Haunted To This Day
“I was working one night, yes at the good ole OliveGarden. I had a table, a 2-top. We make salads based on how many people are there at the table getting salad. So for two people, it’s about less than halfway.
I did the standard ‘Would you like cheese?’ And the maniacal grin I got from both of them still haunts me to this day. I grated straight through one block and I said ‘Whoops looks like I’m out’
‘Can’t you get more?’
‘Sure I’ll get right on that!’
I come back out and go through ANOTHER block of our cheese, at this point, there is literally more cheese in the bowl than anything green.
They got another cheese ‘salad’ after that too.”
The Best Part Of Every Meal
“I used to work at an Italian restaurant where we grated cheese on most dishes if the customer desired.
On one particular instance, I was grating and watching to make sure I was aiming at the food correctly. All of a sudden, I see this tiny roach fall out. Without missing a beat, I picked up the plate and made some excuse about how something wasn’t right and I would bring it right back. I take it to the kitchen and they redo it in a flash and we deep clean everything immediately. But, now every time I get offered grated cheese, I’m like nah, I’m good.”
A Table For Mr. Extra
“I once told the server at an Olive Garden how my girlfriend’s mom always wanted one of those graters. I half-jokingly said I’d leave an extra tip if she ‘left it behind’. She proceeded to grate the cheese and walked away from the table, with her grater — and without a word.
Thinking I just made a fool of myself, I sheepishly ate my soup while my girlfriend laughed at me.
5 minutes later, the server comes towards our table with something concealed in a red fabric napkin. She sets it down next to my plate, no eye contact and no stopping.
I open the napkin.. boom.. it’s the cheese grater, with half a block of cheese still inside.
Feeling like a boss — Girlfriend is impressed, I’m a master con-man, the perfect bad-boy. Clearly, my girlfriend will be sharing this daring moment with her friends tonight on AIM…
We eat our meal, get the occasional ‘I got your back’ looks from the server.
Drop an extra 10 dollar tip, cuz I’m a boss and all…
I drive my girlfriend home. I give her mom her wish. She says ‘uh, there is still cheese in it.’
Me: ‘Don’t sweat it, it’s yours’
That mom is now my mother-in-law.
Dad’s Little Secret
“Dad is embarrassed to ask for the actual amount of cheese he wants. Instead, he brings his own cheese to the restaurant in a ziplock bag.”
“We had one guy come in our restaurant who would need A LOT of cheese. He was a regular so eventually, the server would grate a pile of cheese on a separate plate for him before his food was ready.
One server got annoyed with it and she jokingly told him, ‘Better be careful! You keep eating cheese like this and you’ll get fat!’ Which was totally inappropriate but he got her fired over it. I got a good laugh when I saw him a couple years later… very fat.”
“I Realize My Mistakes Now”
“When I was like 12 or 13 I was that person who waited forever.
The problem was, I didn’t realize I was supposed to tell them to stop. I figured they had a ‘cheese quota’ or allotment that they gave out on a plate by plate basis. About 15-20 seconds in (which is a long time when cheese is being grated) I started wondering if they liked me more than other customers. By 25 seconds in I’m marveling at amazement at the small mountain of parm forming. At 30 seconds the poor waiter clears his throat. I look up and he’s got his eyebrow raised.
‘Oh, am I supposed to say stop?’
[dead look in eyes] ‘Yes.’
‘…’ (10 more seconds pass)
‘Okay that’s good.’
I mean, I figured it had been that long, might as well make the most of it! Sorry random waiter at East Side Mario’s”
It Started With The Cheese, End With Getting Kicked Out
“Made a mountain that was slightly larger than the lady’s shrimp alfredo once at Red Lobster. I remember having to go get another cheese block.
She was part of a group that later complained about my ‘service,’ resulting in the entire table being comped.
They left me $5 on what was a $300 check.
