Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WTF with Olive Garden

So I have had a question in my head for quite some time now.  It’s not that important, but it has been nagging me for quite some time.  What is that question?  Well it’s simple.

What the hell is the obsession with Olive Garden?

I’m sure we have all seen it and wondered the same thing.  It could literally be a Tuesday night, at four PM and Olive Garden will have a full parking lot. 

This thought really hit me a few weeks ago when my girlfriend and I had decided to go out to eat.  Choosing a restaurant is sometimes more difficult than it should be, however that night we both agreed on Olive Garden.  That is when the ridiculousness started.

Upon arrival to their Wilkes-Barre location, somewhere around seven PM, we found that the place was jamming.  After several trips around their parking lot, with no spots open, I pulled into the adjacent Lowe’s Parking lot.  We parked and sat for a moment discussing the situation. 

While sitting there we noticed that there were a lot of cars at the end of the Lowe’s parking lot.  As it turns out the cars belonged to people that were parking there, crossing the street and going into, you guessed it, Olive Garden.  WTF?!

Why is this place so popular?  I understand that their food is not bad.  I don’t mind going there as they do have a decent menu.  I’m not going to bash their food as I have eaten it many times.

I have heard that pretty much all of their food is just microwaved.

A friend of mine told me that his brother went there for an interview as a kitchen staffer.  “He asked me, you know what was missing?” said Jeff Brown, a friend from work.  “An oven, he said all they had were microwaves.” 

I literally think that they could build an Olive Garden right next to another Olive Garden and that parking lot and restaurant would be full too.  Granted it was a Saturday night, but there were no activities going on in the area.  No hockey game, no concert, etc.  Why are so many people there all the damn time? 

Since we wanted Italian food, my girlfriend and I decided to try Leggio’s on 315 in Wilkes-Barre.  This was just about the best decision we ever made. 

There was a small wait, only about five to 10 minutes, but it was well worth it.  The staff was a lot friendlier and the food was way better.  They actually cook the food and it is actually delicious.  They bring you free garlic knots and it is nowhere near as loud as it is in Olive Garden.  Sometimes I feel like I’m screaming to talk to someone at my table in that place.

We enjoyed the food, tried one of their homemade desserts and even had leftovers that I took to work for lunch the next day.  The bill was pretty much exactly the same as it would have been at Olive Garden, but everything else was better!

So I suppose what I’m getting at here is that bigger isn't always better. 

We decided to try something local and new to us and it really paid off.  We found a place we really like to go that has great food.  Not to mention we are supporting a local business, not a large company that probably cares very little about the area that it’s in. 

Next time you decide on a restaurant, choose something different than the old chain restaurant.  You just might find something you like and avoid a lot of hassle in the process.  

Should you want to try Leggio's they now have two locations.  One at 1092 Rt. 315 in Plains Township (Phone number 570-822-0861) and the other at 64 E. Center Hill Rd. in Dallas, PA (Phone number 570-675-4511).