Alternate title: CRUSHING THE OLIVE

My wife had a VERY BAD DAY at work and wanted to go to the Olive Garden for a relaxing dinner. Only it turned out badly.
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As you may know, the Olive Garden is a theme restaurant with identical menus and items of Italian style cuisine in every decent sized shopping district of the continental USA. Go there any mealtime and you are greeted with long lines because the food is reasonably good and usually done with excellent service. We have been going to Olive Garden for 20 years and know what to expect.

Correction: we thought we knew what to expect.

Now it seems that they are dropping their "old menu" in favor of a more "real Italian" menu. I hate to say it but this ain't fresh olives they are working with. They are toying with a tried and true system supposedly to make it better for the customers. They have managed to eliminate the cataloni and ravoli from the selection. We are really hacked about this because those were our favorite items.

The suggested replacement was some kind of cheese stuffed shells with roast beef and red-wine gravy. It tasted just like roast beef and gravy with cheese shells. When you are looking for pasta in the USA you aren't usually thinking of gravy-well we aren't. My point is I don't go to Olive Garden for "genuine" Italian cuisine. I go there for "Americanized cuisine that I like" and know. If I want "genuine" Italian I seek out a family restaurant not a chain! Only the people who think "Red Lobster" is a good place to get fish think that the OG is a "real" Italian restaurant (they are owned by the same parent company).

Then it hit me: the Breadsticks! The OG management aren't really interested in genuine Italian! If they were the first thing they would do is quit buying those tubes of bread with fake butter-garlic smeared on them and start serving fresh made loaves with olive oil and freshly crushed pepper to dip in! They are only interested in eliminating items off the menu that used to be $8-9 per plate and replace them with $11-14 items. Doing "real" Italian bread cost big bucks, especially in olive oil, which is suspiciously absent from their tables.

It's all about the money. Apparently Hospitaliano is a thing of the past, I look for this chain to wither on the vine and join other good restaurants in the graveyard of "fixed what wasn't broken" ideas.