A year ago today, the most important restaurant review ever written was posted online. Marilyn Hagerty, the Grand Forks Herald restaurant critic, blew minds with her 2012 review of the Olive Garden in which she found both the atmosphere and the food "impressive," calling it "the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks." The result was a meta media circus with television appearances, awards, a guest judge slot on Top Chef, and a book deal with Anthony Bourdain.
And on her review's one-year anniversary, Hagerty revisits the Olive Garden and finds that it is "[n]o longer a novelty" but remains "one of the busiest" restaurants in town. The seafood in her penne di mare was "a little hard to find," but the food was "reasonable" and "predictable, down to the four or five black olives you find in the salad bowl." The Olive Garden is almost always busy — it's "constantly surrounded by cars," writes Hagerty — but the restaurant is still too loud. Hagerty's book Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 100 Reviews comes out August 27.