Olive Garden: Presence of the American flag disrupts the dining experience

posted at 7:30 pm on October 12, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Confession: I’m writing this solely to prove to myself that I don’t let my personal prejudices keep me from writing about a glaring example of hyper-sensitivity, about a blatant missed opportunity to exhibit a patriotic spirit. I love Olive Garden. In fact, ever since college, my best friend and I have had a standing date to eat fettuccine at OG the first Wednesday of every month. Coincidentally, we were scheduled to eat there this very evening (we missed last week). The two of us have even tried unsuccessfully to replicate the exact taste of the restaurant’s recipes at home. Am I going overboard to express to you just how much I depend on them for a healthy dose of carbs? If I am, it’s only because The Olive Garden has itself gone a little overboard in its efforts not to “disrupt the dining experience.” In case you missed it on Drudge, here’s the story:

Officials with the parent company of Olive Garden restaurants say they’re sorry if a decision regarding an Alabama Kiwanis club’s desire to display the American flag caused any concern.

The comments come after 80-year-old Marti Warren of Anniston said she wasn’t allowed to bring an American flag into an Olive Garden for a planned Kiwanis Club banquet in the east Alabama town of Oxford.

Warren learned the night of the banquet that she wouldn’t be allowed to display the flag or the Kiwanis banner in the restaurant, she said. …

“To be fair to everyone and avoid disrupting the dining experience for all other guests, they’re unable to accommodate flags or banners of any type in the dining room,” according to the statement.

Poor Warren had to ask her fellow Kiwanis members to just picture the flag waving in the breeze as they said the Pledge of Allegiance. Here’s a bit of common sense for the Olive Garden: The restaurant in question is in America! Anybody eating at the restaurant would surely recognize that the inclusion of a United States flag in a Kiwanis Club display at a U.S. restaurant bespeaks no inappropriate arrogance or disruptive demands. This is a little like the Star Spangled Banner flap at little Goshen College. Olive Garden has every right to not display the flag: I just wish they would.

Olive Garden’s decision pains me for another reason, too: It seems to be at odds with the family-and-community-oriented image its ads project. Watch an Olive Garden commercial and you kinda assume the restaurant cares about providing a place in which families and groups can come together and experience a sense of belonging. The Kiwanis Club is one of a breed of once-robust-but-now-dwindling civic organizations that stood between the individual and the state, meeting certain needs of members without recourse to the federal government and reminding folks that, when they come together on a local level and for a specific purpose, they’re able to improve the quality of their own lives and the lives of those around them.

Any advocate of limited government has a vested interested in the flourishing of such groups. The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Messmore explains:

The story of the growth of the modern state is also a story of the quest for community. Progressive liberal leaders have tapped into man’s desire for a sense of membership and belonging and have capi­talized on it to promote an expansive role for the federal government.

Citizens who give loyalty to and gain identity from a variety of associations are likely to depend less on the state. Healthy political relationships go hand in hand with healthy relationships based on kinship, faith and locality.

The case for limited government can be strength­ened by acknowledging the fundamental human longing for a sense of belonging and recognizing that local participatory communities are best equipped to meet this need. The national govern­ment has an important role in protecting such com­munities, which includes preserving rather than absorbing their rightful authority and functions.

OG just flat-out missed a chance to be a “community player.” Maybe I’ll forgo my carb fix, after all.


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Comment pages: 1 2

darwin-t on October 12, 2011 at 8:20 PM

If you’re ever in Richmond Virginia and you like Indian food try India K’Raja on West Broad. Wife and I make it a routine stop when we’re in Richmond. Can’t say if it’s truly authentic or not but it sure is tasty! Try everything!

Oldnuke on October 12, 2011 at 8:27 PM

eh… I usually avoid the chains anyway. Mom and Pop local flavor is better. They won’t be losing my business because they never had it.
-

RalphyBoy on October 12, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Great – another business I have to remember to boycott.

VidOmnia on October 12, 2011 at 8:28 PM

No offense, but I don’t want to go out to dinner where somebody is having a meeting. That right there would upset my dinner. The flag not so much.

reddevil on October 12, 2011 at 7:57 PM

I agree. Especially as there was no meeting room. They’d have to allow everyones flags. I’d hate to be there while LaRaza was having their racist eruption, complete with flags, etc.

chewydog on October 12, 2011 at 8:29 PM

We do a Greek shrimp and fettucini meal that is incredible.

