Gennaro’s menu has all the basic favorites – and then some.
QUINCY — For 25 years Gerry Martocchio has been serving up Italian classics and twists of his own at Gennaro’s Eatery at the corner of Quincy Avenue and Blanchard Road just outside of Quincy Center.
Whether it’s chicken Parmesan, or the namesake chicken Gennaro, a combination of chicken, prosciutto, eggplant, buffalo mozzarella, stewed tomato and fresh pesto, two of his most popular dishes, Martocchio never wants anyone walk away from a meal at his family-style Italian restaurant hungry.
The restaurant, named after Martocchio’s father, is all-in Italian fare, including fresh bread, pizza, calzones and pastas. From lasagna to veal saltimbocca, Gennaro’s has all the quintessential favorites.
The restaurant also does daily specials and an impressive amount of desserts. Some of the recent specials have included seasonally inspired dishes like pumpkin-filled ravioli and pumpkin fettuccine. Other dishes have been stromboli or Guinness beef stew.
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Martocchio said he likes to nail the classics, but also has his ears open for ideas that customers have. Foremost, Martocchio said is getting the flavors right.
“It’s like the old, old cliche, and it is true, everything that you work with has to be seasoned,” Martocchio said. “The flower, the bread crumb, everything, everything has to be seasoned.”
Family is the other key ingredient for the hard working 61-year-old restaurateur.
“Family is number one by far,” Martocchio said. “I have three kids … they all worked here for me at one time or another, you know, as an initiation into the family business and to make them learn how hard you have to work, so they knew to go to college.”
He said his 13-year-old daughter sometimes comes in with him on Sundays, when the restaurant is closed, and that she makes the best braided rolls in the world.
Martocchio said he plans on handing the business down to his children at some point, when he’s finally ready to hang the apron up.
Like many restaurants, the pandemic has taken a toll on Genarro’s, catering, which was a big part of the business, has declined, and currently the dining room is closed. He estimates business was down 40 percent overall. One of his sons, seeing how hard Martocchio was working started an online fundraiser without his father’s knowledge to help the business, which Martocchio said was a sweet gesture, but not his preferred way of weathering the storm.
“We just want you to come and see us and say ‘hi,’ get the business again,” Martocchio said. “I mean, last week I was really busy. People do care.”
He said his biggest fear was that people would think he was going out of business, which is not the case. He said he would use the fundraiser money to help pay for some necessary and expensive refrigerator repairs, that unfortunately cropped up at an inopportune time.
Another thing Martocchio is known for, but doesn’t advertise, is the restaurant’s donations of food to different charities like, Father Bill’s homeless shelter.
When asked about it, he said he’s been very lucky and it makes him happy to give back.
“I’m a family guy. I like to take care of people,” Martocchio said. “They’ll usually they take care of you too.”
Reach Joe Difazio at [email protected]