NEW YORK — The Utah Jazz are in one of the culinary capitals of the world and they had Sunday night off in the Big Apple, so you know what that means for Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans.
Yep. The Olive Garden.
The second-year Jazz players received ribbing, even got national attention, for choosing the pasta restaurant chain over a fancy eatery in Little Italy or elsewhere (anywhere!) in New York City as rookies last season.
But they couldn't help themselves.
The O.G.'s endless breadsticks and salad at the midtown Manhattan location are apparently THAT enticing to their palette. They even brought a recruit: rookie Alec Burks.
"They wanted to walk around Times Square," Hayward explained. "We were already down there, we just figured we'd stop in."
Of course they did — just as offseason New Yorker C.J. Miles teased them that they would.
Though "Olive Gordon" gets grief about his New York dining decision, the 21-year-old said it isn't a hot spot for him.
"I can't even remember the last time I went to Olive Garden," Hayward admitted. "Just the fact that we were here ... we just wanted to do it just to rile things up a little bit."
With all due respect to the haute cuisine savants and food snobs, bien sur.
Per their New York tradition, Evans ordered the "Tour of Italy" and Hayward opted for spaghetti with meat sauce.
"The original," he said, smiling.
And, no, OG-Time does not have an endorsement with this particular restaurant.
"We paid in full — again," Hayward said.
Thirteen dollar check, please?
"It was good, though," he said, laughing.
Asked about the fine-dining experience, Evans shook his head and laughed.
"I was following these guys," he said. "Of course, I'm not going to separate and eat by myself."
Now onto more pressing matters: Olive Garden for lunch between shootaround and the Jazz-Knicks game?
"No," Hayward said. "Subway."
Ah, five-dollar subs.
Figures. The frugal youngster did blow his eating budget Sunday night.
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