Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Giordanos
AJ Robinson

That’s what most tourists call it. To the islanders, to the people who know and love the restaurant, it is simply “G’s.”

The place has sat at the bottom of Circuit Avenue, in Oak Bluffs since… well, a long time; I think it goes back to 1930. For more than 80 years, it has served up fine Italian food and pizza to many hungry patrons. Yet, for my family, the place holds a special place in our family history.

You see, I’m the youngest of five boys, and all of us share something besides parents, we’ve all worked in G’s. Now, it’s not anything special, we were just kitchen staff, which means we washed dishes. It was an important element to our lives. Not only was G’s a place to earn a little extra money, but here was our first exposure to the real business world. Buster, the grandson of the founder, taught each of us about hard work, job satisfaction and working as part of a team.

As my brothers are much older than I am, I went to work in the kitchen several years after number four. Yet, I brought with me one important little piece of history, a G’s t-shirt that one of my older brothers had bought many years before. Oh, the reaction from Buster and the older cooks was something to see, they hadn’t seen such a shirt in years, and marveled at its condition.

I went to work, learning a bit about cooking in the process. It was a hard, hot job, and my hands were soon downright sizzled with calluses. It was just about the best job I ever had, and would gladly go back there – if I could.

Over the years, my nieces worked as servers and my nephews worked in the kitchen. A couple years ago, we went to eat there, my wife, daughter and my mother, and saw that little had changed there. The décor was as wonderful as ever, stained glass along with windows, Victorian style paneling and a beautiful sort of vaulted ceiling with many Italian decorations and colors.

Sitting there, eating a pizza, which I once could eat an entire one alone, I looked out the windows that faced Circuit Ave. Across the street was the Island Theater, the movie theater, and I thought back to all the dinners I shared there with my mom and dad. Many times, we had gone to dinner, checked out what movie was playing that night, and decided to see it.

There were a lot of wonderful meals, and great movies! In fact, looking back, the first meal I remember ever eating out on Martha’s Vineyard was a pizza and G’s, and it was with my mom.

As this was to be my mother’s last summer on the island, at 85, she could no longer make the journey, I so wished there was a movie worthy of our attention playing that night. Alas, there was none. Still, it didn’t matter. What was important was that we shared a meal with the people we loved in the restaurant we loved best. In a way, my mom and I had come full circle – our last meal out together on the island was at the same place as our first.

Perhaps someday my daughter will share a similar milestone with her children. One thing’s for sure: G’s will still be there and it’ll still serve the best pizza around!

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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