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The Tide Has Turned!!!

5 Sep

Around the DFW area, there is no shortage of places to get Italian food.   But when you think in terms of visibility and marketing it seems we have just two:   Olive Garden and Spaghetti Warehouse.

Both are usually packed during the weekends so I guess they do well.    Most people I know consider them great places.

The thing I hear most often is “I love O.G.’s breadsticks and salad”.

Olive Garden has always struck me as trying to be a classy place.  It’s not, but it tries, so I give them credit for that.   Back in the day their breadsticks DID indeed kick ass.  But today they don’t taste fresh.  They have a slight freezer burn taste to them more often than not.  The salad is still good though.  I will say that.  But most of their entrees just don’t drive me wild.   It’s rather bland.   Not bad.  Just generic.

Spaghetti Warehouse has always had the reputation of being the more casual, hang out kinda joint.   It’s decorated with crazy signs and junk and it’s just laid back.   I have always found their table bread and garlic butter to be MAGNIFICENT.   The rest of the menu I could take or leave.   It seemed just as generic as Olive Garden.  Only cheaper.

So the group think was (in my circles) was that OG was the nicer and better place.   I hadn’t been to either in several months.   I tend to make my own italian food at home now, but in a funny twist of fate, I ended up eating at OG and SW in the same weekend.   So they were both fresh on my mind:

OLIVE GARDEN – Still has some good salad.   The breadsticks are just as I remember them.  Not as good.  Their calamari appetizer was SURPRISINGLY good.  Tender and with a light crunch.  The decor in this new location is romantically lit and everything looks very nice and pretty.  I notice the prices seem higher than I remember.   Food is just generic and disappointing.

SPAGHETTI WAREHOUSE – Was still the crazy decorated place with the laid back atmosphere.   What I discovered in terms of food was noticeable.   The table bread/garlic butter was perfect as always.  I did notice a difference in the salad.  It seemed bigger, fresher, and with a zestier dressing.   The spaghetti, meatballs, chicken parm, and other things we were all eating tasted better in terms of quality.    Nice portions and rich sauces.

After years of Olive Garden holding the crown (such as it is) I think Spaghetti Warehouse has really stepped up its game and improved the ingredients they use for their recipes.   It’s no longer generic.  It’s rich and hearty southern italian food.

Spaghetti Warehouse leaps off the top rope and lands the 1-2-3, and takes the championship belt from Olive Garden!

WOO!

 

 

 

 

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