Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

Dining at Giordano’s
AJ Robinson

There are lots of restaurants and fine dining places on Martha's Vineyard Island. Up in Menemsha is the Home Port, a very posh place. Edgartown has some very swank restaurants, and - of course - there are countless pizza joints, sub shops, and delis. Of course, many are what you would call a "flash in the pan". They open one summer, and close by the end of it. Back when I was a kid, I still remember when Mad Martha's Ice Cream Parlor opened, and they had their Mad Monday. Oh man, I could just about make a meal out of one of those!

And then there's Giordano's; or, as we call it: Gio's. The restaurant sits right at the start of Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs, and has been there for more years than I know. It is, without a doubt, the best Italian restaurant on the Island! Back in the carefree days of my youth, I could easily put away one of their pizzas all by myself. Ah, that thin-crust pizza was (is) the best; just thinking about one makes my mouth water.

Without fail, every summer was kicked off with dinner at Gio's, and we usually had our last meal there, the night before we left at the end. When people came to visit, that was the place we took them.

& And, there was one other bit of family connection to Gio's. It was the place me and my brothers all worked. It wasn't much; just working as a dishwasher or assistant cook, but the point was - it was a part of our family. All of my brothers did it, and when I was in college, so did I. In amongst some old clothes in our cottage, I found one of my brothers' Gio's T-shirt, and wore it to work. Everyone there was totally shocked; no one - not even the owner - had seen one of those shirts in decades! As far as they were concerned, it was an antique.

Over time, some of my nieces and nephews followed suit. This past summer, I took my daughter to dinner at the old place, and wondered if perhaps she could follow in my footsteps. I asked one of the waitresses about that, and was told it was probably impossible. You see, Gio's had built up quite a following over the years, and every summer they have a couple young people apply for their positions.

Hard to believe that a restaurant, just a simple little Italian restaurant on a summer resort island at that, would have to practically beat prospective employees off with a stick! Yet, that's all part of life on Martha's Vineyard Island. Things like tradition, loyalty, simple hard work, and great food are very common there.

I just find it a pity that it's become so... crowded that it's no longer a simple family business. Yet, these days, what is?

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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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