Voter from WA State on October 12, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Got a recipe or is it a trade secret? I’m not coming to Washington state anytime soon.

Oldnuke on October 12, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Some of the best authentic Italian food I ever had was in the dining room of some folks in Naples Italy :-). A friend of mine took me to visit them for dinner.

Oldnuke on October 12, 2011 at 8:20 PM

My best friends mother would spend the day making homemade gnocchi for dinner, a labor of love. Once you have the real deal, it’s difficult to settle for a chain restaurant “interpretation” of Italian.

You can basically pick and chose your own pasta combinations at macaroni grill, and the kitchen is open to the restaurant- the food is filling. I don’t remember the last time I was invited to go to an Olive Garden restaurant?

Dr Evil on October 12, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Darden is the world’s largest full-service restaurant company with annual sales of $7.5 billion.  Through subsidiaries, Darden owns and operates 1,900 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 restaurants in North America, employs approximately 180,000 people and serves more than 400 million meals annually.

This is the parent company of Olive Garden and the other restaurants they own. Sorry if someone has already posted this. I really used to like Capital Grille when I was in Houston, no more of any of these establishments for me!

bluemarlin on October 12, 2011 at 8:32 PM

We haven’t eaten at Olive Garden for years and rarely go to Red Lobster anymore either. We just don’t like the food.

We prefer Macaroni Grill or, better yet, Carrabba’s. Carrabba’s has the best bread and spiced olive oil for dipping and will give you the leftovers plus a container of spices to take home with you. They also have the best Ceasar salad and their Chicken Trio is to die for. Maggiano’s is also terrific but more expensive.

Common Sense on October 12, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Dr Evil on October 12, 2011 at 8:30 PM

My wife and I used to make fresh pasta for everything. Age has sort of caught up with us though and we rarely do that anymore. We still have all the equipment though and toy with making it occasionally. My wife is a pasta lover to the max even makes ravioli of various types. I’m a spaghetti and meatballs guy myself and have several recipes that I love. One thing we do still make occasionally is a dish called Jager schnitzel. Made with pork loin beaten thin, bacon and mushrooms. It’s served with spaetzle which we make fresh. Absolutely divine! German though not Italian. I can feel a cooking session coming on….

Oldnuke on October 12, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Voter from WA State on October 12, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Thanks for the FYI.
If you ever have a chance to try Texas Land& Cattle-take it.
They’re good eats.

annoyinglittletwerp on October 12, 2011 at 8:43 PM

We do a Greek shrimp and fettucini meal that is incredible.

Voter from WA State on October 12, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Where are you located?

darwin-t on October 12, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Pompeii Italian Grill Restaurant they are heavy on ambiance. The ceiling is painted domes. The food was filling. How can you mess up pasta?

Dr Evil on October 12, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Tina this is God’s way of telling you and your friend to patronize real Italian restaurants.

My wife loves the Olive Garden. Luckily she likes real good Mexican food and Margaritas even better. We’ve got plenty of those in San Diego. That allows me to avoid eating the bland sludge Olive Garden puts out of their kitchens. My Italian grandparents were run out of Indianapolis by the KKK early in the 20th century. Olive Garden food is designed to appeal to the descendants of those Klansmen not to Italians.

rcl on October 12, 2011 at 8:47 PM

I think that everyone who is up in arms over this one needs to take a deep breath and realize this is not about the American flag — it is about how to accommodate a group while still maintaining the atmosphere of the restaurant. Just like the men’s fellowship at my old church doesn’t get to hang a cross on the wall and unfurl a church banner when we had our monthly breakfasts at the local diner, neither do the Kiwanas get to redecorate Olive Garden for the duration of their meeting.

http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/322507.php

RhymesWithRight on October 12, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Oldnuke on October 12, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Someone has to take Tina under their wing. There is no reason for eating at OG. I mean if they want to have some memorable meet ups, they should find out where all the locals go. Lot’s of times the place won’t look fancy on the outside, but the food will be good on the inside :)

Dr Evil on October 12, 2011 at 8:51 PM

I began boycotting Olive Garden when they played footise with Obama.

I begin boycotting Olive Garden after the first time I ate there.

Yuck. Complete and utter swill.

PackerBronco on October 12, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Tina – Olive Garden now has a note up on their website saying the American flag is welcome.

