This State Has The Most Olive Garden Restaurants In The US

Woman carrying Olive Garden takeout bag
Woman carrying Olive Garden takeout bag - Bloomberg/Getty Images

Olive Garden is known for many things, including its giant pasta portions, sometimes loose definition of Italian food, and wild offerings such as the iconic Never Ending Pasta promotion. The restaurant is also pretty much ubiquitous, with one seemingly located near every strip mall across Middle America. There are currently over 900 Olive Gardens in North America, but one state has more than any other. According to ScrapeHero, Texas is host to 109 Olive Gardens, about 12% of the total number of U.S. Olive Gardens.

Texas is famous for its diverse food culture, particularly barbecue and Tex-Mex, so this might seem a little bit out of left field, but as the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas, so perhaps it's no real wonder that a restaurant chain renowned for its huge portions would be popular in the Lone Star State. Still, the fact that Texas has so many Olive Gardens likely has more to do with its population and its vast size than anything else.

Read more: The Most Overrated Chain Restaurants In The US, According To The Mashed Staff

Texas Is Big On Everything, Including Population

Big bowl of spaghetti
Big bowl of spaghetti - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

When you think of Texas, it's easy to imagine rolling tumbleweeds and tiny ghost towns. However, it's the second-most populous state in the U.S. after California. With a population of about 28 million people, it makes sense that fast food chains and mid-range sit-down restaurants like Olive Garden would have so many locations there. According to the U.S. 2020 Census, Houston alone is home to over 2 million people, and 12 of the 109 Texas-based Olive Gardens are located there — the most in any one city. San Antonio has the second-most with nine Olive Gardens.

Why does Texas have more Olive Gardens than other states? Texas is absolutely gigantic, spanning over 800 miles. Its major cities, like Austin, Houston, and Dallas, are separated by huge swaths of rural towns, farms, and otherwise uninhabited land. In New York City, for example, one multi-level Olive Garden in Times Square can service the most densely populated city in the U.S., while Texas cities aren't nearly as concentrated. There are a lot of people in Texas living very far apart, and it takes a lot of Olive Gardens to feed them all.

Read the original article on Mashed.