TODAY   |  March 01, 2014

87-year-old’s review of Ruby Tuesday goes viral

Marilyn Hagerty reviews the restaurants in her small North Dakota town, and includes everything from chain restaurants to McDonald’s truck stops. Her work has gone viral before, which is something she says she just doesn’t understand. TODAY’s Lester Holt interviews Hagerty.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 87-year-old restaurant critic marilyn hagerty is back and telling it like it is. the north dakota columnist's local review of her local olive garden went viral two years ago. now she's out with another review of a popular chain restaurant , ruby tuesday. marilyn , good morning. good to see you.

>> thank you.

>> once again, it's viral, out there on the internet. what'd you think about that?

>> still i don't get it. i just don't get it.

>> well, is it -- let me ask you this, is it snobbery? it's like, oh, she's reviewing ruby tuesday and olive garden , and not some fancy french restaurant?

>> well, i think people who get, wonder about my eat beat don't understand what the eat beat is.

>> eat beat is the column you do.

>> eat beat is the column i do every week, and i've done it for 30, 40 years. i live in a town of about 55,000 people.

>> what's the name of the town?

>> grand forks , north dakota . and i was features editor there at the newspaper, and i decided, why couldn't we have a restaurant review? and i thought, well, we couldn't, because we'd have about five fine restaurants and then we'd be done.

>> so, you wanted to do all the restaurants out there.

>> yeah.

>> and that includes the chains.

>> then i go to the truck stops. i've been to mcdonald's. you know, it's really very interesting.

>> you've reviewed mcdonald's.

>> yeah. you talk to the people who work there in the kitchen and you talk to the people who take the orders. i find it very interesting. i like to tell my readers how much things cost, how clean the place is, how the food tastes.

>> well, you like the salad bar at ruby tuesday. you noted the glass over the salad bar seems to keep the food protected. you also comment on the tables, the state of the ladies' bathroom, which i don't think you loved. your son says, if you write more about the decor than the food, then you should take that as a tip to eat somewhere else. should we be reading between the lines here?

>> my son is full of prunes.

>> i've never heard that. grand forks expression?

>> i suppose. i mean, he's a good guy, but --

>> but that's not the case.

>> well, he can say that.

>> but you're not a food critic , per se .

>> no. i think that's where the people think that i'm a food critic and i should be writing about the very fine points of cooking. and i do know how to cook.

>> but in general, you like ruby tuesday?

>> oh, yeah, yeah.

>> and it's a popular restaurant where you are.

>> the salad bar is really, you know, it's a fine salad bar .

>> well, marilyn , great to have you on.

>> thank you.

>> thanks very much. enjoy new york and enjoy your trip back.

>> thank you.