! I’ve been reading the comments on this and a number of other web sites and it scares the hell out of me. The number of “superpatriots” in this country is absolutely amazing. The flag is, after all, a piece of cloth with colors and figures printed on it. It is not some kind of holy substance. It is designed to represent our country, nothing more and nothing less. People have not died for the flag, but rather died because they were put into a situation where they were forced to fight for their life, and unfortunately lost it. I wonder how many “die for their country” people would make that choice if put up against a wall? In case you are wondering, yes, I am an Army vet with an honorable discharge. If my service didn’t give me the right not to get worked up about Olive Garden not letting a bunch of old duffs hang a flag on the wall, then what was it for?

Dave in Marietta

October 12th, 2011
2:51 pm

America is no longer the home of the free and the brave as the flag represents, among other things. It’s the home of the “if u aint just like me ur a komminist, now git out b4 I kill ya”.

God Hates Flags

October 12th, 2011
2:51 pm

This obscene flag that you love to cry over and pledge allegiance to is the reason God hates this country and the reason it is failing miserably.

LRAdams

October 12th, 2011
2:52 pm

There are a lot of military personnel stationed at the *Anniston Army Depot* and quite a few retired veterans. Anniston has one of the top VA Hospitals in the country. Oxford Alabama is about 8-9 miles away. The Olive Garden may have missed them* if so* they would be the men and women with missing limbs or prosthesis body parts.

Here is where a lot of them maybe found*

6 cemeteries in a city that has a population of 23,606. I wonder who is buried in these cemeteries. All they want is a little respect not praise* just resect.

Forest Lawn Gardens
aftercareplanning.com – 802 Golden Springs Road, Anniston – (256) 237-3611

Anniston Memorial Gardens
maps.google.com – 4000 US Highway 431, Anniston – (256) 820-4611

Maple Grove Cemetery & Chapel
maps.google.com – 4000 US Highway 431, Anniston – (256) 820-4058

Edgemont Cemetery
maps.google.com – 3555 Noble Street, Anniston – (256) 231-7640

Dogwood Trail Memorial Gardens
maps.google.com – 34 Hamric Drive East, Oxford – (256) 832-0606

Oxford Memorial Gardens
maps.google.com – 100 Mckibbon Street, Oxford – (256) 831-3133

Roswell Preacher

October 12th, 2011
2:53 pm

Fritz:
You can take your socialist-loving carp and go back to China.
These colors don’t run!
Go Dawgs!

Hearth

October 12th, 2011
2:56 pm

If any of you have ever served in the military, sometimes, the flag, IS the only thing to hold on too. There is nothing crazy about displaying the US Flag, regardless of the occasion.

Fritz

October 12th, 2011
2:57 pm

Roswell Preacher
“socialist-loving carp” ???????????

Proud American

October 12th, 2011
2:57 pm

The problem is that America is becoming everybody else’s country but ours!!!!!
We need more of the RED, WHITE, AND BLUE out there to show our love and respect for not only our country but for those that fight so bravely to protect us………………..those that are complaining about getting over it………………why don’t you put on the soldier uniform (fatigues) and go to battle everyday in another country where you don’t have the freedom to choose where or what you eat!!!!!
If you don’t like it here, and can’t appreciate the sacifices others make for you……………..PACK YOUR BAGS!!!!!!!!!!

Kirkwood

October 12th, 2011
2:59 pm

I, like a number of the other comments, care a LOT. Thank goodness Olive Garden (Darden Restaurants) already see the error of their ways and have printed an apology. Good for them.
It might not be an idol to some of the people who have slipped in here illegally or to some of those we should ship out immediately but to those of us who have fought for her it still means that she is worth fighting for . I further think that the person who refused to let them bring it in to the restaurant needs to be looking for work in China, North Korea, Iran or Venzuela. God Bless the USA !!!!

Joseph Castner

October 12th, 2011
3:01 pm

*who cares and jj* Olive Garden is NOT a private restaurant. They did not have a ‘private’ dining area. I care a lot about this deal. I’m a MARINE and I served ‘honorably and proudly’. When a company does this it burns me to the core. No where does it say what size flag it was. ‘Quit wrapping yourself in a flag’, ’stop treating the flag like an idol’, ‘go for hours without seeing an American Flag’. It’s comments like these that let me know that the people that make these comments don’t give a DAMN about this country. If you don’t like the Flag or what she stands for and represents, maybe you need to find another country.

