On any given night, you could waltz into Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant with $20 in your pocket and leave an hour later with a belly full of pasta and a pocketful of leftover dollars. But December 31st is not just any night, not even for the country’s “largest chain of Italian-themed restaurants.” Because it boasts an enviable (for New Year’s Eve) 2 Times Square address, Olive Garden is putting a premium on its eggplant parm for the evening, charging revelers $400 apiece to ring in the new year. And tickets are reportedly going fast!
The five-hour Garden party, which kicks off at 8 p.m., includes everything one needs to say goodbye to 2015 in style: platefuls of food (chicken con broccoli, shrimp primavera, chicken marsala, eggplant parm, and mashed potatoes are among the delicacies promised as part of the full buffet), several open bars, a live DJ, plenty of dancing, a champagne toast at midnight, and several hundred strangers with whom to share the evening are all included in the hefty pricetag.
While it was originally reported that the restaurant’s beloved breadsticks would not be making an appearance (cue the Twitter outrage), a company spokesperson assured DNAinfo (and deep-pocketed carb-lovers everywhere) that that was simply not true.
Though the breadstick crisis has been averted, there is a rub: Olive Garden’s view of the actual ball drop is limited, so partygoers intent on seeing all 2688 of the ball’s Waterford Crystal triangles in the background of their selfies might be out of luck. “With the cooperation of the NYPD and security, we are hoping to get to see the ball drop from just outside our front doors,” said a spokesperson for the restaurant. “But due to security issues we can't sell the tickets on the premise that outside view of the ball drop is guaranteed.”
Ball drop or breadsticks? You decide.