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America's Favorite Pasta Chain Is Bringing Back This Iconic Deal

The gluttonous option has been off the menu for two years.

There's nothing quite as satisfying as a great discount on a delicious meal. Now, one major Italian dining chain is poised to bring back an absolutely iconic and incredibly budget-friendly seasonal promotion.

For over two decades, pasta lovers far and wide looked forward to this annual promotion each fall, but the deal has been missing since the start of the pandemic. Luckily, we now have official word that its return is imminent.

The Never Ending Pasta Bowl is officially returning to Olive Garden for a limited time. From October 3 through November 20, guests can once again enjoy as much pasta, homemade soup or salad, and freshly baked breadsticks as they want (or can manage!).

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The best part? This is a big meal that won't break the bank. It starts at just $13.99 and customers can add never-ending toppings, like crispy chicken or meatballs, for an additional $4.99.

Here's the complete line-up of pastas, sauces, and toppings to choose from:

  • Pastas: Angel Hair, Rigatoni, Spaghetti, or Fettuccine
  • Toppings: Crispy Chicken Fritta, Meatballs, or Italian Sausage
  • Sauces: Alfredo, Traditional Meat Sauce, Made-from-scratch Creamy Mushroom, Five Cheese Marinara, or Traditional Marinara

It's no accident the chain is bringing the bottomless deal back right now—2022 marks the 25th anniversary of its initial launch. Debuting way back in 1995, the Never Ending Pasta Bowl gave customers the opportunity to eat as much pasta as they can handle in one sitting for a fixed price. Back then, the deal only cost $6.95!

Fast-forward to 2014, and the deal is so popular that Olive Garden starts selling $100 "season passes" to the Never Ending Pasta Bowl event, which allowed fans to take advantage of the deal as many times as they wished during a period of nine weeks. These passes would routinely sell out within minutes. In 2019, the chain went a step further and offered 50 Lifetime Never Ending Pasta Passes for $500!

So why did Olive Garden do away with the ultra-popular deal in the first place? Rick Cardenas, the CEO and president of Olive Garden's parent company Darden, noted in 2021 that the promotion's absence during the pandemic didn't harm profits (sales actually increased). He also admitted that offering endless servings of pasta hasn't always been ideal for the chain's bottom line.

"We know [Never-Ending Pasta Bowl] was a negative impact over the years . . . And so we decided to reduce [our] dependency on [it] this year," he said at the time. "As we look forward, we don't know if we'll bring and when we'll bring Never-Ending Pasta Bowl back."

Whatever sparked the recent change of heart among Olive Garden's decision-makers, it's plain to see that passionate pasta eaters all over are excited to have their favorite deal back.

Olive Garden recently dropped a few not-so-subtle hints about the returning promotion on TikTok, sparking a flurry of excited comments. One TikTik user said, "the never ending pasta pass provided some of the happiest days of my life….seriously."

John Anderer
John Anderer is a writer who specializes in science, health, and lifestyle topics. Read more about John