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Comments

Paul

I can honestly say that I never once entered the OG. Frankly, I forgot that it even existed. It really blended into that space, and the tinted windows didn't help their cause either.

Voo

As I stated on MNSpeak, I love the OG. The salad dressing nears perfection, and they have a decent wine list. The mushroom alfredo with whole wheat pasta? Fanfuckingtastic. And I can get all I can eat for $7.95. Bitch, please. Why would I go anywhere else when I can get delicious food and a glass of good wine for under $12?

Not2Sure

The only reason not to go there is that the Olive Garden concept and their corporate mission is to eat up the market previously held by small independently owned and operated (usually family-run) restaurants that used to be the mainstay of Italian dining.

OG is owned and managed by Darden Restaurants. They are the same company that owns Red Lobster. They rule their restaurants with a strong iron fist in order to keep down costs. Very little if any flexibility is granted to local stores regarding policy or menu.

They have been very successful in that mission. Industry surveys show that roughly a third or more of all Italian restaurants in the US now are Olive Gardens.

It would be tempting to compare them to Wal-Mart in this respect although to be honest Olive Garden does treat its employees a lot better. Boy, I really sound like some anti-corporate idealist. They are giving America what they want so I should really just shutup and quit begrudging them their success.

My favorite hangover cure is the tomato-basil soup at French Meadow. I'd be afraid to go with Alexis though from reading her blog. Even I find the service there pretty bad :)

That soup when served with their bread is more addicting than heroin.

Scott McGerik

It sucks when a favorite restaurant, bar, or haunt closes. I'm not a fan of OG but I understand where you are coming from.

Regarding E&G's, I learned that they are opening a store in downtown St Paul!

Not2Sure, they may be giving America what it wants but does America really know what it wants when the well-financed, well-managed chains buy all the prime restaurant locations in new suburbs? Kinda hard to choose the mom-and-pop restaurant when there ain't any within 10 miles.

Alexis

Ooh, good for you, Scott! E&G's makes a great sandwich.

[soapbox]Not necessarily directed at anyone:

Americans choose where they want to eat and where they want to shop, based on what's available. Those who choose to live in the suburbs know that their options are limited, and if what they seek is variety, they need to venture into the city.

I may eat at the Olive Garden once or twice a month, but I choose to live in the city where my options are pretty much limitless as far as both "corporate" and "mom-and-pop" restaurants are concerned.

If there's a good product being peddled, then I'll buy it. Friday's and Red Lobster have nothing to offer me. But neither do Manny's or Quang's.

And, yes, I still buy my mouthwash at Walmart. No one else freaking has it.[/soapbox]

Rex

Lexie, we had this argument 30 times. It's not that Olive Garden is *bad*. It's in a different category -- it's merely bland. It's the kind of restaurant that has been focus-grouped into existence, so it ends up... pleasurable but plain. The food never tastes bad, but it never tastes unique either. This indeed sounds like good hangover food.

See also:

Slate review middlebrow restaurants
http://slate.msn.com/id/2070456/

Jason

I miss it too. Two weeks ago I was jonesing for the soup, salad, breadstick combo... and I stopped in the store off 394 and Hwy. 100. The wait was 30 minutes. So I drove downtown, parked in my spot on 13th Street, walked 7 blocks to the OG, only to see it was closed. Very depressing.

mike s

OG (and Cafe DiNapoli) may be gone, but Totino's is right across the river for all your red-sauce needs. The food is predictable, and it's sort of weirdly comforting to dine at a cop hangout.

Paul

Good call Mike S. Totino's is a nice hang. It's been awhile since my last visit. Lunch is very predictable, but always good.

Alexis

Totino's (hey, that's in my 'hood) is decent, if you know what you're getting and don't expect greatness.

My favorite stip mall, hole-in-the-wall Italian-American restaurant is Donatelli Bros. in Mahtomedi. Soups, sauces, breads, pastas, salad dressings, desserts... everything is homemade. And very delicious.

Not2Sure

OK. I was wrong. They are exactly like Wal-Mart.

The House Resources Committe Chairman, Richard Pombo, Rebpulican congressman from California is about to be investigated for not paying taxes on foreign trips paid for by a shadowy private foundation, International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, which is in large part bankrolled by the Darden Restaurants.

Pombo is pretty much a bastard. He has authored most of the legislation the last few years to scale back the EPA and last year put a bill on the floor suggesting that the US could raise some revenue by selling off portions of the national parks
to highest bidder.

Shannon

Artists with out attitude is a great/reliable faux finishng company!
I dont have the number but i'm sure you can look them up in the pgone book!

I think their prices are reasonable as well!

-s

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