Olive Garden bringing back fan-favorite deal for a limited time

(NEXSTAR) — It’s been two years since a beloved never-ending promotion met its end. But thankfully for pasta lovers, that end was short-lived and the promotion is making a limited-time return.

Following a brief hiatus, Olive Garden is bringing back its Never Ending Pasta Bowl.

Fans of the chain restaurant began speculating about the promotion’s return Monday when Olive Garden sent rewards members an email featuring a noodle-colored infinity loop and the words “The countdown is on.” Videos posted to Olive Garden’s social media accounts also showed multiple images of pasta dishes, fueling the rumors.

Olive Garden originally began offering unlimited servings of pasta in 1995, according to TODAY. It was a popular event, especially during the last year it was offered, in 2019. Restaurant industry experts had speculated the Never Ending Pasta Bowl would be forever sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic and it seemed likely — Olive Garden didn’t run the promotion in 2020 or 2021.

During an earnings call in 2021, Rick Cardenas, the president and COO of Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, said it was possible the Never Ending Pasta Bowl deal would end. He noted the two-year break from the bowl hadn’t had a negative impact on sales and wasn’t needed to bring in customers.

“But as we look forward, we don’t know if we’ll bring and when we’ll bring Never Ending Pasta Bowl back because we have a never-ending abundance every day with our never-ending first course,” Cardenas said at the time, referring to the restaurants’ never-ending soup, salad and breadsticks.

Less than a year later, Olive Garden has announced Never Ending Pasta Bowl is back.

From October 3 to November 20, you can enjoy unlimited servings of your favorite pasta combinations, soup or salad, and breadsticks starting at $13.99. You can add never-ending toppings — meatballs, Italian sausage, or crispy chicken — for $4.99 each.

Here’s a look at the full menu lineup:

  • Pastas: Fettucine, Spaghetti, Rigatoni, and Angel Hair
  • Sauces: Made-from-scratch Creamy Mushroom, Traditional Marinara, Five Cheese Marinara, Traditional Meat Sauce, and Alfredo
  • Toppings: Meatballs, Italian Sausage, and Crispy Chicken Fritta

This marks the 25th year Olive Garden has offered Never Ending Pasta Bowl.

“Olive Garden is the home of ‘never-ending,’ and the return of Never Ending Pasta Bowl, following a two-year hiatus, is an exciting moment for us and our loyal guests,” a quote from Jaime Bunker, SVP of Marketing at Olive Garden.” This is a fan-favorite promotion that our guests were eager to see on the menu again, and we’re thrilled to bring it back for its 25th year.”

Unlike previous years, Olive Garden will not be offering Never Ending Pasta Passes. These passes were sold in limited quantities starting in 2014 and granted the cardholder the chance to have all-they-could-eat pasta as often as they liked during a certain time period.

The return of Never Ending Pasta marks yet another promotion restaurant chains have restarted this year. Red Lobster, for example, has brought back Ultimate Endless Shrimp and McDonald’s may be resurrecting a Halloween-time favorite.