Hagerty's Review Of Olive Garden In Her Native North Dakota Goes Viral

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An 85-year old food critic has become an Internet sensation, despite the fact that she had no idea what “going viral” meant.

Marilyn Hagerty, 85, of North Dakota has been a critic for more than 30 years. But it was her recent review of a new Olive Garden that appeared in the Grand Forks Herald that got her noticed.

Really noticed.

Hagerty’s online review went viral and within 24 hours got nearly 300,000 hits. It also sent food lovers and bloggers into a tizzy over the non-sarcastic review of the Italian food chain.

Web Extra: Watch Hagerty’s Interview With CBS This Morning

Hagerty said on CBS This Morning that she reviewed the Olive Garden because it’s what she does every week.

“It’s one of five columns that I write each week, and I went there, because it had been long-awaited. People were so anxious to have that Olive Garden come to town. And I went there as a routine workday to find out what it looked like, and how it was. And to tell my readers what was on the menu, and how the restaurant looked. How many people it could feed. I was not critiquing their food. I was reviewing their restaurant. I was trying to describe it.”

In addition to CBS This Morning, she’s appeared on CNN with Piers Morgan, the Today Show and Good Morning America.

Trying to capitalize on their new star, The Herald paid for tickets to New York for Hagerty and created a “Marilyn in Manhattan” blog chronicling her Big Apple adventure.

Celebrity Chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain called Hagerty an Internet sensation and tweeted the following: “Very much enjoying watching Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty triumph over the snarkologists (myself included).”

Bourdain is so impressed with the new star that he scored her a table at Le Bernardin in Manhattan, the posh seafood restaurant dubbed one of the best in the world.

Will acclaimed chef Eric Ripert fare as well as the chefs at the Olive Garden? We will have to wait and see.

Which restaurant do you think she’ll like better? Olive Garden or Le Bernardin? Let us know below.


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