One our favorite signs of spring is when Giordano’s Take Out opens for the season. Started in 1930, the original location was in the Pawnee House, where Park Corner Bistro is now located, across from the Oak Bluffs Post Office. The restaurant moved to its current location at
18 Lake Avenue, across from the iconic Flying Horses Carousel, in 1934.
In addition to the family friendly Italian restaurant, “Gio’s” also operates a thriving take-out business that includes pizzas and a clam bar. According to Sam Sifton’s Pizza Cognition Theory, the first slice of pizza that a child tastes and enjoys becomes the benchmark against which all future slices are compared to. This explains why everyone vehemently maintains that the pizza joint in their hometown is the best. For many (if not most) Islanders, that pizza came from Gio’s.
For many kids, summer on the Vineyard means riding the Flying Horses (or burning through quarters at the Game Room, depending on your age) and slices of pizza from Gio’s take-out window.
Almost everyone you talk to seems to have their own Giordano’s routine, whether it’s picking up a pizza on your way to catch sunset at the beach or just scarfing down a couple slices while sitting on the benches outside the restaurant.
If you want proof of how popular their pizza is, stop by the pizza room on a hot summer night to witness the flurry of activity inside and the long lines outside. The crust is thin, with just a bit of chew and the sauce, made from the original Giordano family recipe, is full of basil and oregano. Topped with slightly tangy melted cheese, Gio’s is about as close to NY-style pizza as you’ll find on MV.
Opposite the pizza room sits the clam bar, which specializes in fried seafood, but also serves other New England favorites, such as lobster rolls, stuffed quahogs and clam chowder.
We stopped by on opening weekend to get our fill of fried seafood, ordering up half-pints of deep-fried scallops, calamari and whole-bellied clams, along with an obligatory order of onion rings.
Part of the Gio’s experience is sitting at the distinctive green-painted picnic tables that sit on the side of the clam bar, at the bottom of Kennebec Avenue and watching the summer crowds go by.
Generations of visitors and Islanders alike have sat in the same place; taking in the sights and enjoying some simple New England clam shack fare.
As a child, EA was very into fried clams, and even now, when he thinks of them, he thinks of Giordano’s. Fear not readers, he is working on his unified Fried Clam Cognition Theory as we speak.
While Giordano’s does serve beverages in their take-out space, traditionalists use the vending machines located outside, maybe it’s the childhood nostalgia, but nothing goes better with fried seafood than a drink in a can.
Giordano’s has been serving Vineyard customers for over 80 years now, and is now run by the fourth generation of the Giordano family. Truly an Island institution, no summer is complete without a meal from Gio’s.
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