The Okolona O.G. [Dining]

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"Finally" I though to myself when I saw that an Olive Garden had recently opened in front of the Jefferson Mall on the Outer Loop where Circuit City once stood. I don't have to drive all the way to Hurstbourne Lane anymore. I know. What a corporate culinary destination, but I just wanted a quick Italian dinner without having to go to Fazolis. Plus I wanted somewhere to watch the Louisville basketball game without the typical game-time commotion.

Believe it or not I had zero intention of writing this review when walking through the door. But, as it turned out, the incredibly horrible experience I had inspired me to perpetuate change over there at the good ole' Okolona OG. And when I say "change" I don't mean that any of the bar or service staff getting fired, reprimanded or anything like that. They just need to be trained. It's the management's fault. Management has failed to prepare their staff for the expectations and standards the customer base will hold them to. I know the standards because I used to work at Olive Garden on two occasions growing up. Yep, that's right I'm not being hypocritical here or talking out my keister. I totally understand the training rigors the employees actually go through and are expected to know before serving customers. I know that Darden restaurants (Olive Garden's parent company) actually prides themselves in above average service and product knowledge. So it was a bit disappointing when I asked for a glass of the Fiano (a white wine) and I get a some glass of Chianti (a red wine) and then a bartender who tries to play it off instead of just admitting she didn't know what the hell I just ordered. After disapearing for about 10 minutes she returns and hands me a glass with lip prints on them from the last customer. After finally getting everything correct, she snatches up the glass of misserved Chianti and pours it down the drain.

"Now why would you do that when you work for tips" I thought to myself, as a former bartender and OG employee. "Let the customer keep it even though they didn't order it as opposed to dumping down the drain. That's how you make good on the stupid blunder you just got busted for. And start redeeming on your +10% tip that your continuing to jeopardize."

I'll also point out that many of the bartender's service inadequacies and the bad experience I had were stemming from the bartender's intent with performing closing duties one hour before they actually closed. Again, management has failed to train and motivate them.

On a good note the "Seafood Brodetto" I had was wonderful.  Better than Fazolis. At least the kitchen staff knows what the hell is up.

About Jason Ashcraft
Jason is a life-long Louisville native who grew up in the Highlands, and now resides in an undisclosed fortified location somewhere in Louisville. He's followed Louisville's rock music scene for almost 10 years, first as a concert promoter, then an artist manager, and now a music critic and reviewer. He's one crazy Jarhead who'll literally publish anything his mind conceives on impulse, so don't always expect him to follow the traditional laws of journalism. He has intent of reviving Hunter S. Thompson's “gonzo journalism” if only his editors will allow it...which they don't usually. Head over to LouisvilleScuttlebutt.com for more published rhetoric.
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