Mon, April 22, 2024

Business Lunch Review: Olive Garden

Editor’s Note:
Wes Hennings never met a meal he walked away from and is an opinionated eater! Each Thursday he shares the results of a business lunch he’s had with a colleague as a way to advise our business community on the good, bad and the tasty across the CSRA. He doesn’t let ABD or the restaurant know where he is going and his opinions are his own. He grades the restaurants he visits on a 1-5 scale with “5” being outstanding. We call this our “Real Business Lunch Review”.

Food Quality: 4
Service: 4
Business Meeting: 4
Value: 5

Score: 4.25 of 5


Some days you just need one of those lunches where you know what you’re getting. That’s why I ended up this week at the Olive Garden on Washington Road. Was it good? Yeah. Was it great? Nah. Would it work for a business meeting? Sure (as long as you’re not trying to impress, or eating with someone who’s actually Italian).

We beat the lunch rush on this particular day so we were seated immediately. If you don’t hit it at the top of the lunch hour though, Augusta’s singular Garden location can have a bit of a wait. Our server greeted us quickly and was efficient and polite.

Olive Garden has done well with crafting a lunch menu that’s affordable even as their dinner prices creep up toward overpriced. Endless soup and salad start at 8 bucks, you can get some pasta for 9, and any dishes with actual meat in them clock in at 10 bucks. I opted just for some fettuccine alfredo and my companion the chicken parm.

The best part is no matter what you order, you’ll leave full because of the bread that just keeps coming along with the soup and salad. I opted for soup on a somewhat chilly day, and was a little bummed that my chicken and gnocchi only had a couple of the Italian dumplings floating around in it. The chicken was also lacking, but overall tasty enough.

The food arrived, and again, it’s what you’d expect, but certainly not overwhelming. The lunch pasta portions are definitely trimmed from what you’d expect at dinner, but I guess it’s nice that they don’t have to roll you out to go back to the office. The chicken parmesan had a better portion size, and fits the running theme here: good, not amazing.

If I had a casual client meeting, or needed to have a chat with some coworkers, I’d definitely hit up the OG. It provided a pretty quiet place for conversation and food that you know will be decent. If I was trying to impress or show some local flair, I’d keep on driving.

Sadly, I feel like Olive Garden is too typical of the lunch fare you find in our fair city. Just good enough and popular enough of a chain to keep people from branching out or keeping the bigger, more unique players from trying to make it here.

Olive Garden
2736 Washington Rd

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