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No, We're Not That Family (Italian-Americans mad at Olive Garden)
Opnionjournal ^ | July 26, 2002 | Victorino Matus

Posted on 07/26/2002 12:51:26 PM PDT by stands2reason

Edited on 04/23/2004 12:04:40 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Italian-Americans have a problem, and it's not "The Sopranos."

Italian-Americans are speaking out. They are complaining about a stereotype they just can't stand. One that they find inaccurate and misleading. One that is constantly shown on television, much to their disgust. They are unhappy. They are at their wit's end. They are fed up.


(Excerpt) Read more at opinionjournal.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: italianamericans; italians; olivegarden
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Call the Waahhh-mbulance!!

Seriously though, I've always thought those commercials were stupid.

1 posted on 07/26/2002 12:51:26 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: stands2reason
And the food is wretched.
2 posted on 07/26/2002 12:53:46 PM PDT by j.havenfarm
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To: stands2reason
whine
3 posted on 07/26/2002 12:54:17 PM PDT by breakem
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To: Admin Moderator
Could you fix my spelling mistake? I don't want to mess up any searches with that "Garrden".
4 posted on 07/26/2002 12:54:57 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: stands2reason

5 posted on 07/26/2002 12:55:19 PM PDT by mhking
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To: stands2reason
I live in NJ and I'm an Italian-American and I don't know a signle wop who frequents the Olive Garden. My friends who aren't Italian love to go there, but the food is so bland and mediocre it isn't funny.
6 posted on 07/26/2002 12:56:20 PM PDT by jjm2111
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To: j.havenfarm
I've never had the desire to eat there. I doubt their lasagna is any better than Prego's...
7 posted on 07/26/2002 12:56:32 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: stands2reason
Seriously though, I've always thought those commercials were stupid.

I agree. Nothing I've had at Olive Garden remotely resembles the fine food I've enjoyed on past trips to Italy!

8 posted on 07/26/2002 12:57:56 PM PDT by nutmeg
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To: stands2reason
I'd be mad too. Those commercials are insulting. Imagine any other restaurant chain claiming that they represent an entire ethnic group. It's ridiculous.
9 posted on 07/26/2002 12:58:34 PM PDT by SunStar
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To: stands2reason
I'm Irish-German. Can I complain about Bennigans and Busch Gardens?
10 posted on 07/26/2002 12:59:10 PM PDT by jae471
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To: firebrand; StarFan; stanz
So... what you YOU think? :-)
11 posted on 07/26/2002 12:59:17 PM PDT by nutmeg
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To: stands2reason
I kind of like Olive Garden for lunch except when the place is full of screaming kids. Its probably not as authentic as a real, family owned Italian restaurant but what do I know ?
12 posted on 07/26/2002 12:59:56 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: stands2reason
Olive Garden and Red Lobster?

Why the heck would I go to either of these places? Next door to me is a lobster comapny who brings them in fresh every day, and if you want good Italian food, the North End in Boston takes all comers, hands down!

Man, NOW I'm hungry!! : )

13 posted on 07/26/2002 1:00:19 PM PDT by Fedupwithit
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: Fedupwithit
I meant BEATS all comers!
15 posted on 07/26/2002 1:01:07 PM PDT by Fedupwithit
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To: stands2reason
I love Italians they never get behind the jerks who want to whine about the stereotypes they think their funny( as they always say nah Im not in the mob but my uncle on the other hand...).
16 posted on 07/26/2002 1:01:34 PM PDT by weikel
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To: stands2reason
They are called "commercials." They are not meant to be true pictures of anything. They are produced and broadcast by advertisers for the sole purpose of getting consemers to buy their product. If the commercials fails, the advertiser stops making them. If the commercial succeeds, the advertiser makes more of them.

I guess Olive Garden's commercials must be succeeding in getting people to go to Olive Garden restaurants.

Maybe the Italians who are so offended by this should declare a fatwah or a jihad or something.

