Boston is next on Olive Garden’s Breadstick Nation road trip, and the stop includes a swing through the North End, which has long long been known for its legendary Italian food. As you might imagine, angry local restaurateurs are not pleased with this development — a disgrace they liken to inviting P.F. Chang’s to pass out spring rolls in Chinatown. They feel Olive Garden didn’t even deserve a food-truck permit to begin with, and, least of all, permission to park the humongous vehicle in the most authentically Italian part of town.
As George Mendoza, co-owner of Monica’s, explains to Boston.com, “There is nothing authentically Italian about Olive Garden. It’s an insult to everyone in the North End selling Italian food for more than 100 years.” Carmelina’s and Vito’s Tavern owner Damien DiPaola, meanwhile, goes for the jugular by warning that chefs in his neighborhood “don’t put three different types of pasta together, or pile protein on top of pasta with shit sauce,” like a certain somebody whose unlimited breadsticks have now spawned meatball sandwiches. He warns anyone tempted by the publicity stunt to patronize at their own risk, and prepare themselves for “fake garlic and heartburn.”
Going off on a Twitter rant, Boston Globe restaurant critic Devra First cautions that while meatball breadstick sandwiches aren’t at all authentic, you can pretty much say the same about a lot of North End food: