The Return of Gino's

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michaelcarraher
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2011/08/10 13:13:02 (permalink)

The Return of Gino's

Mid-Atlantic Baby Boomers will remember Gino's.  A fast food restaurant offering burgers plus Colonel Sander's "Secret Recipe" fried chicken around Baltimore and Philly during the 60s, 70s and early 80s.  The chain was named for Baltimore Colts football player Gino Marchetti.  He and some team-mates were principals in the company.   In 1982, they sold out to Marriott and most locations became Roy Rogers (the rest were sold off). 
 
Some of the original partners are trying to resurrect Gino's.  The first was opened last year in King of Prussia, Pa.  It's a former McDonald's across from a mega shopping mall.  It's got the trademark red roof and looks a bit like the old Geno's (minus the rotating bucket with the Colonel's picture on it).  The interior is a retro diner motif with booths and lots of stainless steel.  Prices are higher than the old Geno's (even factoring in inflation); the new Geno's seems to be going up against Five Guys this time, not Mikey D's.  They said food is fresh daily and items are made to order (you place your order and they give you a numbered card to put on your table; then they bring out your order).  The fries tasted like they were not frozen and made from real potatoes.  The revived Geno's Giant (their version of the Big Boy, which pre-dated both the Quarter Pounder and the Big Mac) also tasted fresh, and not dried out from sitting under a heat lamp and being microwaved.  The bun was a little soft for my taste and the sauce less flavorful than I remember.    The menu was varied for a fast food place with Ceasar Chicken or Cheeseburger, Buffalo Chicken and Cobb Salad among the menu items.  The also have real (hard) ice cream and real milk shakes (not soft-serve).
 
Their website says they plan to open five more locations around Philly-Baltimore by the end of the year.  Unfortunately, the place was not that crowded around lunch hour.
 
More info on their website:
http://www.ginosgiant.com/index.html
 
post edited by michaelcarraher - 2011/08/18 11:35:09
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    joclyn
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/08/12 17:01:13 (permalink)
    hey, michael!
     
    hafta correct ya - it's gino's, not geno's.
     
    this version is more upscale than the previous incarnation - so, yes, prices are higher.  the quality of the product is better than previously though, too - so, the higher pricing is justified.
     
    the king of prussia location, although right across from the k of p mall and you'd think that would be a good spot, is a very bad location!  too hard to get to with the traffic issues with the mall right there as well as the turnpike exit.  the mc d's was never full either - which is why they moved out...
     
    they are not doing any advertising - which will be their down fall.    and the set-up when you go in is odd - menu on wall as you come in the door, cash register spot up front  and they bring the food to the table - very slow and clunky and you wait for the food because they cook to order (which is actually a good thing, just not if you're in a rush - this is NOT a fast-food joint)
     
    i had the chicken tenders when i was there.  VERY good as were the fries and the portions were more than enough (actually a little too much).
     
    they originally were looking at a location on germantown pike & 202.  THAT would have been a good spot for them.  lol, and also closer to me, so, i'd be going there more often...have only gone to the k o p spot once because i can't stand the mall traffic...
    post edited by joclyn - 2011/08/12 17:06:37
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    ChrisOC
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/08/15 11:18:22 (permalink)
    I used to love the Gino Giant!!!
    #3
    michaelcarraher
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/08/16 12:06:11 (permalink)
    joclyn

    hafta correct ya - it's gino's, not geno's.


    You are correct.  Geno is the "other" steak place in South Philly (other than Pat's). 
     
    Gino's was the fast food place.
     
    And, yes.  The location isn't great.  And they are keeping themselves a secret.  If you build it, they will come only works if people know you're there.  Meanwhile, Five Guys is in the mall (and right up the road in a smaller strip-mall shopping center, which is easier to drive in and out of). 
     
    Their basic appeal is nostalgia for the old Gino's (which out-did McDonald's early on at location, location, location).  Nostalgia may get people to go check it out (if they know about it) but I'm not sure if it will keep people coming back.
     
