Gino’s Makes It Official: They’re Coming to Baltimore!
Gino Marchetti and his old pals have resurrected the brand, opening a new Gino’s location in King of Prussia, PA, just outside of Philadelphia. Now, they’ve signed a 10-store franchising deal to bring Gino’s back to Baltimore.
Forget the Big Mac. Baltimore will soon be able to order up a Gino Giant once again.
Welcome home, Gino’s.
The fast food icon founded in 1957—with the first restaurant in Dundalk—by Hall of Fame Baltimore Colt Gino Marchetti, business partner Louis Fischer and Colts running back Alan Ameche re-emerged late last year, and has now signed a 10-store deal to return the franchise to its home in Baltimore.
Gino’s Bill Miles, the restaurant’s chief financial officer, confirmed with Patch.com this morning by telephone that Gino’s has signed a 10-restaurant deal with A&M Hospitality of Maryland, a new venture owned by Scott Autry and Jared Smith.
“They spent the day yesterday touring 15 sites in the Baltimore area yesterday,” Miles said, adding he didn’t want to provide the names of any possible locations, yet.
“I don’t want to raise any false hopes for anyone, whether it’s Dundalk or Towson,” he said.
Miles said the capital for the franchises has already been raised and the first Baltimore-area store could open late summer or early fall. Miles said taking over former restaurants in good condition provides the best scenario for new Gino’s stores to get up and running.
Zoning, permitting and lease deals all remain to be worked out and could slow the process, but Miles is optimistic about Gino’s future again in the area.
“In the next few years, I could see 20 locations in Maryland,” he said.
Although the menu and feel of the new Gino’s restaurants capture much of the old Gino’s look, the product, a.k.a. the Gino Giant, is better than ever, according to Miles.
“It's all fresh meat, fresh hand patties,” he said. “People are craving a better burger today than the processed burgers they get elsewhere. That’s why the time is right now.”
The Gino’s in Dundalk was located at 4009 North Point Blvd. by North Point Village, next to where Salty Dog's now sits. On Friday and Saturday nights in the 1960s and 1970s, both the inside and the parking lot were jam-packed with teenagers.
As their popularity grew in from 1960s, Gino’s stores were added throughout Maryland and expanded to Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Eventually, like many good businesses that go public, Gino's was gobbled up by a large corporation—Marriott in 1982—and soon all Gino's were either turned into Roy Rogers restaurants or just disappeared, as was the case with the Gino's in Dundalk.
When the first new Gino’s opened in King of Prussia in the fall, Sparrows Point graduate Mary (Lurz) Hoffman, who used to work at the Dundalk Gino's, drove to the grand opening with some family members.
"It was a two-hour drive," she said, "but it was worth it."
Once the group had ordered their food and grabbed a table, she told Patch.com columnist Mark Birkelien in a November story, Hoffman noticed something interesting.
"I didn't realize until we all sat down that we all ordered the same thing—a Giant, fries and a Coke," she said. "Everyone was eating and I'm sitting there taking pictures with my camera and cell phone of my food while texting at the same time. We sat there eating our Giants and reminiscing about our Gino's on North Point Boulevard."