Craving a burger? Now you can find one at Olive Garden. Starting today, an Italiano burger will be available at locations nationwide, the company announced Monday.
The six-ounce meat patty is topped with prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, arugula, marinated tomatoes and garlic aioli. (It's also served with parmesan garlic fries, another new menu addition available as a side to the other lunch sandwiches.) And don't worry -- the burger comes with unlimited soup or salad, and breadsticks.
For now, the new $9.99 burger will be available during lunch, which is served until 4 p.m. But the chain may offer the burger later in the day in the future, an Olive Garden spokeswoman told The Huffington Post.
Olive Garden, owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., has been struggling to hold onto customers recently. The chain has made several changes as a result, such as launching a small plates menu and offering food for cheaper prices. The decision to add the burger was in part of due to this increasing competition, Bloomberg reports.
While the burger was originally met with some hesitation by Olive Garden executives, test runs have proven successful thus far. And if it pans out, perhaps Olive Garden's key to success is sticking closer to its American roots rather than Italian ones.
Also on HuffPost:
Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip
<strong>What Olive Garden Says:</strong> A blend of artichokes, spinach and cream cheese. Served with Tuscan bread. <strong>What We Say</strong>: Artichoke spinach dip is awesome, but it definitely isn't an Italian creation. We get why Olive Garden wants it on the menu -- who <em>doesn't</em> like hot, creamy dips -- but this is more of a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/best-worst-spinach-dip-chain-restaurants_n_1663190.html">chain restaurant staple</a> than something you'll find across the pond.
Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
<strong>What Olive Garden Says:</strong> A creamy soup made with roasted chicken, traditional Italian dumplings and spinach. <strong>What We Say: </strong> You can definitely find gnocchi in Italy, but it is usually a standalone dish with sauce and definitely isn't something served in soup. Gnocchi is pretty rich on its own, so it hardly needs creamy broth and chicken to accompany it.
Tour of Italy
<strong>What Olive Garden Says: </strong>Homemade lasagna, lightly breaded chicken parmigiana and creamy fettuccine alfredo. <strong>What We Say:</strong> You'll get blank stares if you say the word "fettucine alfredo" to Italian, despite the dish's popularity, stateside. Likewise, chicken parmigiana is everywhere in the U.S. but not nearly as ubiquitous abroad. Flickr: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/caseyflorig/4737219624/">Casey Florig</a>
Moscato Peach Chicken
<strong>What Olive Garden Says:</strong> Grilled chicken breasts with a moscato wine and peach glaze served with spinach, tomatoes and curly mafalda pasta in a creamy parmesan sauce with a touch of pancetta bacon. <strong>What We Say:</strong> Moscato is an Italian sweet wine, so Olive Garden sort of gets some points there, but there's just way too much going on here to think that this is actually based on an Italian dish.
Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara
<strong>What Olive Garden Says:</strong> Chicken and shrimp with bucatini pasta in a parmesan cream sauce with pancetta bacon and roasted red peppers, baked and topped with seasoned breadcrumbs. <strong>What We Say:</strong> Carbonara is typically made with pancetta, egg, cheese and black pepper. While U.S. restaurants will sometimes use a cream sauce in place of raw egg for food safety reasons, we're not sure where the red peppers come from. Italians probably wouldn't put additional proteins in a carbonara.
Grilled Pork Veneto
<strong>What Olive Garden Says:</strong> Tender boneless pork ribs topped with a sweet red wine glaze, served with tomato and mozzarella ravioli topped with roasted garlic tomato sauce and alfredo. <strong>What We Say:</strong> We're not sure why the northeast region of Veneto has been tacked onto this dish title. Grilled pork is hardly a standout of that region, nor is all the other dish accoutrements. But hey, sure, let's just throw a random Italian region on a dish name. Why not?