I just love this. Marilyn Hagerty is an 85-year-old restaurant reviewer for Grand Forks Herald. Recently she reviewed the local Olive Garden, calling it the “largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks.” Late last week, I remember seeing a mention of the review somewhere saying how sad that fact was. I didn’t think much about it.


I spent a few days away this weekend, totally disconnected from what was going on in the world of food. So I was surprised when I fired up my computer today and saw what’s being described as Marilyn Mania. I might not have thought much about the attention the review had gotten, but many others did. People started to come to her defense after several websites commented negatively about her positive review. Then the major news and entertainment shows got involved.


Marilyn’s review, and Marilyn herself, have gone viral. In the following interview with CBS, she admits that she wasn’t aware of what “going viral” meant.



How amazing and inspiring is this woman? She’s 85 years old, and she writes five columns a week for a newspaper. 


Marilyn Hagerty is receiving national attention now, and Yahoo reports that she’s a bit perplexed by it.


"I still don't get it. I don't care. It is what it is."

I can understand why she’s perplexed. She doesn’t spend time on social media or foodie sites. She didn’t know how quickly something can spread around the Internet — even trivial things like a positive review of Olive Garden. (Although much has been made about the fact that the review is a positive one about the restaurant as a whole and not so much a positive one about the food.)


She probably thinks it’s a little silly, but sometimes the silly things can lead to some fun and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. She’s had to decline an invitation to be on “The Tonight Show” because she couldn’t fit in between her appearances on “The Early Show,” “The Today Show” and the “Piers Morgan Show.”


Have you been paying attention to Marilyn Mania? What do you think of all the attention?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

85-year-old Marilyn Hagerty's Olive Garden review goes viral
When a long-time North Dakota columnist praised the new Olive Garden in her community, the Internet and the media went crazy.