Olive Garden Review Gets Celeb Attention, Receives More than 400K Views

PHOTO: Grand Forks Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty reviewed her local Olive Garden in a piece that went viral.
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The tweets keep coming, a backlash against initial snarky comments is building and Web clicks on a viral restaurant review of a local Olive Garden have doubled just days after its release on a small, North Dakota newspaper's website.

The review of the chain eatery, whose arrival was said to be highly anticipated in Grand Forks, N.D., has caused a nationwide Web firestorm, with more than 400,000 hits on the Grand Forks Herald's website.

The article made history for the paper after it was posted Tuesday, quickly reaching 200,000 views by Wednesday afternoon. It was 10 times more read than paper's next-most-popular story.

Eighty-five-year-old Marilyn Hagerty, a 65-year news veteran, wrote the review as a part of her "Eatbeat" column. When told by her son that her article had gone viral, Hagerty noted she "didn't know what that meant."

The initial tweets were sometimes mocking.

Kevin Hoffman tweeted, "BREAKING: Marilyn Hagerty also reviewed Taco Bell."

But there also has been social media support.

Jamila Twain wrote, "Back off my breadsticks! In defense of Olive Garden (and Marilyn Hagerty)."

Even some of Hagerty's fellow foodies chimed in, with author and chef Anthony Bourdain tweeting, "Very much enjoyed watching internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty triumph over the snarkologists (myself included)."

"Everyone had blogged about it, tweeted about it," Alan Sytsma, editor of New York Magazine, told ABC News. "Everyone knows who she is. She's probably the most famous restaurant critic in America right now."

Hagerty told ABC affiliate WDAZ she didn't know what all the fuss was about.

"People were quite excited about the Olive Garden, and it was packed with people for several weeks," Hagerty told WDAZ.

But her tell-all review became an Internet sensation, describing the chain's new location as the "largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks," and a hot-spot attracting "visitors from out of town as well as people who live here."

Hagerty's meal of choice at the popular American chain was chicken alfredo.

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