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Marino’s Lunch in Staunton gets closer to reopening

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 7:39 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - A 100-year-old Staunton icon, darkened for a few years, may soon be filled again with light and music. Known for its Tuesday night jam sessions, Marino’s Lunch in Staunton is getting new life.

When the Meyers bought Marino’s Lunch in 2018 they wanted to bring back a Queen City treasure, but they couldn’t have anticipated COVID-19.

Marino’s Lunch opened in 1917. It’s known for burgers, beer, and bluegrass. Victor Meyer is determined to bring that back.

“There’s hurdles every day,” he says. “Electrical power has been the latest and the biggest one.”

A labor shortage, and supply chain issues further complicate things. “Everything has been twice as expensive and takes twice as long,” Meyer stated.

When it comes to design, COVID-19 gave Meyer time to think about how to deliver their vision for Marino’s. “We would like this to be one of the homes, if not the home, of traditional music in the Shenandoah Valley,”he said.

The new Marino’s will be twice as big and feature an outdoor area. They are building it back for the next 100 years and they’ve had all kinds of help.

“There’s been people that have stepped in like Gene at key junctures,” Meyer said.

Gene Provenzo, a self-described Marino’s cheerleader, has created 35 pieces of art for the diner. It’s an installation dealing with different aspects of musicians.

“I’ve just been given an opportunity to exercise my imagination as an artist, and it’s all related to Blue Grass primarily,” he said.

Meyer says if COVID-19 has shown them anything, it’s that people need institutions like this small Staunton icon.

“This place was always called church,” he said. “And we need places like Marino’s to come back together again and to re-form those societal bonds, and the bonds of community. And there’s no better way to do that than through music and good food.”

Meyer says he can’t put a time frame on when Marino’s will open, but they are shooting for the end of the year.

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