N.D. writer takes viral fame (and snark) in stride

  • Article by: CURT BROWN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 10, 2012 - 5:32 AM

Longtime Grand Forks columnist Marilyn Hagerty is "in a dither" over all the fuss about her Olive Garden review.

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KristianaMar. 9, 12 1:18 PM

How refreshing - a woman writer with experience, age, and wisdom actually gets respect in a culture that largely worships only youth and fluff. Thanks for the story!

gearrunrMar. 9, 12 1:33 PM

To be honest, I don't get what all the fuss is about either. I clicked the link and read the article, so I guess I just added to the fuss, but can't figure out for the life of me what got it started, or why it continues.

mjcmspMar. 9, 12 1:48 PM

I don't get it... I read her 'review' if you can even call it that - there was nothing witty or sensational or anything that would explain why this is getting attention. Seemed more like rambling telling me what to expect at the restaurant - boring. What about the service? Food?

ande8502Mar. 9, 12 1:55 PM

To be fair she's not really getting any respect...people are laughing at her, and her small town naivete. I feel bad for her.

frankfurterMar. 9, 12 2:04 PM

What is hilarious - the amount of people who do not get why this review went viral. #1 - It resembles something that would be printed in the onion. #2 - Everyone else in the civilized world knows that olive garden is a terrible, commonplace chain restaurant. And the tone of this elderly woman's review was as if she was writing a review for the Four Seasons in midtown New York. Except it's Grand Forks and she's making a big deal about a new olive garden coming to town. If you still don't get it, go back to your hot soup and matlock.

malachyMar. 9, 12 2:07 PM

Her straight-forward, non-snarky, non-self-important review is a perfect mirror - and contrast - to contemporary journalism (especially softer pieces on food/music/film/etc) and to the need to filter everything (consumed and produced) through an irony filter. I wish that most journalism was this well-written and straight-forward.

swmnguyMar. 9, 12 2:08 PM

I read the review. It's a good-natured, well-intended description of what it's like to go have a meal at Olive Garden. Many of us don't need to read a newspaper to have a pretty good idea what to expect, but the review wasn't written for us. It was written for people who don't eat out much, and worry that they might spend time, hassle and money they really can't spare, and might not enjoy it. To that audience, it's a helpful review.

If you were a big-city "foodie" and regularly read the incredibly arcane reviews of high-fashion food places, this would be a really funny review. To the sort of people who talk about leather and chocolate notes in their wine, and make knowing inside jokes about how tiresome Paprika can be, the very idea of a review of Olive Garden is hysterical, I guess.

If Ms. Hagerty gets a trip to New York to eat at some of the finest restaurants there, good for her. I'd love to read her reviews, and compare them to the high-end sophicates' reviews. Wanna bet which review would tell you more about what it's like to eat there?

donotbugmeMar. 9, 12 2:13 PM

I am quite certain that Olive Garden is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks. That also goes for East Grand Forks.

pondguyMar. 9, 12 2:16 PM

It was a rather comical review for anyone who has been to an olive garden OR anyone that lives in an urban area.

bigdaveyMar. 9, 12 2:24 PM

I think all there is to 'get' here is that the whole package - 85 year old woman reviews chain restaurant and proclaims it "....the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks. It attracts visitors from out of town as well as people who live here." screams HICK, and it is being viewed as quaint by some, while the others all snicker. Even Bourdain gets it, but prefers to nod smilingly towards the quaint. Hey, I'm not taking sides here, but that's all that makes any sense to me. And I'm sure all the 'serious' eateries in Grand Forks are overjoyed at not being the 'largest and most beautiful." There are some, aren't there? Last time I ate in GF, it was a Garbage Plate at the Red Pepper!


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