Gino Gargano at work

Gino Gargano makes a deep dish pizza at at Gino's on State Street.

Gino Gargano is retiring and closing the restaurant where he has served Italian food for just over 50 years.

Gargano was busy Friday morning baking bread, cooking sausage and making pasta, and his wife, Stella Gargano, said that at the age of 72 it's time for him to slow down.

"He's going to take a couple months vacation for all the years he never took," she said. "He works seven days a week, and he's in there every morning at five baking and cooking."

Gino's Restaurant opened on July 5, 1963, across the street from its current location at 540 State, where it moved in 1967.

Stella Gargano said the last day for the restaurant will be Oct. 31. The building has been sold and will reopen as a retail space, she said.

She said she's not sure what is next for her husband.

"He’s a very active person, so I know it's not going to be easy to let go. That’s his baby," she said. "Is he going to think about doing something else? It’s possible."

Another restaurant? She laughed.

"I don't think so," she said. "If it is, I don’t want him to be in the kitchen."


Steven Verburg is a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal covering state politics with a focus on science and the environment as well as military and veterans issues.