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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

sad culinary news from the Tribeca Film Festival

I don’t get why people eat in Olive Garden in places like Iowa. I really don’t get why people eat in Olive Garden in the middle of the greatest restaurant city in the world. It deeply shames me that there are at least two of these monstrosities in Manhattan.



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  • But, but… Hospitaliano! When you’re here, you’re family!

    Psh. Typical liberal. Why do you people all hate families and family values so much?

  • bats

    Like all chain restaurants, the good news is (if you’re from out of town) that you know exactly what you’re getting, good if it’s late or there isn’t much of a choice or the only other option is MickeyD’s. The bad news is that you know exactly what you’re getting.
    I’ll eat there on rare occasion (whatever addictive substance is put in the breadsticks, you know…). And because good local Italian restaurants in my town tend to go out of business, and not so much from skaggy competition, but the owners retire or want to do something else.
    And I admit I’ve been entering O.G.’s win a trip to Italy contest. Hey, I’ll take advantage of anyone!

  • Joe

    My inlaws live in upstate New York, and they ALWAYS want to go to awful places like that. I worked for 10+ years as a professional chef, and have to say, those ‘boil in a bag’ joints truly suck. On top of that (much like you comment on NYC being one of the greatest food cities in the world) my hometown Boston has an amazing section called the North End, which is an italian enclave, where one can find the most amazing authentic italian restaraunts around, all owned by small business owners who care about the quality. I love to go out to eat, wish I could afford to more often

  • MaryAnn

    Why do you people all hate families and family values so much?

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I just hate having a can of Chef Boyardee served to me as if it were, you know, food.

    or the only other option is MickeyD’s

    But that is NEVER true in NYC. There are diners open 24 hours a day. And if Olive Garden — which ain’t gonna be open 24/7 — is open, then there are a dozen restaurants literally within sight that are guaranteed to be better.

    I simply don’t understand why anyone would travel to NYC and NOT take advantage of all the good food here, especially when so much of it is relatively cheap, too. Any hole-in-the-wall pizza place here is gonna be infinitely more delicious than Olive Garden, and cheaper, too.

  • Eric

    It’s the comfort associated with seeing a “familiar” place in the midst of a large city. Growing up in the suburbs or smaller areas (in my case New Mexico), you tend not to develop a diverse set of dinner options (generalization yes). Though I get your point, cause I’ll never go to a chain restaurant for mexican or new mexican food.

  • MaryAnn

    But why do people travel if they only want the familiar? Why not just stay home?

  • bats

    Ah, never having been to NYC, I’m not really familiar with a city that never sleeps…I guess Vegas comes close, but even then, it’s surprising as to what stays open and what shuts down. (And yes, god help us, there are Denny’s and IHOP’s on the Strip.) I don’t understand such a fear of the unfamiliar, but it evidently exists into this day and age.
    (My husband was stuck in Indianapolis several years ago on business, working with a local guy who’d eat out at Denny’s any chance he could. It was a struggle for my husband to convince him to go to a Chinese restaurant (this was before P.F. Chang’s or Pei Wei, so maybe “food in a bag” chains might’ve changed this guy’s attitude), and that duck was like chicken. The endeavor was successful, in that at least for one meal my husband got something local and ethnic, although we never really found out whether the local boy ever returned to the non-chain side o’ town.)

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