VidOmnia on October 12, 2011 at 8:51 PM

From Olive Garden:

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant: We’ve had some questions about whether or not guests can bring the American flag into our restaurants. 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.

VidOmnia on October 12, 2011 at 8:53 PM

I love Olive Garden. In fact, ever since college, my best friend and I have had a standing date to eat fettuccine at OG the first Wednesday of every month. Coincidentally, we were scheduled to eat there this very evening (we missed last week). The two of us have even tried unsuccessfully to replicate the exact taste of the restaurant’s recipes at home.

So you don’t like real Italian food, then?

Perhaps there is a 12-step group to help you on this.

I can’t understand it, but then some people think McDonald’s is a food establishment, too.

Adjoran on October 12, 2011 at 8:53 PM

OK, HA doesn’t like links, so let’s try it again:

http://www.darden.com/restaurants/

FalseProfit on October 12, 2011 at 8:54 PM

I began boycotting Olive Garden when they played footise with Obama. To get an Ocare waiver, they agreed with Lady M that they would make their food tasteless. Buh-bye OG.

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on October 12, 2011 at 7:35 PM

My wife and I did the same thing last month. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Go all socialist values on us, then we’ll be waiting for the Chapter 13 announcement as patriots go elsewhere to spend their entertainment dollars.

in_awe on October 12, 2011 at 8:57 PM

The apology from Olive Garden sounds like insincere marketing ass-covering to me, it wouldn’t have happened in the first place if there weren’t an anti-American attitude at the company. I’ll be avoiding them in the future.

VidOmnia on October 12, 2011 at 8:58 PM

As if their food wasn’t reason enough to avoid eating there…

HTL on October 12, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Isn’t Olive Garden, one of the Darden Companies helping Michelle Obama with her “let them eat cake” campaign? I have sworn off them already.

jaimo on October 12, 2011 at 9:00 PM

The next time I’m in downtown Dallas for lunch with my broker, I going into The Capital Grill and talking to the manager… I’ll see if I can get some customers to leave…

phreshone on October 12, 2011 at 9:01 PM

RhymesWithRight October 12, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Of course you’re right/ In this economy American businesses, like restaurants should be turning business away, and discourage people from using their restaurant as a meeting place for large groups, you know who booked ahead so you know you have their dollars, not like walk in traffic that can be sporadic.

The customer is always wrong. Maybe that worked in George W Bush’s economy – Obama’s economy is another story, OG should be happy they can get some traffic into their establishment, and not ruin their customer ‘sexperience so they want to come back, and spend more of their money with at , OG and not their competition.

Or didn’t you notice, Tina doesn’t exactly feel like making the effort to eat at OG after learning they are hyper -moronic.

Myself, I can’t stop eating at a place, I don’t go to, but now I am going to remember this bad press. So in the future, if someone suggest we go to OG, I will remember they aren’t friendly to American patriots.

Dr Evil on October 12, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Recent additions to the NumberTwo NoGo list: films with Morgan Freeman or Samuel Jackson, Olive Garden…

NumberTwo on October 12, 2011 at 9:17 PM

So you don’t like real Italian food, then?

Perhaps there is a 12-step group to help you on this.

I can’t understand it, but then some people think McDonald’s is a food establishment, too.

Adjoran on October 12, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Maybe we are getting some tongue in cheek, will know for sure when she swears off boxed wine.

Isn’t Tina from Oxford, Mississippi? They have real restaurants right? Just not Italian?

Dr Evil on October 12, 2011 at 9:18 PM

we’ll know for sure…

Dr Evil on October 12, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Yuck. Complete and utter swill.

PackerBronco on October 12, 2011 at 8:51 PM

You do realize there are ways to say you do not like the food without insulting everyone around you?

astonerii on October 12, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Darden Restaurants lost me years ago with their sub-par food. They sealed the deal forever when they adopted Michelle Obama’s “big” idea to impose government reach into their business and into the lives of their customers. This flag kerfluffel is just something to make me seriously doubt their sanity. They’ll let people sing and dance for birthday celebrations…but our flag is disruptive? Shame on them. I’ve seen their apology…and I still say shame.

redwhiteblue on October 12, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Eh. Well I guess they won’t have their dining experience disrupted by my presence in the future.

