Why Olive Garden Gift Cards Can Actually Be Redeemed At Longhorn Steakhouse

Maybe that gift card in your wallet was a present from a distant relative, or maybe your boss was giving them out as tokens of employee appreciation; sometimes, you end up with gift cards that just aren't a good fit. Despite being a common gift choice, especially for situations in which the giver and receiver might not know each other very well, a card loaded with store credit can still be a miss. Maybe it's for a clothing store that isn't your style or for a restaurant you just aren't crazy about.

If you've ever received an unwanted Olive Garden gift card, you have options besides visiting the Italian-American restaurant chain and ordering never-ending salad and breadsticks. If you're more of a steak lover than a pasta fiend, good news: Olive Garden gift cards are valid at any LongHorn Steakhouse location.

Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse are owned by the same parent company, Darden Restaurants, so a gift card for one is also valid for the other. If an Outlaw Ribeye is calling your name but an Amazing Alfredo isn't, no problem — you can follow your cravings while still using your gift card.

If you're not a pasta fan, LongHorn might be for you

If you're not particularly fond of Olive Garden, you're not alone — the chain has plenty of detractors who don't care for the brand's less-than-authentic take on Tuscan cuisine, from the way Olive Garden serves its pasta to its lack of al dente noodles. LongHorn Steakhouse, on the other hand, is many people's favorite full-service chain restaurant, and like any steakhouse, the vaguely Texas-themed establishment serves plenty of meat-centric dishes like steaks and burgers, as well as classic sides like mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. You can also visit the bar, which serves beer, wine, cocktails, and a whole subset of specialty margaritas.

Olive Garden is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, which owns not only LongHorn Steakhouse, but also Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, and Eddie V's. These other chains are less expansive (Cheddar's, for instance, has just 186 locations nationwide, compared to LongHorn's 589 and Olive Garden's 913 in the U.S. alone), but if you happen to have any locations near you, your Olive Garden gift card will be accepted there, too (and vice-versa).

Restaurants within the Darden family provide plenty of culinary options

If you factor in all of the restaurant chains in the Darden family, an Olive Garden gift card opens up a much wider array of options than you might expect. Yard House, for instance, serves mostly pub-style food and advertises itself as offering "the world's largest selection of draft beer." If you're a beer connoisseur craving a vegetarian Nashville chicken sandwich, Yard House's extensive draft list might be a better use of your Olive Garden credit. Eddie V's is a fairly upscale, seafood-centric restaurant chain where you can treat yourself to lobster mac and cheese or caviar for the table, and Bahama Breeze serves Caribbean-inspired fare like coconut shrimp and jerk chicken.

Conversely, if you receive a gift card to another Darden restaurant that's not a great fit, you can turn around and use it at your local Olive Garden instead. Worth noting is that, for all Darden restaurants, gift cards have no expiration date and aren't subject to maintenance fees. Many can even be reloaded online, so you can keep your gift recipient (even if that's yourself) flush with all the pasta — or steak, or seafood — their heart desires.