I discovered Gianni’s Italian Bistro in Arbutus today after a nudge from Eddie Applefeld of WCBM radio, who kept telling me the restaurant had the best crab cake in town.
I’m not going to get into superlatives when it comes to our favorite Baltimore food, but I have to say this tennis-ball size of lump crab ($14.95 single, $23.95 for two) is a worthy contender for the title. Weighing in at 10 ounces, it just may be the biggest patty around.
I asked owner/chef Greg Orendorff why he was making the cakes so huge. He laughed and explained that G&M (legendary for its crab cakes) was down the street (in Linthicum Heights). "We have to compete," he said.
If you don’t recognize Greg’s name, you may remember a popular Little Italy restaurant called Luigi Petti (where Milan is now) that he owned for 16 years with his wife Colleen. They closed the restaurant in 2006; then opened Gianni’s a year later in a small strip shopping center off Washington Boulevard.
You’ll find a lot of the same Italian cuisine from Luigi Petti there. And in a small corner of Gianni’s, Colleen runs a Fractured Prune doughnut franchise. Something for everyone.
Born and raised in Little Italy, Greg started in the restaurant business as a busboy in his teens at a restaurant called Maria’s. He’s a man with lots of neighborhood stories. Try and chat him up if you go. But, at least, visit for the crab cake!