Giovanni’s – A Real “Martino’s” Restaurant
by Dan Martino
It was around 2012 when I first discovered Giovanni’s Restaurant in Edgewood, Maryland. Our son Rich, knowing of our Martino Quest, told his mom that he had heard a radio spot for Giovanni’s and on that ad, they mentioned that the Martino family would make guests feel welcome. So since Edgewood is less than a hour’s drive from Annapolis, where Rich and Jason and their families live, and because its actually owned by Martinos, we thought Giovanni’s deserved a chapter here in this section. I’m really glad we made that decision.
We had actually been out east several times before we made it a point to visit Giovanni’s, meet the Martinos and get their story. We got that done in November 2016. As usual, we took a couple days to get from our home here in Peoria to Maryland, where we planned a week’s visit with the kids and grandkids. To ensure we made it to Edgewood this time, we decided to spend the night in this Baltimore bedroom community, just a 30 mile drive from the heart of the city. After checking into our hotel, we freshened up and made our way to the restaurant for an early dinner. We try to minimize our distraction when we visit one of these Martino Quest restaurants and we find if we dine early, we have a better chance of getting some time with the owners. And that’s exactly how it worked out this time.
It was a chilly night and I was wearing a jacket, which covered my polo shirt that was a souvenir I’d picked up at the Martino’s in Kokomo, Indiana. We try to keep our mission a secret as long as possible to once again, avoid being too much of a distraction. After being seated, we were approached by our server for the evening, A.J. Martino. By then, of course, I’d removed my jacket and when he saw the “Martino’s” on my shirt, A.J. said, “Hey, that’s my name”. Well, the jig was pretty much up at that point so I confessed our intentions and told A.J. that I had actually spoken with his father Frank some days earlier to confirm that someone from the family would be there the night of our visit. So after a brief set of introductions, A.J. set off to find his dad and we got to spend a very pleasant several minutes with Frank Martino.
This family owned business has been in continual operation by the Martinos since 1980 and in its current location since 1983. Frank, his brother John and sister Tina began working in the restaurant as teenagers and inherited the business from their father, Giovanni (Johnny in Italian) when he retired. Their mother’s family recipes, and those from aunts and cousins, along with warm and personal service, have made Giovanni’s the premier Italian eatery in the Edgewood area. And it was easy to see why. We started the meal with a beautiful bruschetta that Frank prepared especially for us and our entrées, Gnocchi Alfredo and Chicken Sinatra, were sensational. And to top it all off, we had a bottle of Martino Merlot, an Argentina red that was a perfect match with our meal.
We visit the kids as often as we can and since it’s a fairly easy drive up I95 to Edgewood, I suspect we’ll be seeing our long lost cousins again in the future. And if you’re ever in the Baltimore area, check out this great Italian restaurant…tell them the Martinos sent you!
Have a look at the menu and other interesting info about Giovanni’s by clicking HERE.