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Alan Martin makes one of his 100-plus visits to Olive Garden in the past six weeks.

Lotsa pasta: Minister uses $100 pass to eat 100-plus meals at Olive Garden

Alan Martin tells how he's shared his pasta fortune with the homeless.


Alan Martin, minister for the Thomasville Church of Christ in North Carolina, has garnered national media attention — from NBC’s “Today,” FOX news and Salon.com, to name just a few — for eating pasta.

A lot of pasta.

Martin, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Bible from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., is a holder of the coveted “Never Ending pasta pass,” which he purchased from Olive Garden for $100. 

The promotion lets him eat as much pasta as he wants for seven weeks, through Nov. 9. 

So far, he has acquired $1,600 worth of food with the pass.

Today reports:

On November 5, Martin ate his 100th meal at the Olive Garden near his home, gluten-free rigatoni with spicy meat sauce and meatballs. 

“I try something different every time,” said Alan Martin, who has now become something of a celebrity at the restaurant.

“I tried chasing him out the door,” said Burlington Olive Garden manager Jeremy Byrnes. “I just wanted to congratulate him. Mr. Martin’s like part of the family now.”

How has this impacted his ministry? Here’s a snippet from his interview with Salon:

(Interviewer) You are really getting your value. 

Oh yeah! And, look, I’m a minister. I’m a passionate kind of guy to help people. I’m not bragging here so don’t get this wrong; we’re just talking about accounting for the meals. And there have been seven or eight or nine or 10 that I’ve given away. Last week I was driving by and I stopped at a corner and a man was there, a homeless man with a sign and I said, “Come over here.” And he came over to the car and I opened the door—I’ve got a sliding glass door on my van—and I pushed the button to open the door and I said, “Get that Olive Garden bag. It’s got soup, spaghetti and meatballs, everything you need to have a great meal.” And he was so happy, and he took it and he went over and sat out in the woods and started eating that Olive Garden meal. I felt good about that, helping him. And we’ve got other people like that that I’ve helped. And so I’ve given away about 10 and I’ve saved about 30. Maybe my kids have nibbled me out of about five.

I’m going twice a day during the week and three times a day on the weekend and that’s a lot of food.

See the full interview.

Filed under: News Extras Photos and Videos

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