Times Square Olive Garden Charging $400 for New Year’s Eve, Still Manages to Be Cheaper Than Other Chains

By Mike Pomranz |

© Cem Ozdel / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

At the risk of sounding like your uncle who fought in ‘Nam, I did it, man. I was there. I’ve been to Times Square to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. And it was horrible. It was crowded. They penned us into a fenced-off area a dozen blocks from the stage long before midnight. We were expected to stand there, in the cold, doing nothing, for hours. No booze (legally, at least). Ringing in the new year staring at a stranger’s back.

I would have much rather been inside, eating and definitely drinking – things that can happen in Times Square. As the New York Post points out, revelers do have options. Unsurprisingly, they’re not cheap. What is surprising, however, is what some of those options are.

Yes, Times Square has an Olive Garden. You can start 2016 in there with a “limited view” of the ball dropping for just $400. For that price, you get a DJ, an open bar and a breadstick-free buffet. No word on salad.

Want a better view of that giant descending ball? Bubba Gump Shrimp, who claims to have a good ball drop vantage point, is charging $799 per person. Think a Times Square restaurant without a view with be cheaper? Think again. Ruby Tuesday is charging between $349 for singles and $1,699 for a “Couple’s VIP Table” that includes absolutely no view of the ball whatsoever.

The Post also tossed out two other options: The Counter, a hamburger chain, has an open bar with mini-burgers and fries for $449. Or for those who wish Olive Garden was a bit more family-style dining, Buca di Beppo has a “couples VIP” package for $999.

But, if you ask me, I say celebrate New Year’s Eve somewhere else. Party with friends. Hang with family. I’d even go to a different Olive Garden as long as it’s cheaper than $400. Trust me, 2016 will still happen without you going to Bubba Gump Shrimp. Heck, I’ve never been to Bubba Gump Shrimp and the years keep flying by.

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