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Tony Jobe

For reasons I can't explain it seems like every local newspaper "Best of" poll always ranks Olive Garden "Best Italian Food". I hope it stays that way because if the line there is 2 hours that means the line at the good Italian restaurants is shorter than it would be if people figured it out.

The last time I ate at an Olive Garden was at least 10 years ago. I recall the dining room was miserably cold. It was a hot summer day but they had the AC cranked up to "Arctic". I don't get cold very often, but I could feel my blood physically slowing down from the cold in their dining room.

I don't remember what I ate - probably some sort of chicken dish - but I remember that it was extraordinarily overcooked, to the point that you would think they'd have been embarrassed to serve it that way. And I had to wait 45 minutes for my meal. I took one bite and said to my wife, "I don't know why they didn't stop cooking this and bring it to me 20 minutes ago when it was merely done."

I haven't been back since. Don't really feel the need to, and all the free breadsticks in the world won't change that. There are way too many good Italian restaurants out there to waste time and money at Olive Garden.

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