(Never liked their fake Eye-talian anyway. We’re Italians and their food’s B.S.)

jix on October 12, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Tina come to ny and AP will take you to a real Italian spot.

Or I will.

*creepy stare.*

blatantblue on October 12, 2011 at 9:33 PM

astonerii on October 12, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Oh, sorry…you are right. I didn’t mean to insult others’ food choices. I’m just a foodie snob. But whatever works for others is good. There is always goodness in food! But there is nothing good about a First Lady telling restaurants what food to serve. That’s all. I’m hungry now.

redwhiteblue on October 12, 2011 at 9:37 PM

I can’t understand it, but then some people think McDonald’s is a food establishment, too.

Adjoran on October 12, 2011 at 8:53 PM

The McRib may not technically be ‘food,’ but it’s still delicious.

Good Solid B-Plus on October 12, 2011 at 9:40 PM

people who think all chain food is inherently bad are not smart. usually you get this from the left, which uses it as a kind of litmus test for coolness, erudition, and culture.

they are idiots, and those of you falling into that trap to prove your superior ‘tastes’ are not better. i remember a reunion episode of the bachelor, where the girl talked about her favorite restaurant, the olive garden, and the audience laughed, because this is los angeles and it is just not cool to like food that everybody, the masses, likes and goes to. it was pathetic, as are those of you mimicking this attitude here.

mcdonalds is a great place, for that matter. clean, cheap, good food. is it fine dining? obviously not, but it is what it is supposed to be, and for that i am thankful.

snobs of all types are the worst kind of people. if our tastes are not as refined as yours, so be it, if the food tastes good, it tastes good, and you are no better for your ‘wholes in the wall’ ma and pa places to boot.

in fact, my next blog post will be an ode to mcdonalds, make sure to read it. (i always remember the crazy dutch guy who thought it was so sad that the african immigrants (in amsterdam) were brainwashed into throwing their hard earned money away at mcdonalds as opposed to how i would think of it in that isn’t it nice they have a cheap, affordable place to go out, since they probably cannot afford nicer restaurants).

truecon on October 12, 2011 at 9:55 PM

uh, holes….

truecon on October 12, 2011 at 9:57 PM

O.G. is to Italian food what Red Lobster is to seafood.

uhg

esnap on October 12, 2011 at 9:59 PM

The corporate website has a non-apology apology:

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant: We’ve had some questions about whether or not guests can bring the American flag into our restaurants. 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.

youngturk on October 12, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Oops, sorry, here’s the link the corporate web site.

youngturk on October 12, 2011 at 10:00 PM

That was a short lived boycott. I am still mad that OG removed their canneloni dish from their menu. That was really good. I also like their salads. I was also going to ask if they display the italian flag. LOL

karenhasfreedom on October 12, 2011 at 10:11 PM

truecon on October 12, 2011 at 9:55 PM

I largely agree, because it’s always just a contest on who can out-snob the other person.

You like mindless action flicks ala First Blood? How gauche. I only watch Wes Anderson movies.

Wes Anderson? A piker. I only watch Fellini.

Fellini? How bush league. If you want a real auteur, you’ll watch this obscure Nepalese director who only projects his movies on a live yak 10,000 feet above sea level.

Good Solid B-Plus on October 12, 2011 at 10:11 PM

We haven’t eaten at Olive Garden for years and rarely go to Red Lobster anymore either. We just don’t like the food.

Common Sense on October 12, 2011 at 8:35 PM

That would be because they are crappy chain restaurants and serve junk food. Good for for having taste.

Didn’t Olive Garden engage in some other idiotic move recently?

Jaibones on October 12, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Olive Garden…the McDonalds of Italian “cuisine”. Nuff said.

Twana on October 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM

Olive Garden…your bad food disrupts the dining experience. Take your manicotti and stuff it up your big bird.

HornetSting on October 12, 2011 at 10:28 PM

Don’t care what the PC and FOS and My Court My Rules morons say. Olive Garden kiss my pimpled bubble. You not be getting my card swiped through your reader. P*ssants.

Limerick on October 12, 2011 at 10:39 PM

truecon on October 12, 2011 at 9:55 PM

It has nothing to do with snobbery if enough people have the same experience, and give the same critique of the food that’s all it is. Why do you think Restaurant’s have a 5 star rating system in the first place? Someone bothered to eat the food and critique it. To let the consumers know what expect.

