When flat pizza just isn't enough

By Tim Nelson
February 22, 2018
Image courtesy Olive Garden

At a time when roving gangs of millennials stalk the earth killing industries and eating avocado toast, middlebrow restaurant chains have resorted to shock and awe tactics to get customers through their doors. While some have resorted to serving watered-down $1 margaritas, Olive Garden has decided to transform traditional Italian food into something out of a Guy Fieri acid trip.

Hot on the heels of their “Loaded Pasta Chips,” the Orlando-based Italian food impresarios have blessed (burdened?) the world with the new “Meatball Pizza Bowl.” To start, pizza dough is shaped into a vessel and loaded with a blend of asiago, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. It’s then brushed with olive oil, baked, and filled to the brim with spicy marinara and meatballs. Rather than slices, one simply forks their way through the dense layers of cheese, using the crust as a sort of circular breadstick.  

If we really do eat with our eyes first, then this monstrosity manages to seem both decadent and delicious. And even if it isn’t, your Instagram followers never have to know!

As part of the restaurant chain’s expanded “Lunch Duos” menu— which also includes chicken parm wedged between breadsticks— the pizza bowl is only available Monday through Friday before 3:00 PM. Apparently, Olive Garden has made the responsible decision to keep these bold flavors out of the hands of our nation’s school-aged children.

But for adults, it’s perfect for drowning workplace sorrows in a viscous river of cheese and spheres of meat before spending the rest of the afternoon taking a Costanzian nap under your desk. And with a menu price of just $8.99, there’s no better way to soothe the soul and launch into an existential crisis after getting laid off.

The pizza/pasta hybrid that one Foodbeast reviewer described as “good enough to make me want to actually go back to an Olive Garden” is available now. 1