My manager told me later they had done it before and that they wouldn’t be coming back. They did, though…
My manager served them herself the last time they came in. They got their meal comped again but not before my manager got a great speech in. They were trying to talk crap in the lobby like they were leaving on their own and never coming back and my manager said, ‘That’s how it works when you’re thrown out. We don’t want your money. NOT THAT WE EVER GOT ANY FROM YOU.’
And the lady goes, ‘Yeah, there’s a reason for that.’ And my manager goes, ‘Yeah, CAUSE YOU’RE TOO CHEAP TO PAY FOR A MEAL.'”
The Silent Grumpy Type
“My hard of hearing grandpa took me to lunch at Olive Garden several years ago.
He owned hearing aids but never wore them. The waiter does the whole, ‘tell me when to stop.’ Grandpa doesn’t hear this and lets him grate for over a minute and before throwing his hands in the air saying (in a very irritated tone), ‘Woah, Woah, Woah, easy on the cheese there!!’
Waiter definitely thought grandpa was so rude. Honestly, he sort of was.”
The Masters Of Olive Garden
“I worked at Olive Garden at one time. Worst restaurant I ever waited tables at.
Some of the guests were just insane. Nothing like seeing a person on the ‘unlimited pasta’ ask for 5-6 portions of pasta only to eat the sausage link and some of the sauce, not touching the pasta on any of the 5-6 bowls. Some basically came in to eat unlimited sausage, sauce and breadsticks.
Though a few of the guests actually ate everything in their multiple bowls of pasta. Not sure how they ate that much.
Then the people who want multiple bricks of Parmesan grated on their salad and soup. I think each brick is about 2-3 ounces so I was grinding 6 ounces of cheese on a bowl of soup.
Then there was the one lady who asked me for a sample of the Castello del Poggio Moscato. Not my table, but when I grabbed it for her the waitress for that table came running to me telling me not to give it to her.
Apparently, this woman had asked every passing waiter for multiple samples for her table and she nearly went through more than a glass of samples just for herself.”
Not A Christmas Miracle
“Picked up a table way outside of my section on Christmas Eve. It was just two ladies, but they got countless refills of drinks and free bread. Their food was roughly about 5 minutes from being finished when one of the ladies stopped me and asked if she could change her order. Ended up switching to a pizza. I put a rush on the pizza since the other ladies’ food was almost up.
So I bring the food out and asked the lady with the pizza if she wanted cheese. Of course she wanted more cheese. I already figured I was gonna be loading them up on cheese because they wanted extra of everything (bread, butter, sauces for their apps, lemons, napkins), so I made sure to load up the grater. And sure enough, I went through the entire grater on this pizza. So I asked, ‘Would you care for some more cheese?’ Of course she did. So I came back with another packed grater and went through the entire grater again. So I asked, ‘would you care for some more cheese?’ Of course she did. And again I brought out another and went through it all again. Thankfully she said no when I asked if she wanted more this time.
She then proceeded to not touch the pizza and just get a box to take it with her. And same lady offered to take the bill and left me 2 whopping dollars on an almost $60 check. Merry freaking Christmas!”
When The Smiles Are Gone And Only The Cheese Remains
“I’m a server at Olive Garden and I have heard every joke that can be made about how much cheese you want.
‘Keep going until your arm falls off’, ‘Go until you can’t anymore’, ‘Haha you’re gonna get a good arm workout in’, ‘You don’t have enough cheese!!’
The people who joke aren’t the ones who get a lot of cheese.
The ones that I’m always scared of are the ones who don’t say anything and just smile and say keep going.
I once had a skinny older woman come in and order a salad and a shrimp scampi, one of our most popular meals.
Now when the salad came out I obliged them and asked ‘you just tell me when, I’m on command.’
And she just smiled and made me keep going, now they got me all the way through one block of cheese.. and asked for more. Okay so 2 blocks, that’s a lot but I’ve seen it before.
When her food came out is when the terror hit, she just smiled and kept going. She made me run back to the kitchen 3 times to grab new cheese blocks… This lady had a literal plate of cheese, with some pasta and shrimp underneath that you couldn’t see and I know she couldn’t taste.
