Grace "Mama" Marino, founder of Gino's Restaurant, dies Thursday
BATON ROUGE – Grace "Mama" Marino, of Gino's Restaurant in Baton Rouge, died on Thursday night.
The family of "Mama" Marino is mourning, however that won't stop them from making the best Sicilian food to patrons.
"It's hard but we're doing what she would have wanted to do, nothing's going to change because everything she taught us is in here, and here, and we're going to keep the consistency," Gordie Wilt, head chef, said.
Gino's Restaurant is the product of decades of hard work by a woman who is described by those who knew her best as strong.
"She showed me and my family what it meant to work hard and what unconditional love looked like. She loved us so much she would do anything, I mean anything for our family and that's something we're going to take, her legacy's going to live on with us," Gabrielle Marino, Grace Marino's granddaughter, said.
Gino's opened in 1966 and now the restaurant has turned into a staple. Most of the employees from the restaurant's beginning are still there today.
"Mama was short in stature but when she spoke she was as tall as I was," Butch Smith, front of house manager for Gino's, said.
Smith has managed the restaurant for 41 years and says that he remembers all the lessons "Mama" taught him over the last four decades.
"At the end of the day she would come back and let you know you did a good job, just as fast as she would let you know you messed up," Smith said.
In 2007, Marino became the first recipient of the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society's Lifetime Achievement Award along with other awards and recognition. The Marino family says that is something "Mama" was never after.
"When she was getting all these awards, like Epi award, lifetime achievement award, she was honored and humbled and she was like, 'Why are they picking me? I'm just feeding my family,'" Grace Marino said.
Grace "Mama" Marino's funeral is on Tuesday, June 27. Specifics about the funeral have not been released at the time of this post.
Gino's Restaurant will be closed that day.