I have had great Italian food, and it wasn’t expensive, it was delicious, and no it wasn’t chain restaurant food.

Dr Evil on October 12, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Who goes to Olive Garden when you can go to Fred’s Italian Corner instead? Well, aside from all you people who don’t have the good fortune to live in the Houston area. Fred’s has great fettuccine alfredo. Olive Garden? Not so much.

Rip Ford on October 12, 2011 at 11:07 PM

We have a great place for Italian..they do a lot of dishes, but pizza and their fettuccine alfredo are divine.
We had the BEST fettuccine alfredo, (and pad thai), this past summer at a Thai/Mexican restaurant, Starfire in Skagway, Alaska.

HornetSting on October 12, 2011 at 11:14 PM

truecon on October 12, 2011 at 9:55 PM

I didn’t say all chain food is garbage, and I didn’t see anyone else say it either. Everyone else has been concentrating on OG, with a few barbs at the same company’s other chains and at least one at Red Lobster. I threw one at McD’s, and stand by it.

If you think McD’s and OG are “good tasting food,” you go there. It’s your right.

Adjoran on October 12, 2011 at 11:33 PM

If you’re gonna go to a chain Italian place, go to Carino’s. Better food and better service.

john1schn on October 12, 2011 at 11:44 PM

If you’re gonna go to a chain Italian place, go to Carino’s. Better food and better service.

john1schn on October 12, 2011 at 11:44 PM

There IS a Carino’s in Lubbock.
Cool!

annoyinglittletwerp on October 13, 2011 at 12:05 AM

The best Italian food I ever had was at some hole in the wall who’s name I can’t even remember in, of all places, Petaluma, Ca. It was even pretty inexpensive. I still compare all other Italian restaurants to that one. I went to a couple of places in NY that were close. I just hope (and dream) someday someone will open such a place in Dallas.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on October 13, 2011 at 12:45 AM

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.

Good enough.

Kenosha Kid on October 13, 2011 at 12:55 AM

I wonder if they would display a Chinese flag in the place if a delegation from China were to visit.

crosspatch on October 13, 2011 at 4:04 AM

So they changed their tune AFTER the backlash. No sale.

dogsoldier on October 13, 2011 at 6:13 AM

Well, I am pretty close to boycotting McDonalds. Where is the damn salt? Oh yea, Michelle took it all for her fries.

RDE2010 on October 13, 2011 at 8:37 AM

If there was no banquet or conference room available, I’d not want the Kiwanis, or any other organized club there either. Someone above mentioned reading of minutes, or treasury reports.

If I am in a restaurant to have a meal I am no more interested in those goings-on than I am of the “business deal that cannot wait” being discussed, loudly on a mobile, in the next booth.

I see this whole flag thing as a non-story. The big mistake was that the management of THAT PARTICULAR Olive Garden didn’t get things clear up front, or say that they had no meeting space available. I see this as a local issue.

My reason for not going to Darden properties is their knuckling under to the FLOTUS. I do not go to Micky Ds anymore because of their discriminatory 365Black campaign. American is now way down my list of airlines because of their equally discriminatory Black Atlas program.

We all have our reasons and causes, but to boycott an entire chain over the actions of one manager’s failings strikes me as a bit much.

YMMV

friendlygrizzly on October 13, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Personlly, it tells me that Olive Garden does not want my presence, either. So I will no longer be disrupting their dining experience.It’s time patriots start voting with their wallets and feet. Shove your unlimited breadsticks where the sun don’t shine.

PJ Emeritus on October 13, 2011 at 9:43 AM

We have been eating there about twice a month. We won’t be back.

flyoverland on October 13, 2011 at 10:32 AM

As my husband once said, Olive Garden’s food doesn’t even look good on TV.

Missy on October 13, 2011 at 10:51 AM

This is in Alabama?!? Man, the country really is going downhill.

