Gino's Restaurant was born on the 1st of November of 1983. Although this was the braninchild of eldest son Gino (Biagino) Mazza, the entire family from father Guiseppe to mom Antonia as well as sisters Carmela and Maria and youngest brother, Domenico (Dom) were drawn into the business in true Italian style. The opening of a restaurant in the very quiet, "untrendy" southern suburbs of Johannesburg was a very risky business decision as most thriving restaurants were established in the main streets of Johannesburg's northern suburbs at that time.
The business risk paid off. People as far as the northern suburbs were venturing for the first time to Robertsham in the southern suburbs to find Johannesburg's best kept secret and get a taste of the best pizza in town. The waiting list on Friday and Saturday nights were sometimes an incredible five hours for large tables prepared to wait for a meal at Gino's!
The restaurant, which was intitially called "Paesa", which is how you would address someone from the same village as yourself, moved premises to the industrial area across the road, where a central kitchen was located upstairs from the restaurant. Gino's was now officially called "Gino's" thanks to the customers who could not pronounce "Paesa" and so used the name of the restaurant's bar instead.
In the mid 90's the family felt pressurised by the business trend to franchise and the move to the "industrial" part of Robertsham was yet another unconventional one, but due to the increase in size, the central kitchen, run by Babbo (Mr Mazza snr) and his daughter, Carmela could facilitate in producing the food for the franchises. After opening several franchises across the country, the plan was abandoned as the restaurant struggled to maintain it's authenticity.
Today Gino's has two family run restaurants. The original Gino's still remains in the heart of Robertsham and is run by Gino and his sister Carmela. Gino's two daughters help out on weekends and school holidays and many of the original staff members are still loyal employees at the restautant. Babbo and Antonia have retired and spend their time in their village, Monte San Giacomo, in the south of Italy and South Africa. The second restaurant is in Stellenbosch and was started on 12 August 1996 in Die Boord shopping centre by youngest son and brother Domenico. The restaurant has just recently relocated to the oldest street in Stellenbosch, Dorp Street, to the beautiful historical building of De Kelder. An exciting move as it coincided with the birth of Dom's fourth Daughter Mia. Domenico and his family try to maintain the strong family ethos that is Gino's.
The Mazza family is proud of the fact that many of their original customers are loyal patrons who still frequent their restaurant, often with their children and grandchildren.
There is no doubt that many sacrifices have to be made in order to run a restaurant, but the owners of Gino's believe that Gino's is more than a meal, it is a family orientated restaurant, where they do not subscribe to trends. Their ethos is on serving consistently good food at affordable prices, no matter what your age or stage.