    It's strange that they seem to be concentrating on Iggles country and not former Colts territory.
    #4
    Billfish
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/08/16 13:54:05 (permalink)
      I read in the Baltimore newspaper that they are opening a store in Towson MD tomorrow.
    #5
    joclyn
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/08/18 00:49:18 (permalink)
    yup, the towson location opened. 
     
    yup, they DEFinitely need to do at least SOME advertising if they want to succeed!!  nostalgia is one thing...that's not going to pay the bills for long though!
     
    chris, if you loved the giant back then, you'll still love it!  maybe more, too, since it's a higher quality item now.
    #6
    kaszeta
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/08/18 09:16:23 (permalink)
    Yeah, I remember Ginos, because they had the Delaware franchise for Kentucky Fried Chicken.  We'd always waffle as kids between wanting fried chicken or a Gino Giant.
    #7
    David_NYC
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/08/18 11:54:22 (permalink)
    There are a couple of links on Gino's facebook page to exposure in the local Baltimore media. If the burgers are good, they should succeed like Five Guys.
    #8
    joclyn
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/08/18 15:05:24 (permalink)
    lol, david!  i logged in just to post a link to a fb page...
     
    https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/53852283320/?notif_t=group_activity
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    zqgenius
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/09/16 20:00:56 (permalink)
    I remember Gino's well for the large lighting order my company received when they remodeled every location. I think they changed the red awnings to new red/white striped awnings or vice versa. Anyway, they bought thousands of fluorescent fixtures to light up the awnings from underneath.
     
    A few months later, they sold out to Marriott and all of that was ripped out and trashed.
     
    I also remember them for their salad bar from which you could also dress up your burger, which allowed me to turn a bacon double cheeseburger into a feast. Their fries and onion rings were superb.
    #10
    ToYou
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/12/08 12:49:27 (permalink)
    I hadn't seen a Gino's in years.  Remember seeing them with my folks as we drove from New York to Philly.  Can't remember if we actually ate in any of them.  I stumbled upon their re-incarnation looking at half price sites.  The Gino's in Towson, MD is offering $30 gift certificates for $15.  The offer is good until Dec. 14th at: offers.cbslocal. com/deal/4775/ginos-burgers-and-chicken/baltimore
     
    post edited by ToYou - 2011/12/08 12:50:28
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    Wintahaba
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/12/12 12:21:45 (permalink)
    Good to hear of a comeback. My friend worked at the Seven Corners/Falls Church, Va Ginos when it seemed the downfall happened @ 1977 when they tried to replace the Giant and Sirloiner with the new Hero Burger line-up..square and rectangular burgers. Any memories?
    #12
    acer2x
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/12/18 09:53:07 (permalink)
    I think their comeback is stalled. I've been to the KOP location near the Mall but there's no publicity/advertising. There was talk of a location near Willow Grove but nothing is happening there.
     
     
    #13
    joclyn
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2011/12/31 19:45:50 (permalink)
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    Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.com
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2012/03/15 22:41:04 (permalink)
    I drive past the King of Prussia Gino's almost every day, and have seen signs outside that read "Free Kids Meal with Every Entree" and "We Cater" - so I think they're a bit nervous about business.
     
    I've stopped in a few times, and enjoyed my burger, but I definitely think they have some kinks they need to work out before expanding to a wider franchise. From traffic flow both outside and inside the restaurant, to design, to layout, menu, lighting, there are a number of things that bum me out about this place. And my husband and I were very excited to see the chain come back, as he grew up going to Gino's in Delaware.
     
     
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    IndianaPete
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2012/04/14 20:46:17 (permalink)
    Oh you brought back a memory for me. Back around 1968 I believe, another guy and I were painting metal office furniture in a complex in Bala Cynwyd.  We're staying a little ways away, possibly in King of Prussia, but I don't think it was that far.
     