Ward Cleaver on October 13, 2011 at 10:59 AM

The BEST thing for the Kiwanis to do is:

- Pick ANOTHER restaurant that support the use of the AMERICAN flag
- Send a copy of the bill to the LOCAL Olive Garden and corporate HQ
- Next month, repeat
- At the end of the year, send an annual recap
- Repeat

Khun Joe on October 13, 2011 at 11:01 AM

I grew up 20 min from this OG. It is on the small side, and would be very disruptive with a large group having a meeting while you were trying to eat. That said, I cannot believe anyone would eat at OG or RL. The food is atrocious. My ex contracted through Darden yrs ago to do their remodels. If people saw how filthy these kitchens were, they wouldn’t eat there. And no, they aren’t all the same. Some chains actually have higher standards.

di butler on October 13, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Wow… this is the most hysterical over-reaction I’ve ever seen in the comments at Hot Air! Everybody take a breath, count to ten, and then GET ALL THE FACTS. It seems that there was a communication breakdown between the individual restaurant and the Kiwanis regarding the space available and what could be done with that space. It also seems there was confusion over company policy between the restaurant itself and the corporate leadership. Finally, it also seems that the corporate leadership took pains to explain the situation and apologize for the misunderstanding.

The first thing to note is that this does not seem to have anything specifically to do with the American flag. You can assume that Olive Garden has an antipathy towards displaying the American flag, but that is like the media assuming the Tea Parties are racist without exploring the facts.

I am also mystified by the rejection of the corporate apology. It’s obvious this was a misunderstanding, not an official policy, and so the apology for the misunderstanding is entirely appropriate. I’m sorry that some people feel that they need to confess to heinous crimes against humanity and commit seppuku in order for the apology to be genuine, but I feel it fits the situation just fine as is.

Please, feel free to stop eating at Olive Garden if you don’t like the food, or if you object to them knuckling under to Michelle Obama (I object to that as well). But upon closer scrutiny, there doesn’t seem to be any actual anti-American sentiment here, especially at the corporate level. It behooves us as conservatives to keep a level head in these situations (in contrast to liberals, who are all about losing theirs).

TSUGambler on October 13, 2011 at 11:22 AM

By the way, the food at Olive Garden is not bad. I have had truly bad food before, and the Olive Garden doesn’t even come close. It may not rise to the standards of more authentic Italian restaurants, and it may not be freshly prepared, but it has always been quite edible whenever I’ve tried it.

TSUGambler on October 13, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I guess I won’t be eating at Olive Garden, Red Lobster or Long Horn Steakhouse. I certainly wouldn’t want to “disrupt the dining experience” of their patrons with our country’s flag!!

caprian on October 13, 2011 at 11:32 AM

I love Olive Garden. In fact, ever since college, my best friend and I have had a standing date to eat fettuccine at OG

No offense Tina but as an American Italian that lived in Italy, whose mother was born and raised in Italy, and someone that still has family in Italy I can tell you OG is not real Italian food! I don’t mean to come off as a snob but once you’ve had real Italian food you can’t help but become a bit snobbish when someone asks you to go to a place like OG!

I learned to cook from my mom and I now cook for my girlfriend. Once we were out shopping and she wanted to go to OG, I tried to talk her out of it but she insisted. I got a salad and she had a pasta dish. Afterwards she said she never wanted to go back as it wasn’t even close to the Italian food I cook; now she too is a snob.

The fact the losers at OG wouldn’t allow an American or Kiwanis flag is all the more reason NOT to eat there! A distraction my azz, how is an American Flag any more of a distraction then say a bouquet of birthday balloons? They are full of shiite, it wasn’t the flag being a distraction they were concerned about, they were concerned about someone being offended by the American flag and that tells me all I need to know about OG, other than their food is Italian in name only!

P.S. I’ll leave you a line from the movie Band of Brother…“this isn’t spaghetti, its noodles with ketchup!”

Liberty or Death on October 13, 2011 at 11:37 AM

My wife and I found our Olive Garden replacement yesterday. It’s called Tuscany and it’s in the Towne Lake area in Woodstock, GA. Awesome food, the salad was almost as good as OG’s and the breads were much better! And the view is to die for!

Let’s all report on our Olive Garden replacements.

ChristianRock on October 13, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Here’s a bit of common sense for the Olive Garden: The restaurant in question is in America!

Tina, you’re best line evah! LOL!

Christian Conservative on October 13, 2011 at 11:50 AM

here is a link to a comment page…option under “something I disliked”

https://www.olivegarden.com/About-Us/Contact-Us/

PatriotPete on October 13, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Olive Gardedn is part of Darden Restaurants, which is actively backing Moo-chelle’s “eat healthy” campsign. The chain’s brands include: Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.

bw222 on October 13, 2011 at 12:35 PM

I love Olive Garden

Tells me:

A. You’ve never had real Italian food.
B. You’re young.

mankai on October 13, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I am going to side with the restaurant on this one. No private meeting rooms and this group wants to have a meeting in the dining room where they all rise to say the Pledge of Allegiance. How would that not be disruptive? Are the other diners being pressured to join in? How about the staff?

