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Published February 27, 2014, 05:43 PM

Marilyn Hagerty's review of Ruby Tuesday goes viral, columnist to appear on 'Today' show Saturday

GRAND FORKS – Marilyn mania is back. Grand Forks Herald food columnist Marilyn Hagerty’s latest review of restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday has gone viral, and once again so has her popularity.

By: Jennifer Johnson, Forum News Service, INFORUM

GRAND FORKS – Marilyn mania is back.

Grand Forks Herald food columnist Marilyn Hagerty’s latest review of restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday has gone viral, and once again so has her popularity.

Hagerty will be flying to New York on Friday to film a segment for NBC’s “Today” show,” featured at 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday.

Her latest column was featured Wednesday on Gawker, a blog that also ignited her initial popularity nearly two years ago. Hagerty’s review of the Olive Garden spread far and wide, after noted food critic Anthony Bourdain tweeted a comment about his appreciation of her to his followers. Fascination with her grew quickly, leading to appearances on several national talk shows and the publication of a collection of her columns through Bourdain’s imprint, Ecco Press.

Asked about the public’s continued interest in her, Hagerty said she thought it had leveled off. But blogs like Gawker and “some saucy outfit in Denver” tend to pick on her and stirred things up again, she said.

For the most part, the reception is still warm, but she also receives some snide comments, she said.

“How do I feel about it? I don’t care, as long as I get my paycheck and as long as I’m trying to do a good job,” she said. “If it stirs some things up a little, maybe that’s good. If they want to read the Herald, that’s fine with me.”

She said she doesn’t crave publicity. Although she said she knows a bit about what she’s talking about – she’s traveled the world through the Association of Food Journalists and she’s created several cookbooks through the Herald – she makes it clear that she’s not an expert.

“I'm not a food critic. I’m a reporter. I just write for the newspaper,” she said. “I feel that in my line of work, we’re telling the stories, we are not the story.”

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