"I'll miss it very much," she says. "It was just a step back in time. Everything really remained the same. Some restaurants keep changing and changing with the times. But they kept everything the same. Which I think was the draw. For us we loved it."
Charles Winner, in fact, was a little boy when he first went to Marconi's with his father.
If Marconi's opens somewhere else, the Winners would certainly give it a try.
Always the sundaes
FOR THE RECORD - In a July 5 article about the closing of Marconi's restaurant in downtown Baltimore, Walter Ciszek was omitted from a list of chefs. He worked at the restaurant for about 25 years until his retirement in 1975.
The Sun regrets the errors.
"Truthfully, it wouldn't be the same," Judi Winner says. "Hopefully, they would keep some of their signature dishes, and their sundae with their homemade chocolate sauce, which is known all over Baltimore."
The chocolate sauce is made according to a recipe that remains a closely guarded secret. Judi Winner usually ate veal scaloppini, or sometimes crab cakes, or lobster Thermidor.
"I liked the veal," she says. "and I loved for dessert the sundae."
Morsy says he'll miss customers like the Winners.
"They've been treating me like I was one of their family," he says. `This place is unique. It's not all about the food at this place. It has sentimental value to them."
And in his turn he treated his guests with dignity and respect.
"You walk in," he says, "we know exactly what you're going to eat, what you're going to drink, what kind of medications [you] are on."
But the very stability of Marconi's worked against its survival in an era when the new thing today is antique tomorrow, fame lasts 15 minutes, and then comes the makeover. Over the years, just four chefs commanded the kitchen: Fiorenzo Bo, who opened the restaurant, Giacomo Chichero, a fine cook in his own right, Tony Sartori, who worked 42 years in Marconi's kitchen and put soft crabs on the menu, and Keith Watson, who went to Marconi's 28 years ago when he was 19 and took over as chef when Sartori left in 1999.
`I practically lived there'
"I thought Marconi's was going to be forever," Sartori says. "I used to go in 4:30 or 5 o'clock in the morning. I didn't get home until midnight. I practically lived there."
He pretty much formalized the menu that was being served until the doors closed last week.
Only the tall, lanky John C. Brooks, the maitre d', and, briefly, an owner in the 1960s, served longer at Marconi's than Sartori. Fiorenzo Bo hired him in 1926 and he worked at the restaurant until the Saturday night before his death at 89 in March 1999. He treated his guests with a kind of elegant egalitarianism, whether celebrities or naive newlyweds. And diners during his tenure included a couple of cardinals and numerous more lowly priests from the archdiocesan headquarters around the corner, writers like Mencken, James M. Cain and Sinclair Lewis, publisher Alfred A. Knopf, diva Lily Pons and band leader Fred Waring.
"It was unique to work for him," Morsy says. "He was very sharp, very intelligent, until the last minute. I worked with him until the day he died. He was a good man. I liked him very much. He don't talk. He smiled. And he still gave you the impression of what he wanted you to do."
Brooks' wife of 46 years was celebrated in a dish created by Sartori: Oysters Pauline, made with oysters, lobsters, wine butter and cream sauce. And his ghost is said to have walked the floors at Marconi's. It's unclear where it will go now.