Gino’s long career started in 1966 bussing tables in his Uncle Marco’s and Aunt Stella’s restaurant outside of Detroit, in Farmington, Michigan. Marco’s Fine Italian American Cuisine, is where it all started. During the summer of 1966 Gino worked in the dining room at lunch time serving coffee, clearing and setting tables, taking out the trash and sweeping and mopping the floor. But, Gino started learning his most important lesson that summer, the art of customer service and of course loading the coolers!
During the next 5 years Gino learned to wait tables, worked in the kitchen and most importantly, honed his customer service skills. During this time Gino also washed dishes, worked the salad station, prepped menu items such as: Dover sole, lobster tails, shrimp, dressings and sauces and preparing cold appetizers. Gino also loaded the coolers!
On December 28, 1972, Gino’s 18th. Birthday, he was put behind the bar and taught to tend bar by two old time professionals, Lil and Marge. These bar maids taught Gino from the ground up. They taught him how to make drinks from scratch, simple syrup and sweet and sour mix. For those of you who remember the drink craze at that time it was, Harvey Wall bangers, Sloe Gin Fizz, Brandy Alexander, Grasshoppers, Tom Collins, Freddy Fudpuckers, Tequila Sunrise, Greyhound’s, Daiquiri’s and of course for the person with an ulcer, Scotch and milk.
Well, all good things must come to an end so Gino’s Uncle decided to sell Marco’s Fine Italian American Cuisine in 1975 and unfortunately a year later his Uncle passed away. His Aunt Stella decided to move to Florida and buy rental properties so Gino’s aunt and his parents, Flo and Ralph up and moved to Florida. Gino stayed in Detroit where he went to work for the Bartenders Union working at Detroit Race course, Northville Downs and downtown at the convention Center.
One year later Gino followed his family to Florida and worked at two 5 star resorts: the Boca Hotel, Boca Raton and The Breakers, Palm Beach. He also worked at: The Racquet Club, Harbor Island, Miami, for Ben Novak of Fontainebleau fame and various Country Clubs around Delray and Boynton Beach in the capacity of Bar manager, maitre d’ and Food and Beverage manager.
While working in Florida Gino decided to get a college degree so he enrolled into Florida Atlantic University. With his work schedule being mostly evenings he was able to go to class in the daytime. Gino received his BA in History in 1985. During the 1984 school year, Gino won a scholarship to study at Oxford University, England. Gino spent the summer of 1984 at Oxford studying history, poetry and economic where he received 8 credits and their highest marks.
After he graduated he was offered the job as Manager at the Assembly Restaurant in Boynton, Beach Florida. While working there Gino was offered a chance to move to Lake Tahoe and work in the casinos there, Gino worked at the Del Webb Casino and when it was sold, Gino went across the street to work for Harvey’s Casino. Gino worked in various departments at Harvey’s as one of the original opening staff at Llewellyn’s Restaurant on the 19th floor. Gino trained waiters in table side cooking and did wine training seminars for the staff.
From there Gino went to Los Angles where he managed a restaurant called Ciao in downtown L.A. and then to Lawry’s the Prime Rib in Beverly Hills as a manager. Lawry’s transferred Gino to their Dallas location when it was on Maple Avenue, and it was from there that Gino decided to open Gino’s Vino at 2603 A Routh Street.
Gino operated Gino’s Vino for 7 years from 1998 to 2006. At Gino’s Vino, Dallas, Gino had a great wine selection, fine food and live entertainment nightly. Gino’s Vino was also famous for wine dinners, wine seminars, catered parties, rehearsal dinners, weddings and birthday parties. Gino also preformed traveling wine dinners to homes and businesses, wine seminars for companies and groups and catered off-site parties. In 2006 the building in which Gino’s Vino was located was sold and sadly, this caused Gino to close Gino’s Vino. But, this only brought Gino good fortune!
Gino did some consulting for several companies and then went to work at McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant at North Park Mall. While working at McCormick’s, Gino took a vacation to China. There he met his lovely wife Li Ping and together they now have a son, little Gino, who is now 6 years old.
When McCormick and Schmick’s closed their doors in 2012 Gino moved across the street to Bailey’s Prime Plus as the bar manager. While at Bailey’s, Gino was featured in the Dallas Morning News Guide, “Here’s to Restaurant Week Cocktails” article by Mr. Dallas, Jerry Bokamper for his “Sparkling Blood Orange Bubbler.”
When the Bailey restaurants closed, Gino was offered the bar managers job at Crudo Taverna, Frisco, to introduce his unique style and specialty drinks to their concept. Gino’s creative specialty drinks turned the Crudo bar into the talk of Frisco. While working at Crudo the owner of the Gentle Creek Country Club, Prosper, Texas, a patron of Crudo, offered Gino a chance to go to her club and introduce his unique style and drink creations.
Gino became the front of the house manager of the country club and introduced his specialty drinks and creative management style. While working at Gentle Creek Country Club, Gino was offered an opportunity to bring Gino’s Vino to Austin.
Gino’s Vino Wood Fire Osteria is bringing to Austin, great wood fire cuisine with an Italian flavor, fine wine, creative specialty drinks and personalized service all in a cozy and lively atmosphere.
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