UPDATE (10:30 p.m.)—Gino’s Burgers and Chicken in Glen Burnie is now open.
The restaurant, located at 7598 Ritchie Highway, was scheduled to open at 11 a.m. Thursday, but had to be delayed because the company needed to secure a permit from Anne Arundel County, said Tom Romano, president and chief executive officer.
Company officials were able to open the restaurant Thursday afternoon and made an announcement around 5 p.m. on their Facebook page.
But the one person so many locals want to see wasn't able to be there for the opening. Gino Marchetti, the 86-year-old former Baltimore Colts defensive end, was hospitalized in Paoli, PA, as a precaution after a fall, Romano said.
Marchetti helped found Gino’s Inc., the predecessor to Gino’s Burgers and Chicken, in 1957. The Glen Burnie location originally was home to an Ameche’s Drive-In, which Marchetti founded with Colts running back Alan Ameche.
Company officials were reluctant to say Marchetti was hospitalized. If Marchetti were able to make it, he would, Romano said.
“If Gino could be here, he’d be here. This is a player who had a broken ankle and stayed on the sidelines until the end of the game,” he said, referring to the 1958 NFL Championship Game when Marchetti prevented the New York Giants from gaining a first down by tackling the running back just a yard before the first down mark and broke his ankle in that same play.
As a team captain, Marchetti insisted on watching the end of the overtime contest from the sidelines instead of seeking medical attention immediately.
“We don’t want people to think, ‘Oh yeah, sure—he fell.’ But if they hear he’s in the hospital, maybe they’ll understand,” Romano said.
Would-be patrons looking to sink their teeth into one of the chain’s famed Gino’s Giant burgers are expressing their disappointment on Gino’s Facebook page, and Romano apologized repeatedly to people as they pulled up in the parking lot. Many on Facebook blamed the county, saying they were trying to ruin dinner plans.
And employees were just as upset.
“I work at the Glen Burnie location. Trust me, it’s just as disappointing to the employees as it is to our customers,” Amanda Przybyl wrote.