GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ)—If you lived in Baltimore back in the day you know that before there was a McDonald’s here, there was Gino’s, owned by and named for Baltimore Colts great Gino Marchetti.
Ron Matz reports Gino is back and ready to open his third restaurant in the area, and the man behind this iconic brand is ready to serve up those “Gino Giants” once again.
On Ritchie Highway you can see it and hear it.
“Everybody goes to Gino’s. Gino’s is the place to go,” Marchetti sang the theme song.
He’s 86 now, but Gino Marchetti was one of the greatest players in NFL history.
The first Gino’s opened in 1957. Hamburgers were 15 cents.
“We used to advertise feed a family of five for $1.75. That’s what we built the business on,” said Marchetti, Gino’s restaurants.
That business grew to more than 500 stores before being sold. Now Gino’s is back, and so are the crowds enjoying the Gino Giant.
“The Pulaski Highway location was big. People would come from all over to see the Gino’s. We did so much business,” Marchetti said. “I’ve met so many people who came into our King of Prussia location. People drove all the way from Baltimore. I can’t believe it. Sure it’s a thrill. It’s more than I would have ever expected.”
The new Glen Burnie store opens soon, where an Ameche’s and Gino’s once stood.
“The restaurant is part of your history. It’s part of your family. It’s part of Maryland,” said Karen Foreman, owner/operator Gino’s.
“Oh God. It’s unbelievable. Even today they haven’t forgotten us,” Marchetti said.
Marchetti remembers his days as a Baltimore Colt were also full of love.
“Memorial Stadium was a crazy house,” he recalled. “Players hated coming in here. I ran out of that tunnel 14 years. My spine would go up because I would be so thrilled. I loved playing in Baltimore, and no matter how bad I felt, when I got from the tunnel to the bench I was ready to go.”
Just ask Rocky Davis. Marchetti signed his old Colts seat cushion.
“It means a lot to me. It’s almost one of the best things in the world to me,” Davis said.
It also means the world to Marchetti’s wife Joan.
“I think it’s fabulous. I remember Gino’s when it was very popular. It’s like a re-birth,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful for Gino. It’s given him kind of a spark in his life to get him going. It’s a lot of fun.”
And everybody will be going to Gino’s.
“I go out to one of the stores on Ritchie Highway. People are asking me, ‘When are you opening?’ I’ve had people say they want to be here the day we open. They want to be the first person in the restaurant when I open because they want to be connected to that continuum of history,” Foreman said.
The new Gino’s in Glen Burnie is expected to open within two weeks. There will be a grand opening on Oct. 18 and Gino will be there to sign autographs.