By Jill Rosen and Richard Gorelick, The Baltimore Sun
7:11 PM EST, February 22, 2011
Folks hungering for a Gino Giant, your wait is almost over.
Officials with Gino's Burgers & Chicken announced Tuesday that the burger franchise, launched in 1959 by Colts legend Gino Marchetti, is returning to Baltimore.
A Gino's restaurant is expected to open in the Baltimore suburbs by this fall. Gino's officials confirmed Tuesday that they had signed a 10-restaurant deal with Scott Autry and Jared Miller of the newly formed company, A&M Hospitality of Maryland LLC.
"We think we're going to rock in Baltimore," said Tom Romano, Gino's president and CEO.
According to Romano, the deal with Autry and Scott was hatched very quickly. "They came to us right after the first of the year," Romano explained, "and they bought the rights within 60 days."
Autry and Scott could not be reached for immediate comment. "They're actually out scouting locations today," Romano explained. "They're looking at 15 locations. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they're in Towson right now."
Autry's father, Romano added, was an area manager for the original Gino's.
"They have the vision that we have," Romano said about Autry and Smith. "It's really a marriage made in heaven. … They come with a bunch of restaurant experience, and they also have the capital."
Romano said that Gino Marchetti has met with, and likes, the new franchisees, whose deal with Gino's grants them protective rights to a development area encompassing parts of Carroll, Howard and Baltimore counties. Not included in the development deal — Baltimore City.
"Other territories," including Baltimore City, "are still available," Romano said.
The last Gino's, located in Pasadena and owned independently, closed in 1991. Although Gino's was founded in Baltimore, the company relocated its headquarters to King of Prussia before it was acquired by Marriott Corp. in 1982.
When the company relaunched Gino's Burgers & Chicken in King of Prussia, Pa., scores of Baltimoreans who remembered the famous restaurant drove up to see if the food tasted like they remembered.
Use the comments field below to share your Gino's memories.
A previous version of this story listed the wrong last name for Jared Miller. The Sun regrets the error.
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