30 May 2010

"Michael of Gino's" May Become a Reality

I know it must seem, over the past week, that I report on nothing but the death of Gino. What can I say? I can't help myself. Plus, I don't think I exaggerate when I say that it's a big story. It really is. What that place has got, we ain't never gonna get back.

Or will we? This is exactly why I'm posting today. One of the things I learned last night at Gino, as the curtain rung down on the 65-year-old place, is that the restaurant will likely return is some shape or form. A couple past articles have already reported that co-owner Michael Miele, who is the chef, would like to open a new restaurant. This was affirmed last night by a few regulars I talked to. In fact, these regulars all told me that Miele was determined to open a new joint. It's going to happen, they said. No question. And the new place has a name already: Michael of Gino's.


enodo said...

Let me run this past you - maybe you'll disagree.

I was there on Thursday, for a ceremonial last lunch. It was about 2:30 PM and the place was pretty full. (I had been there many years ago but didn't have a well-formed memory.)

The food was only servicable - though it was not cheap. The stuff on the menu was the old-fashioned red-sauce stuff that is not that different from what you could get in so many places. If you focused on the food, you'd be unimpressed.

My question is this: why is everyone so proud that Gino never changed anything? If the place had made some pretty small adjustments to the menu, a tweak to the drinks at the bar, it might be thriving today.

I am 50 years old, and I was one of the younger folks there. I would rather they had tweaked stuff to appeal to more modern tastes, and stayed open.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Good questions.

While I would touch nothing about the place's decor and atmosphere and staff, I'm with you that they could have done with some improvements in the food and drinks. I don't know, however, if it would have changed their fortunes.

I guess the answer is that some places have an attraction and allure and a value that, ironically, goes beyond food and drink, and that's not a bad thing. Most great restaurants are great because they serve great food. A choice few are great because they have a great character.

Mom101 said...

I too can't stop thinking about Gino, ever since my last meal there a week ago.

As I wrote, you either got it or you didn't. And it wasn't about the red sauce. Never was.

I wish Michael best of luck in the next venue, although not sure that lightning will strike twice.

enodo said...

101 - I really do "get it", which is why I read this blog daily and, for that matter, why I made sure to take the time off from work to head to Gino last week. My point wasn't that it wasn't a great place - it was. But in order to keep the kinds of places we all love, the owners have to stay attuned at least to some degree to what is working and what isn't. If every night you see a dwindling number roomful of 60+ folks seated in your dining room, you might think to start tweaking. Reposition yourself. Add new items to the menu. Get some young movie stars to show up. Whatever.

My point is that I think all the crowing about how they never changed is misguided. There are some such places that *do* manage to keep themselves relevant to generations of people who don't have a long history of familiarity. (Especially important because so many people who live in NY nowadays aren't originally from here.) Think of the Old Town Bar on 18th St, for example - always packed, and not just with gray hairs.

Would it have changed Gino's fortunes? Maybe not, but it was certainly worth trying.