Old footage of 1988 Olive Garden review on tv


‘I remember when OG was a nice night out’: Viewers can’t believe 1988 Olive Garden video

'Dining out in the ’80s and '90s were a dark time.'


Phil West


Posted on Aug 10, 2023

It might seem like Olive Garden has been a fixture in suburban neighborhoods forever, but there was indeed a time in which the chain restaurant was a brand new phenomenon. That time was 1988, and a video from that era has resurfaced—allowing people today to freshly dunk on Olive Garden.

The video comes courtesy of @totally80sroom, a TikTok channel dedicated to unearthing and sharing vintage videos from the big-haired 1980s. This two-minute clip comes courtesy of TC Media Now — preserving TV clips from Minneapolis-St. Paul news stations from yesteryear, citing what it calls “our vast library of dusty VHS tapes and films.”

It was a big hit for the account, getting more than 1.4 million views since going up on TikTok on Sunday.

The video starts with a male and female TV anchor raving about a month-old Italian restaurant chain that just arrived in Minnesota, named Olive Garden and being so popular that “they have had 45-minute waits at lunch and dinner.”

One attentive viewer noted, “It’s from a local TV show called Good Company,” adding, “It was kind of like a local version of Live With Regis and Kathie Lee.”

The show aired on ABC-affiliate KSTP-TV in the ’80s and ’90s, according to that station’s September 2022 retrospective on the show, and was hosted by Steve Edelman and Sharon Anderson. According to the Pavek Museum, which maintains a Minnesota Broadcasters Hall of Fame, they eventually married after starting as broadcasting partners.

In the video, Edelman remarks, “I mean, people are just going in droves to this place.”

@totally80sroom A review of the Olive Garden 1988 #80s #90s #1988 #olivegarden #food #restaurant #fyp #review ♬ original sound – totally80sroom

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, “Olive Garden is an Italian-themed casual-dining restaurant founded in 1982 by commercial supplier General Mills as the company’s first original restaurant (it had previously acquired 5-unit Red Lobster in 1970 and Good Earth in 1980). General Mills Restaurants owned Olive Garden and grew it to 145 units by 1989, making it the fastest-growing restaurant chain at the time, before migrating to a standalone company, Darden Restaurants, in 1995.”

That General Mills nugget rang as particularly funny to at least one viewer reacting in the comments to Anderson’s line, “It’s a family restaurant owned by General Mills.”

The video also touts the unlimited breadsticks and salad that Olive Garden built its empire on.

“The menu features various regional foods from both northern and southern Italy,” Edelman intones. “You can get those breadsticks and salad complimentary with the entrees.”

“All you can eat!” says Anderson, perkily.

“All you can eat!” Edelman booms back. “Which is really nice.”

However, by the end of the video, the anchors are a bit critical of Olive Garden, saying the food has been uneven over the course of several visits there, with each of the TV personalities rating it 2 1/2 out of four stars.

“I remember when OG was a nice night out,” one remarked. “Now it’s ehh,” yet granting, “The breadsticks are still my favorite.”

“This was ON THE NEWS!!!!” someone marveled. “They’re giving menu prices!”

“It feels like a paid ad spot but they get to diss on it at the end so semi-news.”

“Imagine waiting for Olive Garden,” said one, referring to the 45-minute wait mentioned in the spot. “I couldn’t.”

But another went the other way, saying, “45 minute wait at a restaurant being outrageous,” with a laughing emoji.

Someone else declared, “Dining out in the ’80s and ’90s were a dark time.”

“Damn, they used to put three olives instead of two in their salad back then,” one person quipped. “Better times.”

One person wondered about time travel, saying, “What I would do to taste OG from 1988.”

But one didn’t want to taste it from any era, declaring, “I remember as a kid thinking it was fancy. Now I wouldn’t take a dump in an Olive Garden.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to the creator via TikTok comment and to Olive Garden via email.

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*First Published: Aug 10, 2023, 7:12 pm CDT