Joining the collection of fast food venues, diners and chain restaurants on Street Road in Bensalem is a new, yet familiar, face. A previously defunct favorite from the 1950s, Gino’s Burgers & Chicken is back, and it promises to be better than ever.
Before the Big Mac, there was the Gino’s Giant. Gino’s was founded in 1957 by two former Baltimore Colt football players, Alan Ameche and Gino Marchetti, and their longtime friend, Louis C. Fischer. These entrepreneurs quickly started setting the standard for the competition.
For baby boomers growing up in Maryland, New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, it was either McDonald’s or Gino’s if you wanted a burger and fries. Then, to the disappointment of many, Gino’s was sold in 1982. It soon became just another one of those places remembered fondly by former employees and customers.
The Giant is back. Since July of 2009, Gino Marchetti and Tom Romano have been working to bring back the recipes and friendly atmosphere that millions of customers have missed all these years. The third location opened on Street Road in Bensalem, minutes from I-95, on October 10, 2011.
If the crowd at 9 p.m. this past Friday is any indication, the opening has been a success. Older couples, a group of middle-aged women, families with children, and teenagers filled the restaurant an hour before closing. While the atmosphere was relaxed, this was clearly not a McDonald’s.
At Gino’s, after giving your order at a counter, you’re given a number card to take to your table. A server brings your food. No tips needed. Though the menu is simple – burgers, chicken sandwiches and tenders, French fries and shakes – it’s a refreshing change from the increasingly large fast food menus and overwhelming diner options these days.
Your Gino’s order is prepared fresh and to your specifications. (Choose from 15 free toppings on those burgers and chicken sandwiches.) You can tell the difference right away. Slightly irregular beef patties let you know that these haven’t been frozen and shipped in. The hand-cut fries have the perfect amount of crispiness while still being soft inside. Plus, it’s a great sign at any restaurant when you see employees pay to order their own food when their shift is over.
Those who have warm memories of Gino’s should be pleased with the new rendition. This is an opportunity for them to share these memories with their own kids. For the younger generation, Gino’s is a reminder that casual dining can be affordable and fresh.
As the Gino’s menu states, “Its all about the people and the food!” In this day and age, we could use a little more of that friendly commitment to quality and customer service.
Go to Gino’s website to read more about the story behind the restaurant, the menu, hours and locations.