The old-time home of the Gino's Giant is coming back to Harford County in a big way.
Gino's Burgers and Chicken will be opening on Beards Hill Road in Aberdeen in late October or November, vice president of operations Tom Clatterbuck confirmed Wednesday.
The restaurant also plans to open franchises in Abingdon and Fallston sometime next year. Clatterbuck did not know exactly where those sites would be.
The Aberdeen eatery is the first business announced for the new Corner At Beards Hill shopping center, at Beards Hill Road and West Bel Air Avenue, near Canby Motors.
Construction is well under way at the shopping center and is set to be finished in the spring of 2013.
Gino's was originally on Route 40 in Aberdeen, on the site of the current Pat's Pizzeria restaurant.
"Since we bought the company back in 2010, we have had a lot of comments and interest on our Facebook page and GinosGiant.com from people in Aberdeen and Bel Air and throughout the area," Clatterbuck said.
Clatterbuck, who was also with the restaurant from 1968 to 1978, said Gino's did "very well" in Harford County.
Gino's was founded in 1957 by two former Baltimore Colts players, Alan Ameche and Gino Marchetti, and closed in 1991. The popularity of Gino's restaurants coincided with the region's love affair with the Baltimore Colts that lasted until the last couple of years of Bob Irsay's control of the team as the absentee owner from Chicago transformed the area's love for the NFL team into a hatred for him. Irsay stole the Colts out of Baltimore for Indianapolis in March 1984.
President Tom Romano re-opened the company in the Baltimore area last year, with an original 10-restaurant deal.
Now the company has a deal for 22 franchises, company spokeswoman Margaret Varani said.
"I am very excited about getting Aberdeen up; so many memories," she said. "We have brought it back as 'fast-casual.'"
The Aberdeen site will be 3,500 square feet, with a drive-through window, comparable to the Towson location, Clatterbuck said.
He expects Gino's to be a success again in Harford County.
"We get calls every day: 'When is the location going to open?'" he said.
Mayor Mike Bennett said he heard shortly after the shopping center was announced that Gino's would be moving in.
"It's kind of exciting. I used to live on Gino's Giants, and they were the first ones that sold Kentucky Fried Chicken," he said.
"When I was working, out of high school, as a [police] dispatcher, Gino's would bring over any extra hamburgers they had on Friday or Saturday night," he recalled.
Although "older folks" will remember the restaurant, Bennett said he thinks it will also be popular for those who are less familiar.
"They will develop a new clientele among the younger people," he said. "I think they will do very well."
Gino's will be down the street from a Chick-fil-A restaurant also planned for Beards Hill Road.
Bennett said he has not heard about any other businesses yet for the Corner At Beards Hill.