Only in York County

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Even more Gino’s memories from a longtime manager and others

Cindi did me a huge favor after my last Gino’s post and let me know that there were actually four Gino’s locations in York County. The one I missed was in Hanover!

She writes, “I worked at Gino’s during high school in 1980-81 … my most vivid memory was that we were not allowed to call a chicken breast a chicken breast. We had to call it a ‘keel.’ It was not cut like a regular chicken breast, either. I worked the counter and I still remember calling out an order for a keel. And yes, we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted, until another company took over Gino’s. Then it became Roy Rogers … this was on Carlisle Street in Hanover.”

Both Cindi and another reader, Barry Colehouse, were able to clarify for me that it was across the street from the North Hanover Mall, where El Rodeo now stands. (Barry writes: “I used to frequent it on Saturday nites before they closed at midnight. And, yes, I loved the Gino Giant as much as the next person! … Gino’s will always be in my heart and mind.”)

My apologies for the omission and my sincere thanks for the updates!

Scott C., quickly becoming one of my most regular commenters, wrote after my most recent Gino’s post, too. He says, “My parents enjoyed the Gino’s article (in the March 30 print edition of the YDR) and had quite a conversation about it. My mom said that she often went to the East Market Street location for lunch when she worked at Sears. My dad remembered the Gino’s song, which he kept singing all night. Unfortunately Gino’s was before my time. I remember when East Market Street location was a Ground Round. It was a fun place to eat and you got free popcorn. The restaurant burnt down and has been rebuilt as a Perkins.”

Scott, I found you a video (posted by our Gino’s friend Keith Swango) so that you can hear the song even more. I know you’ll be thrilled!

Scott was the original source of that information to help me start our “restaurant history map,” which I’ve now updated with that Hanover location and added to the “stores and restaurants of the past” directory; please check it out!

After the print story ran, I also heard from someone new, Hans Heinrich. Hans was writing about his own experiences as a Gino’s employee! He writes, “The York store on on East US 30 was an incubator for managers of later stores in Harrisburg and Lancaster. Another Millersville classmate and Navy vet left school in 1961 to support his family by working at Gino’s. He recruited me to help open the Colonial Park store in spring 1962. I was student teaching at Phineas Davis Jr High at the time, living in Shiremanstown and could work nights and weekends to finish paying for my Millersville debts. This fellow, Otis Callis, also recruited Floyd Wise and many others for Gino’s Floyd stayed the longest, but most left to follow our dreams. The early stores, before KFC, were patterned closely after McDonald’s of the same era, the only visible difference was the color of the tiles on the outside. Burgers were 15 cents, cheese was an additional 4 cents, etc. No options, you got them the way we made them. The second stanza of the ‘Everybody goes to Gino’s’ jingle among the employees was, ‘When every other place is closed.’ Gino (Marchetti) was very strict about how the fries were to be done. If he arrived for a ‘No Notice,’ which often happened, he would go straight to the ‘fry guy’ and grab a handful. If he didn’t like them, you moved back to the cleaning team or out the door. When KFC was brought aboard, finding room for the KFC equipment was a challenge. This happened in summer 1962 about the time I departed for the Air Force. As years passed, my wife, Patricia Nan Canfield (also a Yorker) and the family always stopped to see Floyd Wise at the East York store and later at his hotel near Etters. … Thanks for triggering the memories.”

Now, there’s a lot of cool stuff there. Especially since we heard that Gino is still a “fry guy” even today when we visited the King of Prussia store!

But among the coolest parts? Within a few days, I also heard from … can you guess … Floyd Wise!

Floyd, who lives in East Manchester Township, was kind enough to mail me a significant amount of his Gino’s memorabilia, which I am sharing with you in the slideshow below. In his letter, he writes: “My name is Floyd Wise. I was a manager of Gino’s at East Market St. for many years in the late 60s and early 70s. … I was also manager for quite a few other Gino’s in the area until the guying by Marriott Corp. in 1982. I currently own Shelley’s Restaurant, 36 N. Front St., York Haven – since 1982.”

Floyd, thank you for sharing all of this with your fellow Gino’s fans, and for your hard work at all our local Gino’s locations in the past. Maybe we can look you up for tips if one of us decides to open a new Gino’s franchise here in York County soon!!

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