Cheap Seats: It May Be A New Gino's, But It's Same Old Place
By Danielle Chazen
As the newest Gino's Burgers and Chicken franchisee browses the aisles of Home Depot to collect last-minute supplies for the opening of her Glen Burnie restaurant, fellow shoppers constantly stop her.
"Yes, we're set to open Sept. 6," franchisee and operator Karen Foreman said to the third woman that saw her Gino's T-shirt and approached her. "We're fast-casual, cooking to order, and bringing in fresh ground beef and veggies six days a week."
Despite the stress that came with opening a new restaurant, Foreman said she stopped to speak to anyone interested, even if it made her Home Depot run a bit longer than expected.
"We're opening back up, and people in Glen Burnie are excited and in disbelief," she said.
Foreman's Glen Burnie location is unique in that it is the same building that housed Gino's -- a franchise former Baltimore Colt Gino Marchetti helped found -- during the 1950s: 7598 Ritchie Highway, near Fifth Avenue.
Foreman, whose background in the restaurant business spans 36 years, said she was excited to introduce Gino's to younger generations that hadn't had Gino Giants food and special sauce.
"I can't wait for the new generation to try the food," Foreman said. "People from the younger generation …have been applying to work here, and I keep hearing stories about how their parents and grandparents remember Gino's. Gino's is part of their family history, and they have yet to experience it."
Sherri Hooper, a Pasadena resident, said she was thrilled when she heard the Glen Burnie Gino's was re-opening.
"As a kid, my uncle used to take us there for surprises," Hooper said. "They had the best shakes and the best food. I have an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, and I'd love to take them there to experience it."
Foreman said she was drawn to the project emotionally.
"There is a real relationship here between the consumer and the restaurant," Foreman said. "Gino's is a family, and is deeply tied with Maryland and the Baltimore Colts.
"I just relate to it. I'm old enough to know and appreciate Gino's and first experienced it as a teenager. I'm excited to be a part of this rejuvenation to bring the brand back to Glen Burnie."
In fact, when Gino's opened its Towson location in August 2011, Foreman began driving past the location every day to see the restaurant's traffic and consumer response.
"I realized quickly how special this was, and that I wasn't the only one who remembered Gino's," she said. "No matter what time of day I drove by, there was a line practically 200 people long, even at 9:30 p.m., when they closed at 10."
Gino's in Glen Burnie will have a grand opening on Oct. 18, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Hall of Famers Marchetti and Artie Donovan, another former Colt, will be there to sign autographs.
In typical Gino's fashion, Foreman's location will include an open-kitchen format so customers can see how their food is prepared. Employees will hand-cut the fries, tomatoes and onions each day and hand-spin the milkshakes, with every item being made fresh to order.
The Glen Burnie location is one of 25 franchises planned for the region, with another set to open in Aberdeen later this year. A second Baltimore County Gino's now operates in the Honeygo Shopping Center, near the White Marsh area.
More Cheap Seats:
• It May Be A New Gino's, But It's Same Old Place
• Sports Boosters Aiming To Sign Life Members
• Kinesiology Tape: Miracle Or Myth?
• Sami Zerwitz Competes Despite Family Tragedy
• Save-A-Limb Festival Set For Oregon Ridge
Issue 177: September 2012