Des Moines' south side Italian restaurants react to new Olive Garden
Des Moines' south side has a vibrant history of Italian heritage, including the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa and a 120-year-old Italian grocery store.
- And now you can add to that list ... Olive Garden.
Driving the news: The national chain opened its third metro location Monday at 6157 SE 14th Street to a lot of hype and excited fans.
So we asked some longtime local Italian establishments to share their thoughts about the newest competitor in town:
🍝 Baratta's: "It's like comparing apples to oranges, our business to their business," Lisa Kruger tells Axios. "If you go somewhere like that, where maybe a 16-year-old is seating you, it's just a different experience."
🥩 Graziano's: "I don't think I can go on record with that," Lisa Graziano jokes.
- (She later said it's a "shame" that chain restaurants give the wrong implication of what Italian American food should be.)
🍕 Scornovacca's: "More power to them," says Rocco Vacco. "We've been established for 50 years."
💭 Linh's thought bubble: I stopped by during Olive Garden's soft opening and thought it was solid for chain restaurant food.
- My only gripe: Leftover soup was put in a to-go box. Not a bowl. (Yes, it did spill on the way home.)
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