I’ve been to Olive Garden many times. Sometimes for casual dining. Other times for romantic diners, family birthday parties, anniversaries, or other special occasions.

Back in my youth, if I were with a beautiful young lady who was seeking her healthy dose of carbs for the month; I would probably be trying to balance her diet with some protein for desert. Under those circumstances having a group rise up to recite the Pledge would be a major annoyance and mood killer.

meci on October 13, 2011 at 12:43 PM

ok, show of hands – who here is never, ever, ever going to olive garden again because of this?
Well, i’m going. my local olive garden had nothing to do with this. While it is part of a national chain it is operated by local people who make a living and pay taxes. I cant see punishing them for a stupid corporate decision.
So I’ll be heading there for my favorite soup and salad.

abcurtis on October 13, 2011 at 12:49 PM

PC people are blatant cowards! Nothing more, nothing less. And the seeeeennnnnnsiiiitiiiiive liberals that feed PC are just as stupid. Surely “Olive Garden” is offensive to Italians, Palestinians or somebody….

ultracon on October 13, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Olive Garden is to Italian Food what Bud Light is to beer. Fine in an emergency situation, but otherwise best avoided at all costs.

angryed on October 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM

meci on October 13, 2011 at 12:43 PM

We have a variety of organizations who meet at a local place, open dining hall. They bring a flag and say the pledge. No one feels pressured to do anything. The older folks may stop talking but that’s about it. How is that disruptive when you have families full of snot nosed kids running around…and that’s NOT disrustive?!?!

PatriotPete on October 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I do wonder what OG would have said if the group in question was the local chapter of Muslim Brotherhood and their their flag was the Saudi flag or something along those lines.

angryed on October 13, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Its very simple. The only way to stop the madness is to not be apart of the madness. I will never support any restaurant chain that feels the American flag makes them uncomfortable. Political correctness has transformed into political madness. When Obama said he was going to transform, now we know what he meant. No, thanks.

volsense on October 13, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Hypercritical article and rather childish.

Wade on October 13, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Yet another reason to avoid Olive Garden. Screaming kids, lousy food, and now PC cowardice. You know what you can do with your breadsticks…

infidel4life on October 13, 2011 at 2:44 PM

I am going to side with the restaurant on this one. No private meeting rooms and this group wants to have a meeting in the dining room where they all rise to say the Pledge of Allegiance. How would that not be disruptive? Are the other diners being pressured to join in? How about the staff?

I see what you’re saying, but presumably the meeting activity would be more disruptive to other diners than the presence of the flag, correct? Then why allow the more disruptive piece and not the less disruptive one?

If the facility isn’t adequate to host meetings, they shouldn’t host meetings at all. Hosting them but not allowing the flag isn’t even internally logical.

Missy on October 13, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Thank you for that fricassee. I’m a man of large appetites. Even with lunch under my belt, I was a mite peckish.

Thank you as well for the conversational hiatus. I generally refrain from speech during gustation. There are those who attempt both at the same time.

I find it coarse and vulgar. — Big Dan Teague

I don’t know. It just reminded me of that monologue in O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Axeman on October 13, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Their stance certainly disrupted my dining experience. Following on their very partisan adoption of michelle obumma’s dictates on what you can feed your children, the OCG told me she would never eat there again. When I brought this new stupidity, she told me that on our family night out we would eat at the cracker barrell or Delta Cafe. Our closest Olive Garden is in Owasso, That is a very conservative area of Oklahoma. I imagine they are hearing about this right now. That won’t get us back though, until they publicly fire the liberal anti-Americans that thought this up and approved it.

Old Country Boy on October 13, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Buca di Beppo makes Olive Garden’s food look like Swanson’s TV dinners.

Left Coast Right Mind on October 14, 2011 at 1:08 AM

The following is email I received from Olive Garden regarding the flag incident:

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. In fact, we periodically provide American flag collar pins to our employees to wear while serving guests. We welcome anyone who wishes to bring the flag into our restaurants.

Sincerely,

John Caron
President, Olive Garden

Wendy on October 14, 2011 at 9:16 PM

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