GulfVet49

October 12th, 2011
3:01 pm

Maybe you snobs are offended by the display of our flag, that’s fine and dandy. I fought and bled for your right to say so and I am deeply offended by those type of comments. Just remember where your right to say so comes from.

CommonSense11

October 12th, 2011
3:05 pm

Let’s all leave fairy land for just a sec. Does anyone really go to Olive Garden for the “Italian experience”? NO! You go because you like to eat pasta and free breadsticks. I can’t remember a time when I pretended I was in Italy when I ate at the Olive Garden. We live in AMERICA – should it ruin our experience if there is an AMERICAN flag hanging in an establishment? Try living in Mexico or Russia for a while. You will probably come back waving your AMERICAN flag and wearing your red, white and blue shirt to sit down and enjoy a meal at Olive Garden!

William

October 12th, 2011
3:05 pm

The american flag stands for Freedom,Justice and Equality, but not those principles soley. It also stands for the genocide of the indigenous peoples, the kidnapping and suppression of African peoples and subsequent racial violence that has continued to this day. I for one cannot say that I respect and admire the flag for ALL that it represents. I do respect the IDEALS that it represents. Each individual should be allowed to express themselves as it pertains to the flag and what they feel it means to them, without reprise. Olive Garden has the right to not allow a patron to bring a flag into their establishment and that individual has the right to choose not to eat there. If we allow public outcry and public persecution to dictate our actions and beliefs ,then where are we as a nation?

Leann

October 12th, 2011
3:06 pm

To all of you IDIOTS that think the American Flag is just that, it represents so so so much more! We have family members who have died to give us the right for so many things, in the past, present and they will be fighting for our freedom for many years to come! An American Flag should be allowed anywhere, at anytime….period!!

AB

October 12th, 2011
3:06 pm

Wow really you should want to see an AMERICAN FLAG 24/7!! This is a free country & with as many women & men we have in the arm forces we should never say “its a private restaurant” Man be proud to be an AMERICAN!!

jope20

October 12th, 2011
3:06 pm

Are you liberal AZZ Holes for real….first of all thier food sucks with a captal SSSS. Coming from a proud Italian American….and yes any group who is there as a large grou, which OG knew were coming, should be allowed to place a flag on the table. If you illeterate people did some research it is not a OG policy. Do some research before you open your ignorant liberal moths!

mushroom garden

October 12th, 2011
3:07 pm

That is what they should call the place since just about abut everything they serve is mushroom based.

fOb

October 12th, 2011
3:08 pm

Apparently, the company called corporate, and corporate said “no.” I don’t know if the issue was the pole on which the flag was to be hung (were they worried someone would sue if they got hit with it or poked with it), or if the issue was that everyone was going to get up and recite the pledge (that could be a tad of a problem if everyone were eating and suddenly someone decided to bring a flag in and do the pledge–it would annoy me in the middle of dinner–as I’d feel obliged to stand and join in), or if the issue was the size of the flag (which might mess with the decorations if they wanted to hang it). If they do the same thing with any banner (maybe they won’t hang up a “Happy Birthday” banner either), then it kind of makes sense. We only have the side of the story coming from the Kiwanis member and an apology from Olive Garden about miscommunication–it’s hard to know what the actual issue was. I will bet, though, that it will not happen again and OG doesn’t seem particularly anti-flag.

jope20

October 12th, 2011
3:09 pm

WIliam are you for real??? What a stupid puke you are…go back to the dirtbag country you illegally came from!

T in Chicago

October 12th, 2011
3:09 pm

I think what is missing here is that OG catered a luncheon for an organization that is known to display the flag at all luncheons and then denied them that right when it was too late for the organization to reschedule their luncheon elsewhere. I’m sure OG still charged them for the catering. Would you cater a Shrine Circus luncheon and ban clowns? Really…. It’s not so much about the flag as it is good business. What was OG thinking when they bid on the catering?

