Ah, Olive Garden—the lively, family-friendly chain that tantalizes our taste buds with Italian classics. But behind the scenes, there’s more to this restaurant than meets the eye. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about this beloved chain.
It Has A Floridian Beginning
Although Olive Garden draws inspiration from Italian cuisine and culture, the restaurant itself was born in sunny Orlando, Florida, in 1982. General Mills launched this beloved chain. It founded Darden Restaurants, Inc., which now owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Yard House.
They Have a Breadstick Policy
Believe it or not, in 2014, an Olive Garden investor suggested limiting the number of iconic unlimited breadsticks. Shocking, right? Thankfully, the proposal didn’t gain traction, and we can continue to revel in the carb-loaded glory of endless breadsticks. Phew!
Now about that breadstick policy – yes there’s actually one at Olive Garden. When you’re seated, your server is supposed to bring one breadstick per person, plus an extra one for the first basket. After that, the rule of thumb is one breadstick per person.
Trying to outsmart Olive Garden and fill up on free breadsticks alone? Think again. Servers have a system to prevent guests from scamming the restaurant. They’re not allowed to bring the second basket of breadsticks until someone in your party places an order. So, if you want more breadsticks, it’s time to start ordering!
Joining Olive Garden Rewards will Reward You with Appetizers
Do you want to up your Olive Garden game? Download their rewards app! It’s a treasure trove of freebies and perks for frequent diners. By signing up for Olive Garden rewards, you can enjoy free appetizers with your entrees. And who can resist a free birthday dessert or breadstick dipping sauce? It’s the cherry on top of your Olive Garden experience.
That’s not all. Olive Garden’s rewards are not confined to its borders. If you earn rewards, you can redeem them at any of the six restaurants owned by Darden Restaurants, Inc. It’s like unlocking a whole culinary universe of possibilities. Talk about getting more bang for your buck!
Double the Coupons, Double the Fun
Splitting the bill with friends or family? Here’s a handy tip: You can use two coupons at once. Yes, you read that right! So, when it comes time to pay, whip out those coupons and revel in the savings. It’s a little victory that tastes oh-so-sweet.
Know the Best Time to Feast
Timing is everything, especially when it comes to maximizing your Olive Garden experience. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, visit Olive Garden on weekdays between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. During this golden window, you can enjoy the Dinner Duo deal, which offers an $8.99 entree along with the legendary never-ending salad and breadsticks. It’s a budget-friendly feast you won’t want to miss.
No Salt in Their Pasta Water
Now, this one might make you raise an eyebrow. Olive Garden, an Italian-inspired restaurant, skips the tradition of salting their pasta water. Why, you ask? Well, it turns out that the salt can affect the pots used for cooking.
Frozen Delights and Homemade Soups
Prepare to have your taste buds surprised. While Olive Garden proudly makes its soups in-house daily, not all the dishes share the same fate. The desserts, unfortunately, arrive at your table in a frozen state. However, the pasta is made to order, ensuring that you savor every fresh bite. And fear not, for the use of microwaves is reserved only for heating dipping sauces and warming desserts. The rest is all about pan frying, deep frying, or grilling. It’s a delicate balance of flavors and techniques.
A Dash of Italian-Inspired Creativity
Olive Garden isn’t afraid to put their own twist on Italian cuisine. While they draw inspiration from the land of amore, not all their menu items adhere strictly to traditional Italian recipes. In fact, back in 2012, the restaurant confessed that some dishes could not be found in traditional Italian cookbooks. It’s an Italian-inspired fusion that keeps things interesting.
You Can Request for Customization
The Olive Garden menu is extensive, but don’t let that overwhelm you. You have the power to customize your meals according to your cravings and desires. Can’t find your perfect dish on the menu? No problem! Olive Garden allows you to create your own culinary masterpiece by tweaking existing dishes or requesting discontinued items if they have the necessary ingredients on hand. It’s like having your own personal chef. Bon appétit!
You Can Bring Your Own Vino
Love pairing your meal with a fine wine? Some Olive Garden locations allow you to bring your own bottle for a small corkage fee, usually around $7. It’s the perfect opportunity to bring that special bottle you’ve been saving and enjoy it alongside their delectable dishes. Just be sure to check if your local Olive Garden permits outside bottles. Wine lovers, rejoice!
There’s a Secret Menu Soda
Prepare for a trip down memory lane. Although Italian soda is no longer officially listed on the menu, you can still order this beloved secret item. Just ask for an Italian soda made with the flavors from Olive Garden’s lattes. It’s a refreshing blast from the past that’s worth savoring for around $4.
A Wine Lover’s Paradise
Olive Garden takes great pride in its extensive wine program. With over 25 different wines ranging from light and sweet to dry and full-bodied, there’s something to suit every palate. And the best part? Guests aged 21 and over can sample a one-ounce portion of any wine for free. It’s an invitation to discover your new favorite sip.
Here’s another surprising bit of information about Olive Garden. It’s actually Post Malone’s favorite restaurant. Watch the feature here: