Longtime Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty is used to asking questions and interviewing other people, but, when the phone rang this week, she was surprised to know someone wanted to interview her.

“It’s kind of strange when it's about you, because I don't write about me; I write about other people,” Hagerty said.

Hagerty was featured in The New York Times, published online on Thursday, Dec. 10, in the newspaper's food section.

The story details what Hagerty has been doing during the pandemic and dives back into her viral Olive Garden column from 2012. She has been restricting her professional dining to takeout and delivery for now, the Times reported.

But the entire story and accompanying photos came as a surprise to Hagerty.

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The photos featured Hagerty getting takeout from Olive Garden, the site of her 2012 viral column, and unpacking the food. Following that column, Hagerty was featured in various media outlets.

Since her original column went viral eight years ago, Hagerty has written multiple times about Olive Garden, including in February.

"Little did I dream my weekly review of a restaurant for the Herald would go viral," she wrote in the column earlier this year. "Little could I dream it would take me to New York City and a visit to the New York Times editorial staff. Little could I imagine I would end up three times with Anderson Cooper and with other national television shows. Nor that I would be meeting up with the late Anthony Bourdain."

Bourdain would later become instrumental in publishing Hagerty’s book, “Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews.”

Little did she know The New York Times would come calling again this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.


The Times also interviewed Hagerty’s son, James R. Hagerty, who works at The Wall Street Journal, for the piece.

“To me it’s just crazy, and I'm kind of overwhelmed, but I'll live through it,” Marilyn Hagerty said with a laugh.