She tipped well so it was worth it, but 5 blocks of cheese for one person is way too much for any human to digest. I dread how her toilet felt the following week.
Honestly, I feel a little insane just trying to imagine it from the outside myself:
Running back and forth to the kitchen, increasingly disturbed, her smiling the whole time as she blasted through the boundaries of ‘a weird amount of cheese’ towards ‘a potentially psychotic amount of cheese’.”
I’ll Have The Cheese With A Side Of Steak
“Probably ground the cheese for about 30 seconds. It felt like a whole eternity and I slowed down a few times because it seemed excessive and the man just kept saying ‘No, keep going.’ The worst part was that it was over a steak. There was also some pasta on his plate, which is why I offered to grate some cheese for him initially.”
A Manic Peper Grinder
“So I made this blind guy a Greek salad once.
We have to do it tableside for presentation. The dude was blind so I was kinda just barely doing it but his wife was there and she wasn’t blind. Anyway, when I ask if he wants crushed black pepper he says ‘Yeah, smother it’. So I proceed to grind a ton of pepper on this dudes salad…I stop when I can literally see no salad only pepper and his wife then tells me to keep going. So I pour on a little more, my wrist is actually cramping at this point. She says that’s good sweetie. Then this guy gets his fork and digs in his first bite was 80% pepper.
He chews, swallows, and says ‘Why don’t you leave the pepper grinder here kid…'”
The Waiter Gave Up
“My SO loves cheese. A waiter once kept trying to stop serving the parmesan and she was like ‘more please.’ He thought she was joking until he seen that cheese demon look in her eye. Eventually, he handed her the cheese and the grater because his hand got tired. Was awkward. I tipped well to make up for it.”
Bad Familial Habits
“When I was a kid my parents would take us to Olive Garden pretty frequently.
I had a ritual where I would order the kid’s pizza, eat it all except the crust, and then line the crusts back up into a circle on my plate again. Then we’d call the cheese handler over so they could grate a nice hefty mountain in the middle of my pizza crust ring, where I’d then proceed to lick the ends of the crust and dip them in the cheese to finish off my meal.
Eventually, after doing this for some time some of the waiters knew my ritual and would be ready right when I finished the inner pizza to load me up with my cheese mountain. It was pretty sweet.”
The Real Culprits
“Ex-Olive Garden server here.
I’ve gone through a whole block of parmesan more than a dozen times, and I’ve never had someone ask for more than that. Sometimes it’s a bro proving just how much he loves cheese to his friends, sometimes it’s a petite woman you’d never expect, sometimes it’s a kid who just thinks it’s fun, but usually, it’s the people who go WAY overboard with their entire meal. Extra alfredo, extra buttery breadsticks, five soda refills, three appetizers, two desserts… Why not also a brick of parmesan?”
Mistakes Were Made
“My first time at an Olive Garden, I got some soup with my pasta and the waitress came over to grate some cheese on. Unfortunately, nobody had explained to me that I had to tell her when to stop.
She started grating, and…just kept going. After a little while, it occurred to me that this seemed kinda excessive, but hey, she’s done this plenty of times before, she must know best, right?
Anyway, a few seconds later I’m looking around the table with a look on my face as if to say ‘are you guys seeing what she’s doing to my soup??’ when I realize that everyone else is staring in mixed disgust and horror not at the waitress, but at me.
I quickly realize my mistake and am barely able to get out a ‘that seems pretty good, huh?’ before sinking into my seat and sticking a spoon into a bowl almost entirely filled with cheese, along with a small (by comparison) amount of soup.”
Let It Snow!
“Our waiter told us that he once stopped grating cheese when he thought it was sufficient, and the customer started singing, ‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!’ to urge him to grate even more.”
Thankfully Not At A Restaurant
“I’m currently 34 weeks pregnant and for the past month, I’ve been really craving parmesan cheese. So much so that I’ve been buying big things of the powdered stuff and I pour it directly into my mouth, often at 4 am. The 24 oz container we bought last Sunday is about 2/3 empty. Which means in 6 days I’ve eaten a pound of powdered parmesan cheese. By itself.
