Marilyn Hagerty’s review of the
That's if you believe the snarky legions who bashed the 85-year-old reviewer's piece last week and turned it viral, the diners who then defended it and the pundits who have since spun it into a touchstone for a feisty debate about the country's culture.
In it, the veteran reviewer describes visiting in the midafternoon so she "could be sure to get in." She deems the place "impressive," calling it "the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks." She observes the "waiters in white shirts" and the permanent flower displays, orders water instead of the suggested raspberry lemonade and praises the "welcoming entryway"
The circus continues this week, despite plenty of Hagerty fatigue. She's inspired an active thread on Chowhound's forum, where participants this week proclaimed themselves "Team Marilyn!" Her review is being used to illustrate concepts ranging from bicoastal elitism, generational appreciation of food, the role of niceness in fame and the decline of good manners in reviewing.
Her words (shared more than 26,000 times on
And in a true sign of the Internet times, Hagerty's notoriety is being parlayed into a savvy and expansive multimedia package on the Herald's website, complete with blog, Twitter stream, videos and even an e-book and T-shirt.
Hagerty couldn't immediately be reached for comment. And no wonder: The sudden celebrity has been sent by her publication on a whirlwind tour of New York.
She’s already succumbed to one foodie mainstay: food porn. Her blog now features a series of photos of the finely plated dishes she enjoyed at
As for the Grand Forks Olive Garden, employees say they've had a surge in questions and are keeping busy with customers. But otherwise, they said, things are pretty much the same.