Marino’s gets new mural, while anticipation builds on restaurant opening

STAUNTON – Memories and stories are told to Corey Tatanka as she sits on scaffolding with a paintbrush in her hand.

She must have stopped several times as people stopped to take a look at her work on the Marino’s side off Augusta Street in Staunton.

“As they were painting and going up and down the scaffolding, people would stop,” she said. “I asked a lady to stop her car just to tell me that seeing the mural makes her smile.”

She said a guy on a bike came up to tell her how he used to do at Marino’s as a kid and that they had the best burgers in town.

“It was really, really amazing to see the feedback from the community,” Tatanka said. “Every time I turn around someone has a story or a memory with this place. So being able to touch it and add to that story is just amazing to me and I have so much fun doing it. . “

It is the artist who paints a new luminous fresco next to that of Marino. What is now an outline of mountains and a ray of sunlight will turn into a large mural that says “Marino’s” with several bluegrass players walking along the mountain.

Progress of the new mural on the side of Marino's in Staunton on September 30, 2021.

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Tatanka said she wanted the mural to provide a good photo opportunity for those walking alongside these bluegrass players.

Painting began earlier this week for the new mural, designed by Gene Provenzo. Tatanka and Preovenzo through the Staunton Makerspace, so the discussion about making the mural at Marino’s began.

Provenzo, a retired university professor, did illustrations for books for young adults and this evolved into various artistic pursuits. He started making art independently in 2013 and he moved to the Miami area to immerse himself in the local art scene.

It also does all the interior art of the restaurant with 32 large rooms inside Marino’s.

What the finished mural should look like on the Marino's side in Staunton.

“There is a huge appeal to Marino in terms of tradition and very good music that was there. I think we have a really interesting artistic base,” he said.

Provenzo specializes in collage and assembly. He has done works of art all over town like a Ticket Angel at the Arcadia Theater and a Book Angel in the old Black Swan Books. There is another mural in the works around the rear of the Marino building that Provenzo designed.

Conceptual drawing of what another mural at Marino's house should look like on the back patio.  Designed by Gene Provenzo.

He said he went through eight to 10 different iterations for the current mural.

“What happened was to hang it on the wall and see how it works… the piece actually evolves as it goes up,” he said. “I’m the designer and I created it, but it doesn’t just happen. It’s a collaboration.”

Regarding the piece currently being painted, Provenzo said the idea is that this is where the music is played – either in the restaurant or in the community and that it is part of the Shenandoah Valley.

“People are walking in space to perform, probably in the restaurant,” he said. “The sun is setting and yet, as the sun is setting, Marino’s name sort of emerges from the sunset, almost like a sunrise.”

Tatanka, who moved from Charlottesville last year to Staunton, said the mural has been a great way to raise awareness in the community. She has been an artist all of her life, indulging in acrylic and oil painting, sketching and drawing and has done several murals – at her home and for the WildManDan Brewery in Afton.

Working in the restaurant industry for the past decade, Tatanka has said painting and drawing is her way to decompress.

For Marino’s room, she uses a sturdy latex paint, similar to what you paint the exterior of a house with. She said it is easy to work with and dries quickly.

Marino’s, which closed in 2017, was an iconic little Staunton restaurant with infamous jam sessions on Tuesday nights.

Progress of the new mural on the side of Marino's in Staunton on September 30, 2021.

New owners Victor Meyer and his wife, Nathalie, purchased the property at 901 N. Augusta St. in Staunton in the fall of 2018. They kept working on the building, mainly gutting it down. Meyer was granted permits to begin full rehabilitation in 2020.

Initially, Marino’s was slated to reopen in spring 2020. Later, that schedule was pushed back to fall 2021. Meyer said it was actually good that they never opened in 2020. They were able to revise plans. and even add a large outdoor patio in the back that will serve as space for outdoor dining and entertainment.

The goal is to bring Marino back to its original state, but with a few modern updates. The plan is to serve up burgers, fries, and other Southern favorites, as well as healthier options with a bar offering bottled beer, selected craft beers, wines, and mixed drinks.

The total capacity inside the restaurant is 108 people, and Meyer expects it to accommodate a minimum of 40 people outside on the 1,500 square foot patio – but still needs to put it in. square.

The expected opening date is unknown at the moment, but work is still continuing on the restaurant.

Laura Peters is the current affairs reporter at The News Leader. Do you have any advice on trends or local businesses? Or a good feature? You can contact journalist Laura Peters (her) at lpe[email protected]. Am here @peterslaura. Subscribe to The News Leader at

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