Thursday, March 08, 2012

Grand Forks ND Olive Garden receives warm welcome

Here at Random Pixels, we're constantly trying to come up with that one post, the one photo or video that will send our daily page views into the six-figure range.

So far, we haven't had much luck.

So, we were impressed today when we learned that a restaurant review written by a columnist for a small North Dakota paper had garnered something like 90,000 page views.

Marilyn Hagerty
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Internet's newest star, Marilyn Hagerty, long-time columnist for the Grand Forks, (ND) Herald.

Marilyn's been writing for the Herald for decades, but for some reason her delightful review of the new Olive Garden in Grand Forks that appeared in today's paper is what's burning up the Internet.

Perhaps Marilyn's breezy, small-town honest, no-nonsense style of writing is what's striking a chord with readers:
All in all, it is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks. It attracts visitors from out of town as well as people who live here.

At length, I asked my server what she would recommend. She suggested chicken Alfredo, and I went with that. Instead of the raspberry lemonade she suggested, I drank water.
(One commenter points out that small town newspaper readers simply want to know, "Was the food okay? How much do meals cost? Can I take my kids there?")

As I write this, Marilyn's review has been tweeted more than 6,700 times and has more than 4,300 Facebook shares.

And if there are any snotty, self-absorbed types reading this who might feel inclined to make fun of Marilyn or find fault with her writing, here's what she told the Village Voice: "If anyone's got time to sit out there and nitpick, I kind of feel sorry for them. Get a life."

But, while it's Marilyn's Olive Garden review that's getting all the attention, I think her column about a recent trip to Florida contains two of the most wonderful paragraphs ever to appear in a newspaper:
An elderly white-haired gentleman leaned over me when I was sitting on a bench in Florida. He said, “Say something! Say something!”

I thought he was trying to pick me up. Then I realized he wanted to know if his hearing aid was working. He had just paid to have it fixed and wanted to be sure about it.

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