Olive Garden: The Italian Heaven

Does Olive Garden really live up to the hype?
The newly built Olive Gardens sign shines in the night.
The newly built Olive Garden’s sign shines in the night.
Photography, Madisyn Ahne

Recently, I took a trip to the new Olive Garden in Marion. It is located at 2900 Joseph Cannon Way in Marion, IL and is open from 11 AM to 10PM Sunday through Thursday and 11AM to 11PM on Fridays and Saturdays. The grand opening was on Monday, November 13th, and the restaurant was packed full when we arrived. 


You may be asking, what is Olive Garden? To keep it short, Olive Garden is a casual dining, Italian-American cuisine restaurant that opened on December 13th, 1982 in Orlando, Florida. It was founded by Bill Darden of General Mills as their first original restaurant. Olive Garden is known for its unique unlimited breadsticks, salads and pasta. The eatery is especially popular in this area considering the next closest location is in Paducah, around an hour away. It is also more popular around here because of our lack of restaurants like it; however, it seems that the community of Marion is steadily growing with its new businesses.


When we arrived, the wait was long, but that was expected. It was understandably very busy, and we actually got in at a decent time, all things considered. The decor was charming and aesthetically pleasing inside and out. The service throughout was wonderful, all staff were very attentive, friendly and eager to help. 


A home presentation of the chocolate brownie lasagna. (Photography, Madisyn Ahne)

Beginning with drinks, I got their Strawberry Passion Fruit Limonata, which is a refreshing mix of lemonade, sparkling water, strawberries and passion fruit. I liked it more than I thought I would, I’m not usually the type for passion fruit or sparkling water but the drink was flavorful and pretty tasty. Obviously, their famous unlimited breadsticks were top tier, crunchy and well seasoned. For an entree, I ordered a classic, spaghetti and meatballs. It was appetizing, well-presented, and had a large portion size; I was rather satisfied with it. Finally, I ordered the chocolate brownie lasagna to go. It is an 8 layered cake made of rich brownie and sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting, topped with white chocolate shavings and a chocolate drizzle. Taken to go, the toppings are given in separate containers to be put on by the customer. I ate it not long after leaving the restaurant and it was decadent and delectable down to the last layer. Surprisingly, it was not overpoweringly rich in chocolate and had a nice ratio of chocolate and frosting. It also did pretty well being served as a leftover. 


Overall, I would give it five stars out of five and recommend you visit. Be prepared for lovely staff, a pleasing atmosphere, and delicious Italian cuisine. It is predicted that for the next few weeks it may be packed every night and overall pretty busy, but don’t let it discourage you! Service and wait times are still friendly and reasonable. The new Olive Garden is a fantastic and new place to eat!

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