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Couple's love of Olive Garden helps inspire name of firstborn child

An Arkansas couple that once ate dinner for 7 weeks straight at Olive Garden is naming their first-born daughter Olivia Garton.
/ Source: TODAY

An unborn baby has already scored major points with the Olive Garden.

Jordan and Justin Garton once spent seven straight weeks eating at their local Olive Garden restaurant in 2015 to save money during a time of financial difficulty. Two years later, the name the Arkansas couple has chosen for their firstborn child, a baby girl due on Dec. 6, is Olivia Garton.

"It actually didn't start out as just us loving Olive Garden,'' Justin told TODAY. "Jordan is a third-generation Italian-American so she wanted to pick a name inspired by her heritage, so we considered Olive and Olivia.

"When we said 'Olive Garton' out loud, obviously we got a big kick out of that, but kids are cruel nowadays, so we wanted it to be a bit more subtle."

Justin, 27, and Jordan, 26, told their family about the name shortly after announcing Jordan was pregnant.

"When we told our friends and family, they picked up on (the Olive Garden reference) immediately,'' he said. "They've been having a field day with it."

A Never Ending Pasta Pass at Olive Garden helped Jordan and Justin Garton get through some lean financial times two years ago.
A Never Ending Pasta Pass at Olive Garden helped Jordan and Justin Garton get through some lean financial times two years ago. Justin Garton

The couple was able to get a Neverending Pasta Pass, which often sell out in seconds, during a time of financial difficulty in 2015. They ate just about every night at their local restaurant in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

They would then take the leftovers home, eat them for the lunch the following day, and repeat the cycle again that night. Justin would have the braised beef and tortelloni with chicken gnocchi soup, while Jordan preferred the ravioli di portobello.

The Gartons may not have had anything on the man who once ate 100 meals in six weeks on an Olive Garden pasta pass, but it was crucial at the time.

"We could barely afford groceries, and it ended up saving hundreds of dollars,'' Justin said.

They also became friends with many of the staff members.

"They really lifted our spirits during a tough time,'' he said.

Since announcing their daughter's name in a Twitter post, Justin said they have been contacted by Olive Garden's corporate office, which is planning on sending Olivia a special care package when she is born.

"I've been a voice actor for over a decade, and Olivia is already more famous than I am,'' Justin joked.

Olivia Michelle Garton can expect her first Olive Garden visit shortly. Who knows, maybe a waiter will even babysit her for a little while like an Olive Garden employee at another Arkansas location did for a mom last year.

"It won't be long,'' Justin said. "She'll be there many times before she's eating solid foods, you can guarantee that. They say that when you're there, you're family, and we really are."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.