Postcard of Gino in 1991 (photo by Frederick Charles)
We arrived there to find a cluster of hard-drinking 10021 regulars at the bar. Settling in to the remaining empty barstools we ordered a round of martinis and surveyed the joint. Since it was only shortly after 5 pm it was not surprising that only a few of its many tables were occupied by diners. I was assured by the friendly barman that it would soon be full of regulars tucking in to Gino’s vast selection of easy-on-the-wallet, traditional Italian favorites. The zebra wallpaper really is quite marvelous (and has, I believe, been recently re-issued by Scalamandre), but doesn't entirely mitigate the fact that the room is largely otherwise devoid of charm with a dropped ceiling of acoustical tile and fluorescent tube lighting. Nonetheless Gino really is quite appealing in a retro way, what with its staff of late middle-aged waiters sporting short burgundy jackets and black bowties, and the room decorated with the remnants of a dime-store Christmas right out of a 1950s photograph.
780 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 10021