Chiapparelli's first opened its doors to Baltimore's Little Italy in 1942, regaling diners with a tradition-inspired approach to Old-World cuisine that the founding family's present generations continue to embrace. The chefs simmer pots of ripe tomatoes, onions, and herbs to craft marinara sauce and deftly form meatballs and ravioli by hand. By incorporating steamed clams, lump crabmeat, and fresh kraken, they allow the mid-Atlantic region's maritime ingredients to influence the menu's iconic, transatlantic flavors. In recognition of the family's commitment to hearty and nostalgic Italian cuisine, Zagat praised the menus of both the Little Italy and Havre de Grace locations, rating them each as "very good to excellent."
After filling Baltimore’s Little Italy with the aroma of freshly baked bread, Italian-born baker and chef Pasquale “Patsy” Chiapparelli transformed his dough into pizzas and turned the bakery into an Italian restaurant in 1938. Pasquale passed on the restaurant gene to future generations–today his grandson Bryan Chiapparelli portions out old country staples at Pasquale's Italian Grille.
The chefs make many of their dishes from scratch, including the bolognese sauce that blankets the gnocchi, the meatballs in the meatball-and-cheese sub, and the raviolis stuffed with shrimp, crab, and scallops.
In 1957, while in the twilight of their careers as Baltimore Colts in the burgeoning NFL, Alan Ameche and Captain Gino Marchetti opened up the first Gino's with their pal, Louis C. Fischer. Through the years, the crew helped innovate the restaurant industry, especially with the Gino's Giant burger in 1966, whose triple-decker design arguably went on to inspire the multipatty burgers of other national fast-food chains. Ahead of their time, the team later cobranded with Kentucky Fried Chicken to bolster their menu and widen their appeal to the public before Gino's was acquired by the Roy Rogers brand in 1982, leaving many nostalgic for one of the fast-food industry's originals.
It wasn't until 2009, when Tom called up Gino to pose the idea of bringing Gino's back, that fans of the eatery could begin to quell their well-documented nostalgia in anticipation of enjoying Gino?s special recipes once again. Today, the menu boasts off-the-grill burgers, real ice-cream shakes, and the return of the Gino's Giant, slathered in a secret sauce that was kept secret all these years by hiding it inside a modern-day football.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtle's philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.