The baby wants powdered cheese, and so the baby will get powdered cheese.”
When I Say Tower, You Say…
“I work at Olive Garden and we have this man we call ‘the mozzarella man’ who is a frequent guest with his wife.
No matter what he orders, he always wants a TOWER of cheese on it
When I had gone to serve him the first time, he turned to me and said ‘honey, you better go get another grater because I’m about to tower that cheese block on my soup’
Needless to say, I was horrified and quietly entertained.
Three more times that meal (appetizer, salad, and entree) he had quite literally asked for a tower of cheese. And every time he ate the entire tower.”
“I work at a fine dining restaurant to pay for college. Because of this, older folks tend to see how much they can push the younger servers before they break.
I had a lady who wanted pepper on her soup. This is standard and I already had the grater. I start and let her know ‘Please, say when.’
So I start grinding. And grinding. And grinding.
I’m talking like the entire top of the soup bowl is covered in pepper. I look at her and ask, ‘Is this enough?’
And she looks me dead in the eye and goes, ‘This soup is for my husband [who was at the restroom] and two days ago he unscrewed the pepper shaker at home and ruined my morning eggs. This is punishment.’
She then proceeded to stir in the pepper which blended well with the red broth. I was aghast. Moments later, when I’m at another table, I see him sit down and take a sip of his soup. I’m watching him out of the corner of my eye and then I hear,
‘Martha, you witch, I knew you’d get me.’ He laughs, she laughs, and then as I’m walking by she takes a bite of her sandwich and spits it out.
He took the entire salt container at the table and poured it into her sandwich. It was like they were in 7th grade. I couldn’t believe it. I stopped by immediately and asked if everything was okay and she, with a mouthful of salty BLT, looks at me and goes, ‘Wonderful…’
They paid and left shortly after. One bite taken out of the BLT and, surprisingly, half the soup eaten.”
The First And Only Date
“Was waiting for this couple, who are clearly on a first date. The man seems initially delighted with her. I take their order and she orders the Fettuccine Alfredo. Cool no problem.
I bring their orders out and as is the custom at our restaurant, I ask the lady if she would like some fresh grated Parmesan on her pasta. She goes ‘oh yeah. I looooove cheese. Your arm is going to get tired I’m warning you!’ Her date smiles at her, clearly thinking she’s adorable.
Now I’ve heard this and dealt with this before. I have grated a lot of cheese in my serving career. It’s never been a problem and I almost never judge someone’s cheese preference, being a dairy lover myself.
I will never forget this lady. I have never grated that much cheese before or since. It starts off normal and her date is still smiling at her. The pile begins to grow and he chuckles, clearly thinking this is some cute quirk.
But she doesn’t tell me to stop. You can no longer see any pasta on this dish and our dinner pasta portions are very, very large. I can see on his face that his initial delight with her is slowly morphing into surprise. The smile is growing smaller and tighter and the eyebrows are going higher.
And still, she doesn’t tell me to stop. She’s clearly thrilled and obviously wants MORE cheese grated on this thing. For the first time, my arms and wrists start to hurt. Now there is nowhere left for the cheese to go but UP. A small humped mountain of parmesan is growing on this woman’s plate. Finally, after what seems an eternity she says ‘OK! That looks great!’
I am not exaggerating when I say she was having some pasta with her cheese. I had to get a fresh block because it was worn to the nub. My wrists hurt like crazy. A first for cheese grating in 8 years. This dish looks absolutely gross. I look over at the guy’s face and it has now morphed again from surprise to pure disgust and embarrassment.
She is completely oblivious and digs into her cheese stack still chirping and chattering at him and he won’t even make eye contact anymore. The smile is gone. He is clearly over it. It’s very obvious there is not going to be a second date.
I skip asking if they want dessert and bring him the bill as quickly as I can without appearing to rush them. He gives me a look that all but screams ‘Thank You!’ and makes his excuses to go, leaving me a VERY nice tip for expediting this painful experience as much as was professionally possible.
Haven’t seen either of them back since.”