How often does a restaurant chain close and then return almost 3 decades later? This is the story of Gino's Hamburgers; purchased outright in 1982 by Marriot Corp for its over 300 locations. Most of the Gino's became Roy Rogers, Marriot's entry into fast food.
Gino's was a Mid Atlantic entry in the 1950s-1980s hamburger craze. Gino's was known for a better quality product than its rivals. It was not until the chains disapearance that McDonalds got a foothold into the Northern VA to Northern NJ corridor.
So Gino's is back, (now Gino's Burgers & Chicken) ironically its first new location is in the same town where its Corporate HQ closed in 1982. But be forewarned: the new Gino's is different than its original namesake. Like someone you may have grownup with and then met later in life. Gino's looks familar, but has grown up as well. Gino's v 2.0 is no longer competing with the Mickey D's and Wendy's of the world. The term the new Gino's uses is "fast casual" versus "fast food". To compare a 1967 Gino Giant to its 2011 namesake is no comparison at all. The '67 Giant contained .25 lbs of previously frozen hamburger. The '11 version, .66 lbs of fresh meat. It really is a "banquet on a bun" now. The fries are no longer those skinny little sticks, but are grown up fries, and tastier than the original. Of course, prices have to match the fresher and more generous portions. I have read complaints online from customers complaining about spending $6 for a Gino's Giant while neglecting to mention the size of the behemoth burger. It is not your father's Giant.
In 1965, the original Gino's introduced the Northeast to Kentucky Fried Chicken. In an early co-branding effort, Col. Sanders' via Gino's almost immediatly had hundreds of new outlets. Gino's v 2.0 does not carry KFC, but does provide chicken in the form of sandwiches and strips. I found it to be very tender and on a par with the KFC of old. Unfortunatly, KFC has slipped over the decades, and Gino's new chicken is tastier.
With today's customers vying for a more balanced diet, Gino's has several salad offerings.
More recently Gino's announced that its shakes would now be made using Edie's Ice Cream. One of the area's best.
One change from the old days, is that Gino's had the ability to experiment with new ideas. One such idea is their lunchtime delivery service, another is a DJ out on the patio on certain evenings. It is much easier to try new things with 1 store vs 359.
When the announcement was made about the King of Prussia location being the first, Baltimorean fans felt left out. Former Colt Gino Marchetti and his partners opened the first Gino's in 1957 in Baltimore. Not to worry, a new Gino's is under construction and planned to open in Towson, MD this summer.