fast-mushrooming chain, owned and operated by ex-Baltimore Colts Gino Marchetti
and Alan Ameche, has now reached to 270 units up and down the Eastern third of
the country—all in less than a year. It is easy to see why: Gino's is as good
as the best of the fast-food hamburger-fries-shakes self-serveries. Giant is
the key. Gino's hard-sells giant: giant hamburger, giant shake, giant fries.
Makes you want to weep rather than settle for the chintzy standard size. Prices
are competitive with McDonald's, with this plus: Gino's also features Kentucky
Colonel fried chicken, the Cadillac of computer-cooked chicken. You either love
or loathe this pop-food underreach. The East Orange Gino's gets a feverish play
from neighborhood prepubescents.
This is a
79TH STREET CAUSEWAY, MIAMI.
Joe Namath had
better make it in the movies because, so far, his indulgence of our more basic
appetites is pretty dismal. If the Miami unit is any sample, some unforgivable
gastronomic sins are being committed in Joe's name. Even the counter girls in
their clingy green and white "No. 12" jerseys are not up to Namath's
supposed standards. And the girls are only slightly less stale than the
hamburger rolls. Surely the "genuine Jewish rye" must arrive by steamer
from New York via the Cape of Good Hope. The architecture is pleasant enough
and the quarterback burger, 65¢, and football hero, 75¢, are not bad. But the
fried chicken is a dry, bland outrage. The stuffed shrimp were not stuffed. The
triple-decker burger boasted a rotten tomato. And what is this? Pink
Outside there is
a revolving sign picturing Broadway Joe. It was on the blink when last I
looked. Do not underestimate the symbolism.
CHAMPBURGER, 6155 NORTHWEST 17TH AVENUE, LIBERTY CITY, MIAMI.
"We are the
GREATEST," boasts the neon bull in boxing gloves just outside this
self-service, fast-food eatery of the burger-fries-and-shakes school. The
champburger, 53¢, is a fine contender in the pop-food category. The fries are
crisp and fresh. There is a sweet-as-a-Popsicle grape-and-orange soda drink for
the popheads, plus excellent fried chicken, nicely spiced, juicy and crisp,
from 85¢ for a "quick feast," to $4.50 for 18 pieces of "delicious
I give it two
GOLDEN ARM, YORK ROAD PLAZA, BALTIMORE.