‘Turn the lights off boys! We have a long day tomorrow and we need to be at our best. We have two big parties coming in and we have a lot of prepping to do so shut the lights off and get to sleep.’
So the lights went off in the basement of Martino’s on one of those nights in the early nineties, as the Linares family were starting up their restaurant in Somerville New Jersey. Spending many nights in the basement during the long restaurant weekends in those early days of Martino’s.
Martino, the founder of Martino’s, battled his way to America from Colombia, with his wife and kids. First, with a brief stint in Miami, and then moving to New Jersey to start establishing himself in this foreign land, Martino began to dabble in the American restaurant business. He worked part time as a cook and at one point managing a failing pizza joint in a rough area of Jersey City.
Martino who ran a successful nightclub restaurant in Colombia, had all the skills to run his own business when he came to America but decided to try and work for someone else at first.
His son Ronaldo recalls, “My father owned the best night club restaurant in Colombia it was actually located on Route North and it was in front of a cemetary.”