Sixty five year old Milton Fennelston has never been more appalled in his life. Milton has had the misfortune of being deceived, you see: given a sense of security under incredibly false pretenses. For five years counting this very day Milton, a South Brunswick resident, has frequented what he thought was an Italian-run bistro located next to the East Brunswick Mall. Every day he would take his place at his usual spot where he would ask for his waiter, Javier Cuervonado and would order the house chicken fettuccine, which is a dish he explained to this reporter as a “distinctly old world recipe, tempered in a way that made it seem any man could prepare it. ” Mr. Fennelston was a food critic for a major New York publication in the late seventies, and found the cuisine to be fascinating.
“It was like someone had created a high class microwaveable Italian eatery. A bistro made for an individual unable to visit a mom & pop Italian place.” But Milton’s heart was shattered when on his half decade anniversary as a customer, he asked to see the chef about menu choices and was told that this was in fact no creative restaurant. Milton Fennelston had for five years been a patron of an Olive Garden. “I was heartbroken and bewildered by this information. How is it Javier is not a pure Italian? I am an expert at accents and he is obviously Sicilian. And the desserts! There is no way their Oreo Fudge cheesecake could be merely a store-bought and defrosted item.” Fennelston has described his life as a whirlwind of depression following the revelation. “These were people who had an intimate role in my life. Their kindness was beyond any sort of plebeian chain. Why, Javier would bring me free bread sticks after I would eat my given portion. These were gestures of true friendship I did not see shared with other patrons.” Fennelston noted that he was also known to dine at the Olive Garden at five on a Tuesday.
But really this is a case of restaurant integrity. With the Olive Garden so dangerously close to emulating real Italian cuisine, are real Italian bistros under duress to up their ante? And is it possible the great American creation known as franchised restaurants has begun to usurp unsatisfactory mom and pop locations? For this writer, such an occurrence would be a path towards an American utopia. After all, few restaurants can offer the thrill of various chachkis on walls and gourmet-level potato skins like the Zagat-worthy Applebee’s. On a final note, a manager of the Olive Garden spoke to us about Fennelston’s time at the eatery and his thoughts on the loss of a good friend. Asking to remain unnamed, he was very frank in his sentiments:
“Who in their right mind would think this was real Italian?”