Marilyn Hagerty delivers again

Marilyn Hagerty, the columnist and food critic for the Grand Forks Herald, has probably already had her 15 minutes of fame thanks to her review of an Olive Garden a few years ago, which the rest of the nation more than appreciated for its lack of pretentiousness.

But Hagerty is a treasure in the Upper Midwest, and her review today of the chicken oriental salad at Applebee’s is another instant classic.

There is a legend on the menu explaining how a small apple designates less than 550 calories in the item. A red pepper indicates the item is spicy, and a blue marker shows an endorsement by Weight Watchers. They help make the menu seem friendly.

And the menu changes four times a year with adaptations for the seasons.

Servers at Applebee’s are mostly UND students. They don’t come around asking if everything is all right. Instead, one of the managers said they are encouraged to show their own personalities. None of this, “Hi, I’m Nick, and I will be your server.”

MB and I enjoyed the friendly and relaxed manner of our server, Miguela. She was there when we needed her. She did not intrude.

Most days, there is a welcome at the door from a long-time employee, Mary Lou Kurtyka. She fits the neighborhood theme promoted by the restaurant.

Applebee’s is a place where customers tend to linger and chat. And study the dessert menu. MB and I decided we could do without the Blue Ribbon Brownies ($5.49). But we couldn’t pass up sharing one of the small gooey, chocolate desserts on the menu. They’re called Dessert Shooters and are $1.99.

Just right.

And so are you, Ms. Hagerty.

Archive: When Mom Goes Viral: Marilyn Hagerty, 85, Is Talk of Social Media (Wall St. Journal)