17 posted on 07/26/2002 1:01:50 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: stands2reason
nonmacaroni sense, and cheesy décor

I think the author used an Olive Garden Menu to write his article.

18 posted on 07/26/2002 1:01:55 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stands2reason
I do not mind the commercials. I like The Olive Garden though my wife does not. I spent two years stationed in Naples, Italy. If the local cusine is the standard of all of Italy, then IMO, the food at OG is 100 times better.

When I was in the Navy and the ship pulled into a foreign port, I knew plenty of guys that would head off to the nearest McDonald's. I tried to sample some of the local cusine first. My worst meal overseas was in Spain. I ordered what was told to me to be a seafood platter. When the meal came, the fish still had the scales, head, and tail. The shrimp still had the head and eyes. I'm sorry, but I cannot eat food that is looking at me.

19 posted on 07/26/2002 1:02:20 PM PDT by 7thson
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To: jae471
I'm Irish-German. Can I complain about Bennigans and Busch Gardens?

Bennigans and Busch Gardens are not claiming to be the authority on Irish foods.

20 posted on 07/26/2002 1:02:28 PM PDT by SunStar
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To: stands2reason
I've only been there once, but I like the food. I would think italians would be more upset about commercials for East Side Mario's, THOSE are stupid (and annoying) commercials.
21 posted on 07/26/2002 1:02:51 PM PDT by Grig
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To: j.havenfarm
Olive Garden food is about as Italian as Taco Bell is Mexican.. there is even a corporate edict that prevents the chef from using too much garlic in their dishes... I do go to both those places...but not when I want "authentic" food.
Of course it's possible to have too much of a good thing. We live in a Hispanic saturated area (central valley of California), and I kid you not..there are 4 true authentic Mexican food places within one block...4.. all good, all authentic... I'd kill for a really good Jewish deli!!!
22 posted on 07/26/2002 1:02:57 PM PDT by goodieD
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To: stands2reason
Our waitress, Nancy, couldn't have been more friendly.
That's the clincher: this place is as far from Italy as you can get.
23 posted on 07/26/2002 1:03:45 PM PDT by lelio
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To: jjm2111
The whole idea of a chain Italian restaurant is blasphemy to me. It's the mom-and-pops that are the real deal. Same with Chinese and barbeque.
The rule with barbeque is the worse the restaurant looks the better the barbeque. The best barbeque joint will be a shack in front of a giant pit, where you buy your meat by the pound on sheets of butcher paper with complimentary pices of thick sliced storebought white bread.
24 posted on 07/26/2002 1:05:05 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: stands2reason
Now if Olive Garden used this with their motto,that would be funny.

>
"When you're here, you're family."

25 posted on 07/26/2002 1:05:51 PM PDT by mdittmar
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To: All
I did a part time bartending gig for the Olive Garden. They are nazi's. Their turnover rate for employment is the highest of any chain rest.

Screw em

26 posted on 07/26/2002 1:06:29 PM PDT by My Favorite Headache
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To: stands2reason
If I remember correctly, the Olive Garden is under the corporate umbrella of General Mills ... not exactly "Italian". In fact, the company runs a number of "theme" restaurants like "Tahitian Luau"-type and Mexican. None of which have any claim to authentic food.
27 posted on 07/26/2002 1:06:53 PM PDT by BunnySlippers
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To: jjm2111
Too funny. I live in NJ, too, and I'm "Italian-American". I've never eaten at the Olive Garden, either. All my coworkers from South Philly used to joke about it. Still, I think those stereotypes on TV commercials and the Sopranos have a ring of truth to them... (But don't tell any other Italian that I said that).
28 posted on 07/26/2002 1:07:10 PM PDT by Tired of Taxes
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: j.havenfarm
And don't get me started on the Wine: the "house" wine, whether red, white or rose, is a diluted mixture of fruit juice, water and bitters. Horrible. What passes for Chianti would not be used for vinegar in the poorest sections of Rome. And believe me: I lived in Rome for 5 years.
30 posted on 07/26/2002 1:08:34 PM PDT by Remole
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To: jae471
My wife is Irish-German. She complains about all food, in the interest of diversity.
31 posted on 07/26/2002 1:08:48 PM PDT by Sender
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To: stands2reason
Well, if these ethnic Italians don't like the "Americanization" of their culture, maybe they would be happy with a one-way ticket back to Italy.

