KDLT Home KDLT on Facebook KDLT on Twitter Get the KDLT iPhone App Get the KDLT Android App

Olive Garden Food Critic Receives Award

Bookmark and Share

A Grand Forks woman with her own column became an Internet sensation earlier this year when her review of the city's new Olive Garden restaurant went viral.

Marilyn Hagerty, who is 86-years-old, works at the Grand Forks Herald, and she's still writing five columns a week.

On Thursday at the University of South Dakota, she was presented the 2012 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media, to honor her career.

An interesting fact is that six decades ago, Hagerty went to USD with Neuharth, the founder of USA Today and presenter of her award.

Hagerty remained humble, bubbly and full of personality while she talked about what this award means to her.

"It's an overwhelming honor," said Hagerty.

Nearly eight months ago, on March 7th, it was just like any other workday for Marilyn Hagerty.

She was writing a food review for her "Eatbeat," column in the Grand Forks Herald newspaper and the article just happened to be about the newest hot spot in town, the Olive Garden.

"In Grand Forks that was pretty big news. We've been waiting for that Olive Garden for years, there have been rumors," said Hagerty.

She called it an innocent review with a little bit of flair, describing the ambience, service and how the chicken alfredo was "warm and comforting on a cold day."

"I tried to tell people what it tasted like, what it cost and what the place was like and how the service was," said Hagerty.

Soon after her review printed in the paper, some critics were called it "pathetic," and "weird,” while others found it humorous and cute.

The article instantly went viral, but Hagerty was oblivious to the national attention she was getting that day, she had other plans.

"I don't have time for all this crap, I've got to go to bridge club," said Hagerty.

After some critics tore her review apart, people from all over the country flooded her inbox with words of support, including well-known food personality Anthony Bourdain.

Al Neuharth said most of his awards go to journalists who have drawn national interest and Hagerty did just that.

"If you want to have a following, you have to be interesting," said Neuharth.

For Hagerty, she appreciates the millions of people, who have read her article, but the support from her friends and family has been the most rewarding.

"The most fun is the support that I've had my friends in Grand Forks and people who read the Hearald and the nice notes I get from little towns all around Grand Forks," said Hagerty.

She also said she happily accepted an invitation from host of Anderson Cooper 360, Anderson Cooper, to go to Olive Garden soon.

Hagerty said the award represents all journalists working in a medium sized market, she says plans to write for the Grand Forks Herald until they let her go.
< Prev Story Back To Top Next Story >

Co. Commission Has Own Plan For Van Eps  story with video

Drinking and violence are a little too close for one group of employees in ...

Arc Of Dreams To Be Built In Downtown SF  story with video

Plans for the largest art project in the City of Sioux Falls were unveiled Monday. ...

Finding Relief From Shirt-Soaking Humidity  story with video

Many people who were inside the office at work all day were probably floored ...

Potential Dangers Of Stick Figure Decals  story with video  Jul. 21

Woman's Body Found In Brule County  Jul. 21

Men Sentenced In Case Involving Ex-USD Athletes  Jul. 21

Crop Conditions Good Despite Week With Little Rain  Jul. 21

Putin Under Pressure  story with video  Jul. 21

RAGBRAI Riders Endure Summer's Hottest Days  Jul. 21

Lance Armstrong Named Grand Marshal For Sturgis Ride  Jul. 21

Sac County Jail Inmate Attempts Escape  Jul. 21

Man Dies In Sioux Falls Industrial Accident  Jul. 21

Over 110k Attend Sioux Falls JazzFest  Jul. 21

Stolen Guns, Drugs Found During Traffic Stop  Jul. 21

Volin Woman Dies In Motorcycle Accident  Jul. 21

Foes Seek Vote On Oil-Contaminated Soil Project  Jul. 21

MN Man Loses 2 Relatives In Airliner Crash  story with video  Jul. 21

SD Woman Recognized For Role In Baseball History  Jul. 21

Pow Wow Honors American Indian Culture  story with video  Jul. 21

Pierre Residents Win Governor's Cup Walleye Derby  Jul. 21

KDLT News Archive

Stolen Guns, Drugs Found During Traffic Stop

Four Brandon teens are facing drug charges after a ...

Woman's Body Found In Brule County

Authorities are investigating the death of a woman whose body was ...

Man Dies In Sioux Falls Industrial Accident

A Sioux Falls man is dead after an accident at a concrete ...

Volin Woman Dies In Motorcycle Accident  Jul. 21

Potential Dangers Of Stick Figure Decals  story with video  Jul. 21

Lance Armstrong Named Grand Marshal For Sturgis Ride  Jul. 21

MN Man Loses 2 Relatives In Airliner Crash  story with video  Jul. 21

Over 110k Attend Sioux Falls JazzFest  Jul. 21

KDLT News Archive

Birds fall at St. Paul

ST PAUL, MN - The Canaries (22-41) were unable to continue their previous ...

Tough day for Spirit Lake and Lemars at state softball  story with video

The girls state softball tournament started in Fort ...

Ed Moses sets example for local swimmers  story with video

Most everyone knows the thrill of competition. But only a few ...

Madison Tops Dell Rapids Twice For Region Title  story with video  Jul. 20

Dakota Schoolers Win Pentagon Summer Slam  story with video  Jul. 20

Corn Palace Stampede Delights Fans Of All Ages  story with video  Jul. 20

Madison Staves Off Elimination At Region 2B  story with video  Jul. 20

Canaries End Skid In Fargo  story with video  Jul. 20

KDLT Sports Stories
Back To Top