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Neville Island's Gino's keeps it down-home and personalized

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:52 p.m.
Arlene Luich pours a cup of coffee for customer Susan Litzinger, of Coraopolis, at Gino's Restaurant on Neville Island, Friday, January 18th, 2013. Luich has been a waitress at Gino's for 32 years. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Three selections from Gino's Restaurant on Neville IslandFriday, January 18th, 2013, are (from left,) a western omelette with fresh fruit, lasagna, and a breakfast plate featuring two eggs, home fries, sausage, toast, and fruit. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
A hand-written menu on the wall of Gino's Restaurant on Neville Island, Friday, January 18th, 2013, features the daily specials. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
While pouring coffee, Arlene Luich (right,) chats with regular customer Susan Litzinger, of Coraopolis, at Gino's Restaurant on Neville Island, Friday, January 18th, 2013. Luich has been a waitress at Gino's for 32 years. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
A western omelette with fresh fruit is one of the breakfast selections from Gino's Restaurant on Neville Island, Friday, January 18th, 2013. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review

The diner featured in the Katherine Heigl movie “One for the Money” wasn't in New Jersey, where the film was set. The little mom-and-pop eatery, Gino's Restaurant, is on Neville Island, where it's been for nearly six decades.

The owner — Gino Iannamorelli, 83, who appears in the 2012 movie's restaurant scenes — has run the place in real life ever since he purchased the building in September 1954. Iannamorelli — who has three adult children and eight grandchildren — is still at Gino's on most days for the early-morning breakfast crowd and the early-afternoon lunch crowd. On weekends, he does catering with Gino's for events like local weddings and parties. Iannamorelli has a long memory, and recalls catering at events Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan attended.

At Gino's, you'll get down-home cooking and personalized service, says Iannamorelli, who has many customers who come at least once a week.

“I like to talk to people,” says the native of Abruzzi, Italy. “I know everyone by name.”

Gino's serves breakfast food like omelets and eggs, pancakes, bacon and French toast. The restaurant also serves fare like burgers, cold and hot sandwiches, meatloaf, fries, salads and lasagna. Gino's early diners especially love the omelets, which cost $6 and include options like the Western — with ham, peppers, onions and cheese — and simple ham and cheese. Omelets are served with a side of fruit and toast, if the customer wants it. Individual eggs cost $2. Favorites for lunch include spaghetti, lasagna and meatloaf, all of which cost $6.

Keeping prices low is important, Iannamorelli says. Much of his customer base comes from workers at the nearby factories on Neville Island, and new restaurants, such as Subway and King's Hometown Grille, have brought competition into the neighborhood.

Although Gino's generally serves breakfast food 6 to 11 a.m. and lunch food 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the staff will serve you off-hours food whenever you want it.

“Anything they want,” Iannamorelli says in his heavy Italian accent, which he has maintained throughout the 60-plus years since he moved to Coraopolis from Italy.

“That's all (Gino's) is — friendly people,” he says.

Gino's Restaurant, 4901 Grand Ave., Neville Island, is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Details: 412-264-8265

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

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