Saturday, January 9, 2010

Another Sad Loss From The Great Recession

One of my earliest culinary New York City memories is closing its doors, according to the New York Post and it makes me sad that this landmark seems to be another victim of this endless recession and union bickering, which means in the end, people out of work.

I don't think I was yet ten when I was taken for the first time to Gino's Restaurant on the UES just across the street from Bloomingdale's (the real one). I'll never forget seeing those dancing Zebras against the tomato red wallpaper. Me, "I love a good chicken parm." Grazie Gino's.

New York Post: "A legendary Upper East Side Italian restaurant may wind up sleeping with the fishes as a bad economy and a union fight threaten to drive it out of business.

Gino, a 64-year-old Manhattan red-sauce staple where the likes of Frank Sinatra once dined, is slated to close on Jan. 31, said Marco Dell'Aguzzo, the head of the eatery's union.

"We're very sad; we're like a family," said the 45-year-old waiter. "We've all been working for very many years."

Reports surfaced this month that the troubled Gino would be saved as a white-knight buyer rode in to scoop up the joint, famous for its zebra wallpaper and old-school dishes like veal parmigiana and chicken cacciatore.
BITTER TASTE: Waiter Marco Dell'Aguzzo blames the impending closure on the economy and a union contract fight.

But Dell'Aguzzo told The Post this week a buyer has not materialized and that the Lexington Avenue eatery will not survive.

Co-owner Salvatore Doria told The Post he couldn't talk about details of the restaurant's problems.

"In a few weeks, we'll know exactly what's the story," he said. "The place is known worldwide. It's a piece of Manhattan. The problem is the economy."

Dell'Aguzzo believes the owners of Gino floated the notion of a buyer so workers would stay on for one last Christmas season before the inevitable closing.

The union and management have been fighting since October, when the workers' contract expired and they balked at a request to pay half their health insurance and pension in a new pact.

Dell'Aguzzo said he was told that because of the economy, the owners wanted to sell but couldn't because of the labor contract.

News that the restaurant is on its deathbed left longtime patrons distraught.

"There's a general sadness and disbelief; it's a great tragedy," said Allen Falcona, 77, a patron since 1957.

"It will have a huge effect upon a lot of customers, who come daily and sometimes twice a day."


Karena said...

It is so sad when great establishments/institutions like this go away. yes, and so many people will be affected.

Reggie Darling said...

Hello Homer,
Have been an occasional reader of yours for some time now. Coincidentally I just posted on my experience of stopping in to Gino the other day, ahead of what I now understand may be the premature news of its imminent demise. Please do drop by and give it a gander.

Yours, Reggie

Easy and Elegant Life said...

A shame. I never made it, but have admired photos of the famous zebra wallpaper.