Piece of semi hard cheese and grated cheese with grater. Wooden background. Top view.
The Cheese Olive Garden Grates On Pasta May Not Be Actual Parmesan
By Kalea Martin
In addition to its cheese-heavy entrées, Olive Garden's servers will top every pasta dish with as much freshly grated cheese as you want, but you won't be getting Parmesan cheese.
While the cheese in the grater is, in fact, real Italian-style cheese, many Olive Garden employees in a 2022 Reddit thread have alleged that the chain actually uses Romano cheese.
In a different thread, one employee clarifies that it's a blend of both Romano and Parmesan cheese. Olive Garden doesn't specify on its website.
However, Olive Garden has clearly disclosed the type of cheese it uses many times over the years on Facebook and Twitter, referring to it as "grated Romano."
Chris Lotito said in a 2016 interview that his company, Lotito Foods, supplied Olive Garden with Romano cheese blocks specifically designed to fit in its cheese graters.
Romano cheese is cheaper than Parmesan, which may be why Olive Garden can offer an unlimited amount to customers. Grated Romano packets are also provided with takeout orders.