Sheesh! Like many ethnic groups, a large number of Italians pay lip service to assimilation, but for some reason enjoy living in neighborhhods amongst large groups of their own kind, speaking their native language, and eating their "authentic" ethnic food. Get over it already!

32 posted on 07/26/2002 1:08:53 PM PDT by southern rock
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Maybe the Italians who are so offended by this should declare a fatwah or a jihad or something.

It's called, "Going to the mattresses."

33 posted on 07/26/2002 1:09:15 PM PDT by HIDEK6
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To: stands2reason
the "Tour of Italy," consisting of lasagna, chicken parmigiana and fettuccine alfredo--exactly not what you would have if you actually toured Italy.

Well, of course not. They have McDonald's in Italy!

Me, I'll opt for some of that genuine Eye-talian food...like pizza.

34 posted on 07/26/2002 1:09:36 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Fedupwithit
I've never been to Olive Garden, but what would people expect? It a restaurant chain that appeals to families. It's not a mom an, pop place. It's not a gourmet bistro. There are vast parts of this country with no authentic "Little Italys" and this place fills the void.

This article is anti-capitalist, anti-middle class, and anti-young-family-with-children. I bet the author is a sniffy liberal who buys overpriced coffee and scones every morning. Prolly doesn't like Disneyland, either. IMO
35 posted on 07/26/2002 1:09:39 PM PDT by BigBobber
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To: stands2reason
But how bad can it really be? I recently went to the Olive Garden in Toms River, N.J. The line to get in was out the door and around the corner

Yeah, nobody eats there...its too crowded.

The guy who wrote this is a snob. He spends 17 paragraphs describing what a menace the Olive Garden is. But in one paragraph he actually tried the food and didn't think it was half bad.

36 posted on 07/26/2002 1:10:03 PM PDT by kidd
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To: mdittmar
LOL!!!
37 posted on 07/26/2002 1:10:13 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: j.havenfarm
And the food is wretched.

I agree. I have been to the Olive Garden three times. Each time, I was disappointed by the poor qauality of food. My husband ate some dried out, crusty lasagna once. Ugh. I ordered a steak that tasted like shoe leather done in garlic butter. (Contrary to a popular belief, not everything tastes good cooked in garlic butter!) The salad served was drenched in oily dressing and the bread sticks were even worse than the ones served at Wendys. Grease city. (And not good grease!) Everytime I see those commercials and remember the fantastic meals that I have eaten in Italian homes, I am insulted. (And I'm not Italian!) The parking lot is always full. Go figure.

38 posted on 07/26/2002 1:11:30 PM PDT by demnomo
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To: BunnySlippers
Maybe like "South of the Border"---decent food, but don't call in Mexican, 'cause it ain't.
39 posted on 07/26/2002 1:12:19 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: stands2reason
When is this CRAP going to stop?

I'm an American that's it, no hyphens

Although my lineage goes back to Irish, German origins I will never use a hyphen.

I wish other felt the same way (I know most Freepers feel this way but I'm talking about the sheople). /Tirade off

40 posted on 07/26/2002 1:12:55 PM PDT by gilor
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To: The Federal Farmer
Hagis House, no, I do not think that one will ever catch on. As for complaints about OG marketing, it is an obnoxious ad campaign which does more to keep me from them than the food. As a rule of thumb, a product being sold has to be absolutely superior, otherwise, I will buy a competitors product, because the competitor has a less obnoxious advertising campaign.
41 posted on 07/26/2002 1:13:18 PM PDT by stylin_geek
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To: stands2reason
The food at the Olive Garden is brutal. That said, however, they are trying to market an image to unsophisticated diners that they are authentic. Many choose to go there. So be it.