    Anyway we worked all night long and finished up @ 10:00am and hadn't eaten since about 8:00 the night before.  We pull into a Gino's, but it didn't open until 11:00am, so we go back to our motel and decide to take a nap.  We wake up @ 10:30, only it's now PM.  We can just make it to Gino's before it closes.  We haven't eaten in 26 hours.  We each order a Big Gino or whatever it's called and a couple of super large cokes, while we wait for our 2 buckets of KFC.  We go back to the motel and before sleeping another 12 hours, we each consume 13 pieces of chicken.
     
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    michaelcarraher
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2012/04/18 15:36:50 (permalink)
    I finally (almost eight months later) went back to Gino's King of Prussia a second time.  They have the old slogan posted: Everybody goes to Gino's.  Right!  Everybody goes to Gino's like everybody reads the Bulletin. 
     
    It was lunch hour.  Only a few people there for lunch - from their appearance and conversation, nostalgic baby boomers who remember the old Gino's but are not familiar with this new incarnation.  People spent a long time studying the long, seemingly complicated wall menu.  They even had somebody posted there to explain things (like Wal-Mart has greeters to help you find what you're looking for). 
     
    If you miss the old Gino's and want to revisit, better do it quick.  It doesn't seem like they can last much longer.  I'm afraid the reinvented Gino's is going to disappear in the night, just like the football team Gino once played for.
     
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    David_NYC
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2012/05/06 14:46:23 (permalink)
    I had a late lunch on a weekday afternoon in Towson, MD. While the official address is LaSalle Road, it has its street exposure on the main drag there, Joppa Road. It was quite a different scene than Michael described above. Unfortunately, Michael does not indicate if he went on a weekend or a weekday. Might make a difference. Even well past business lunch hour, there was a steady stream of partons in Towson. This location is in a business park, and there are a few other chain restaurants adjacent to it. Besides people who were on lunch hour, I also saw retirees, students, and a mom with kids eating there.
    I did order what they are calling the Giant. With fries and drink, it came to about $9.50. Unfortunately, too many MGD's and PBR's dimmed my recollection of the exact details of the food, prices, and experience at Gino's prior to Marriott having their way with them in the 80's. However, they have made enough changes that it has to be evaluated as a brand new franchise concept. I remember the old Gino's as a fast food joint. The new Towson location cooks to order and has several people in the dining area bussing tables and cleaning. For the price, there was an enormous amount of food. I wound up taking half of the fries back to the room for a late night snack.
     
    I found the burger to be very good. Not at all like a Big Mac. I didn't remove any gristle from my teeth. The fries were top-grade foodservice fries, with free refills on sodas.
     
    They are marketing nostalgia, with a video on the history of the chain. The background music is all oldies, i.e., Fontella Bass's Rescue Me. If you go back expecting to find the same food, you will be disappointed. But I think you will like what they are offering now at the current price point.
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    michaelcarraher
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2013/10/24 12:36:31 (permalink)
    Gino's in King of Prussia is belly up.  Website says Maryland locations still open.
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    eruby
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2013/10/29 09:16:29 (permalink)
    michaelcarraher

    Gino's in King of Prussia is belly up.  Website says Maryland locations still open.
    We have eaten a couple of times at the Towson, MD Gino's.  We have used a CBS Local offer (a type of 'Groupon') both times and the food and service were good each time.
     
    They really go out of their way to make sure everything is as you ordered, and have no problem making changes/substitutions.  If we lived nearby, we'd probably go more often and pay full freight.
     
    They only have chicken strips now, but when I was younger, they had KFC. 

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    joclyn
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    Re:The Return of Geno's 2013/11/10 06:24:30 (permalink)
    michaelcarraher

    Gino's in King of Prussia is belly up.  Website says Maryland locations still open.

    i was passing by the kop location a few weeks ago and saw it was closed - all the signage gone. 
     
    that was a tough location to begin with and they did absolutely NO advertising.  it doesn't surprise me it's gone.
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