The Olive Garden, that ubiquitously advertised corporate chain, has its admirers and its detractors. For such a self-consciously agreeably bland restaurant (its unctuous slogan: “When you’re here, you’re Family,” and, yes, Family is capitalized), it stirs up surprising controversy. There was the nasty urban legend about diners contracting herpes (or worse) from eating there, debates about just how Italian the restaurant really is, and excoriating reviews alternating with suspiciously boosterish raves.
The best thing to come out of the restaurant, in my opinion, is Greg Nog’s comic strip “I Am a Host at the Olive Garden.” This admittedly not-new gem recently resurfaced via Metafilter, and it rekindled my delight in Nog’s whimsy. If you enjoy Walter Mitty-esque existential absurdism, check it out.
And remember, the Olive Garden does not serve pancakes.