(If you live in an area with any real Italian restaurants, one trip to an Olive Garden is one too many.)

42 posted on 07/26/2002 1:13:38 PM PDT by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: stands2reason
The food is pretty lame. Went a few times and was very disappointed both times. One time was horrid service and we left after the salad came and refused to pay. ( we did pay for our drinks but that is only because I am honest, others would have refused to pay that too)

Second we actually ate the food and it was not Italian food. Frankly I don't know what kind of food it was.

43 posted on 07/26/2002 1:15:36 PM PDT by alisasny
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To: stands2reason
I like the food at "Mon & Pop" restaurants as well. However, Americans have voted with their dollars for plastic Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and Thai Food (Probably others too but I have no knowledge of how "others" are supposed to taste). A friend of mine has a Mexican restaurant here in Oregon and tells me they try to copy sucessful restaurant's food. They are in business and want to make money.
44 posted on 07/26/2002 1:16:22 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Tired of Taxes
the mob thing is more than truthful. Many italians I know (including me) have more than one relative who is ahem "different". Many wops are proud of their "relations" (If I have to hear that Gotti was a good man one more time I think I'll slit my own wrists.) The stereotype will go away as time goes on though, I'm sure.

I'm like, 25 and not much of a chef, but I can cook better Italian than the olive garden. It's a question of ingredients.
45 posted on 07/26/2002 1:17:19 PM PDT by jjm2111
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To: stands2reason
A side issue:

Three times now the wife and I have gone to Olive Garden early to beat the evening crowd.

They put on a short crew and make you wait at the bar, thinking you'll suck up their booze while you wait.

The majority of the guests wait like sheep with their little beepers(made in the shape of glass coasters) FOR A CALL THAT NEVER COMES. We waited for 20 min. twice and once over an hour.

Needless to say, we don't want to be treated like THEIR FAMILY again.

We left for the last time.

A pity that they spend thousands trying to lure in people like us who were there all along, waiting to be served!

46 posted on 07/26/2002 1:17:41 PM PDT by FixitGuy
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To: The Federal Farmer; Black Agnes
When, oh when will someone create a theme restaurant with offensive commericials for us Scottish-Americans?

Maybe Haggis House?

ROTFLOL!

47 posted on 07/26/2002 1:18:34 PM PDT by nutmeg
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To: dighton; aculeus; general_re

48 posted on 07/26/2002 1:18:43 PM PDT by Orual
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To: Fedupwithit
Amen, and a Saraceno's bump. You wonder why there's no Olive Garden near metro Boston? Because the worst restaurant in the North End is a hundred thousand times better than the Olive Garden on its best night ever.

I didn't know the Olive Garden and Red Lobster were one in the same company. But that explains everything . . . they are by far the worst chain "restaurants" in America. Except for Applebey's, or however the eff you spell it. Now that place truly sucks dog farts.

49 posted on 07/26/2002 1:18:48 PM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost
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To: stands2reason
I wonder what the Italians think of Buca de Bepo. There was only one dish I ever liked at the Olive Garden. It was some chichen fettuchini with some kind of spinach and (I think) cheese sause. Yummm. They stopped serving it, and I stopped going. I did like their salads though. As for the menu, we'll the majority of Italian restaurants, even the little places, are usually not much better... spagetti, lasagna, fettucini alfredo, etc. All over-over priced and not much better than staying at home and cracking open a $2 jar of Ragu. Don't get me wrong though, I do enjoy Italian food. But Olive Garden is just one of a million middle class Italian joints.
50 posted on 07/26/2002 1:19:04 PM PDT by Sally II
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