The Olive Garden is more than just a place to eat and fill your stomach. The owners created this piece of TUSCANY to honor not only the City in Italy for which it is designed but, the food which it bears. One of their Chefs once said, "The Italian people have a love for food. They don’t just eat food to get energy for the body, they use all their senses". In the restaurant biz it's uncommon to have a whole chain dedicate the foundation to one premiss. The Olive Garden even sends a group of Chef's and managers each year to Italy to train them in their philosophy. Over 1,400 to date ( looked up on their website). Personally, I think this corporation has done an outstanding job. We have eaten there whenever we get the chance and have never been disappointed.
Last night was no different. We started with the a couple of great Margarita's ,Brushetta and then their fabulous chilled Salad. I had the Raviola di Portobello and my wife the Smoked Mozerrella Chicken. They had a 'Special' which offered you a free Take-Home bonus dinner with the chicken dish so, my wife carted out a Spaghetti in 4 Cheese sauce. This was a ridiculous bargain @$57 in a sea of overpriced dinners at other restaurants surrounding this place. Service?: Our server was Nicole S and she was fabulous!
As far as LEESBURG. I'm surprised the folks at the Darden Corporation didn't locate this great piece of Italy in a higher income area, like Mount Dora. As Leesburg, Florida only has a population of 15,956, and a medium income of $25,988 yr. at last count, with a medium age of 42. Not a huge customer base. The fact it is packed every time we go says a lot. The only reason I think they must have picked LEESBURG to open a restaurant is it has an almost hidden "Venetian Gardens" built in 1938 ......a real gem for this City. The only other thing it's 'known for' is that heavy metal rocker, "Ozzy Osboune's" lead guitarist -Randy Rhoads- was killed here in a horrific small plane crash in March of 1982. After their tour bus driver (with an expired pilots license) took Rhoads, and a hairdresser for the Group, on a joy ride. He buzzed the Tour Bus, but, on the 4th pass, clipped the side of the Tour coach and crashed into a huge home. But, I digress: Other than that- Leesburg is pretty much unremarkable. On a positive note: if you haven't tired Olive Garden- it IS really good.
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