11 Things You Didn’t Know About Olive Garden

My mom loves Olive Garden. She’s the type of person who will go to an Olive Garden in Italy. She visited me last year and when I took her to Manhattan, she asked me if we could have lunch at Olive Garden. “Mom,” I said. “We’re in New York. We can have good Italian food.” She looked at me with this defeated look — and I can’t say, “No” to my mom, so I took her to Olive Garden and I got to take home 2 bags of breadsticks. Good times. This MadTV Olive Garden commercial kind of sums it all up.

1. There is no “real” culinary institute in Tuscany. It’s a hotel. Surprised? No? (Me neither.)

2. Women in their 40s and 50s actively seek out to eat at Olive Garden. (Explains this phenomenon with my mom.)

3. Olive Garden served 612 million breadsticks and 165 million family style bowls of salad in 2009.

4. The average Olive Garden patron eats about 1 1/2 bowls of pasta.

5. A 2-year-old was served sangria. And probably wasn’t even carded.

6. Olive Garden was founded in Florida. Last time I checked, Florida is not Italy.

7. Okay, so people really want this Tuscany culinary school to be real. Olive Garden, make it a real thing.

8. In an effort to be more authentically capitalist, Olive Garden removed pork from their menu to add more chicken and beef, because Americans prefer chicken and cow to pig. They forgot B-A-C-O-N spells DELICIOUS.

9. Instead of having different items on different plates, Olive Garden, true to the American appetite for time-saving food, piles vegetables, meat and bread all into one dish.

10. Olive Garden is owned by the same company (Darden Restaurants) that owns Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse.

11. As of 2013, there are over 818 Olive Gardens around the world (and my mom has been to at least 10 of them so far). TC mark

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