Italy's Wild West-Themed Chain Restaurant Is Like A Reverse Olive Garden

It isn't exactly a secret how Italians — or really anyone who can appreciate authentic Italian food — really feel about Olive Garden. The restaurant gets frequently mentioned on the popular Facebook group "Italians Mad at Food," and always gets poked fun at in a TikTok trend where Italians try Olive Garden for the first time. Although the restaurant's full name is "Olive Garden Italian Kitchen," many of the food items it serves aren't actually representative of Italian cuisine. The fettuccine Alfredo, for example, is as American as it gets, and the iconic breadsticks don't look anything like the kind made in Italy.

But as much as Italians love to nitpick the Olive Garden menu, the truth is that there's an Italian restaurant chain that's guilty of pretty much the same thing as Olive Garden. With locations all across the country, the well-known brand is called Old Wild West, and it exclusively serves authentic American food — or at least an Italian interpretation of it.

What's on the menu at Old Wild West?

Judging by the name, you can easily guess that Old Wild West serves burgers, steaks, and barbecue. But in addition to these somewhat predictable menu items, the restaurant also has foods that seem to be completely made up. One entrée, for example, is called a San Diego Wrap, and it's filled with hamburger patties, grilled bacon, melted cheese, and something called Old Wild West Sauce, a condiment that looks like it could be thousand island dressing but is apparently sweet, spicy, and smokey in flavor.

In the same manner that Olive Garden serves Tuscan chicken and Sicilian cheesecake, Old Wild West serves salads with names that suggest that they're regional staples including Arizona salad and Kentucky salad. There's also a beef salad as well as a chicken salad called Sliced Mackenzie, which is made with arugula, tomatoes, corn, and sliced grilled chicken with a side of fries. The dessert menu isn't any less confusing as it includes food Americans normally eat for breakfast. (Though in Old Wild West's defense, American pancakes are technically sweet enough to be considered dessert.)

What Old Wild West gets right

America has its own western and cowboy-themed restaurants, and many actually do share a fair amount of menu items with Italy's Old Wild West chain, especially when it comes to the burgers. With the American Burger, you get a cheeseburger with a side of fries, and there are plenty of others that don't look much different from the ones you'd find at American restaurants. The appetizers, including onion rings, chicken wings, and nachos, are also pretty standard American ones, with the exception of the Green Balls — deep fried balls of green olives, potatoes, smoked Scamorza cheese — and the fact that the mozzarella sticks are called cheese sticks because they're made with Montasio cheese instead of mozzarella.

There are no surprises from the steak selection either, however all the options are basically the same, and every single one is served with fries. But regardless of how Americans may feel about the food at Old Wild West, many Italians are fans of dining there whether it's authentic or not.