Norman Keith

October 12th, 2011
3:11 pm

I am an american first and foremost, this country of ours is forgetting what it took to have the liberties that we possess. Freedom does not come cheap it is paid in blood. Less we not forget and by the way The American Flag, these colors do not run.
Where is the pride and patronage that we once had? I still believe in the american way of life and there is no other place I would rather be. I am a patriot and I love my american flag and have served in the past for what she believes in, freedom for all.
Thanks
NK

Legaltype

October 12th, 2011
3:12 pm

It’s so refreshing to see that everyone’s lives are so carefree that they had to pick THIS to fuss about. Don’t know about you all, but I have more things in my life to worry about than whether Olive Garden will let someone hang a flag in their restaurant.

ash

October 12th, 2011
3:12 pm

How many kids these days can recite the pledge of allegiance? Not that many since they took it out of schools. What happened to patriotism? No wonder this country is going in the pooper. People these days have no loyalty to their country. Olive Garden’s food sucked the last few times I went and it was over-priced. This is the icing on the cake. Good bye Olive Garden.

Taffys Mom

October 12th, 2011
3:12 pm

Like there weren’t enough reasons NOT to eat at Olive Garden. The food is loaded with calories and sodium. This is good to know. I never eat at the Olive Garden near our house and I will never eat there again.

RICHARD

October 12th, 2011
3:13 pm

OLIVE GARDEN and a few of you smart ass youngsters that have no respect for yourselves or your country.just do not get what this is about.

OBurruz

October 12th, 2011
3:14 pm

It matters to me also, fit with the decor, it fits well, who saved their A$$ during WWII, along with the rest of th European Nations! It should fit each one of their DECORS!!!

GulfVet49

October 12th, 2011
3:14 pm

Since this is an Atlanta Urinal-Constipation article one should expect this type of disrespect from the pathetic libtards that are on this blog. If you don’t like what I have to say that TS see the Chaplain you inelegant dullards.

Bob

October 12th, 2011
3:14 pm

It’s the Kiwanis Club, fer cryin’ out loud! I assume the club had made arrangements beforehand for X number of chairs, tables, etc. for their meeting. I also assume they were eating there. I additionally assume that any bozo manager who agreed to having a local charitable club use their facility for a meeting would bring their flags, etc.
YES, Olive Garden has EVERY right not to allow the flags. And the Kiwanis have every right to find another place to hold their meetings and pay for their food. A place where PC BS is not served with breadsticks.

nellie eggiman

October 12th, 2011
3:15 pm

if the person that didt want to let the man show the flag in his restaraunt, he shouldnt be in this country working let him go back to where he grew up in he has no right to do what he did and expect to stay here if he doesnt repect our beliefs and he doesnt need our money

SheilaG

October 12th, 2011
3:15 pm

I am all American and have great respect for the flag. I do feel that if they were having a banquet and wanted to fly the flag, they should have selected a restaurant with a private dining room. I would find the banguet itself to be disturbing if I was out for dinner.

SIGMONICUS

October 12th, 2011
3:15 pm

Hey jope20, speaking of doing your research…you misspelled “illiterate”…

Thank you!

October 12th, 2011
3:16 pm

To all the vets who fought, bleed, or died so that we can have the freedoms we enjoy, THANK YOU!!!

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:16 pm

A better reason to not eat at Olive Garden is to avoid the terrible slop they serve patrons

Captain Midnight

October 12th, 2011
3:16 pm

Proud American, well said sir.. Freecountry, you are mistaken sir, the whole country doesn’t go into a tizzy when the Confederate battle flag is displayed. Only liberals and the NAACP who’ve yet to figure out they have MUCH bigger problems than the Confederate flag. Which by the way is embraced by most “true” Southerners.

BILLY MAYS HERE

October 12th, 2011
3:17 pm

Screw the flag YES I SAID IT

paul phipps

October 12th, 2011
3:18 pm

Im will never darken their door again I loved olive garden but im DONE

Dave in Marietta

October 12th, 2011
3:18 pm

To all the chefs who made the crappy food at Olive Garden, we demand an apology.

jw

October 12th, 2011
3:20 pm

Perhaps the bigger issue is lack of RESPECT! Those who complain and deny your American Flag to be flown should A. Learn some RESPECT for your country or B. Move to another country. Those of you who question the meaning of the American flag click on the following link for a little refresher course on its meaning, http://www.lightamericaspirit.org/meaningoftheamericanflag.html Hopefully, this will help you open your eyes to America not just being one big melting pot for you to come in and reap ALL the benfits of living here and not showing ANY appreciation..but remind you that people faught and died for you to sit and complain about everything…I say get a life and show some respect. Shame on you Darden and Olive Garden, perhaps you need to be in Italy and not throughout the US….just sayin