When Olive Garden finally came to Traverse City, I was anxious to try it. It was on a Friday night, at 5:30pm before the tourists began pouring in. This is a beautiful brick and wood building, much like a home, situated in the middle of a Kia car lot! I thought these cars were customer's cars, thinking Olive Garden would be packed out. Not to be discouraged I forged ahead and learned it was not so. Entering the lobby, we noticed the bar area is all brick giving a cozy feeling without sacrificing room.
No less than 4 hostesses greeted us (overkill) and a 5th took us to our table. We were seated in a smaller room of the 4 we walked through. Before ordering, our server encouraged us to try their latest wine, "Only 25 cents for a sip" in wine glasses already placed on our table. I didn't care for the forward imposition but we didn't get any feeling of pressure to buy. Looking around, I found many people declined the wine.
Intending to use our gift card we were limited to a budget ($25) which we found easily met by ordering the "Never ending Pasta Bowl" for $7.95. With this you create your own dish by choosing the pasta and the sauce. For seconds and thirds we chose still another combination. Between the two of us we had 5 entrees (of course not all at once)! I found my Spinach Alfredo the best. It was creamy, cheesy, with fresh chopped spinach. And there was much more of this sauce than the other 4 we tasted. The 5 cheese Marinara, meat sauce, sun-dried tomato parmesan, marinara all were very sparse upon the pasta served. The flavor was excellent however, as was the service. Our server knew when we were ready to order the 2nd and 3rd choices almost before we were. These were delivered from the kitchen hot with very little wait time.
The entire meal total was $16.25, leaving another 8.75 for a return visit which we will gladly do so. There are many other delicious looking entrees begging to be tried.