Tommy Marcos' Ledo Restaurant in Adelphi to be Featured on Oprah Winfrey for America's Best Pizza Episode
Ledo Press Release - October 2006
by Ann Evankovich
Famous patrons and long-time customers are no strangers to Adelphi's original Ledo Restaurant, operating in the same location since 1955. Whether it is the critically acclaimed rectangular pizza, or the charisma of founder, Tommy Marcos, Sr., Ledo Restaurant has a broad and illustrious patronage. Located just north of the University of Maryland's College Park campus in Adelphi Plaza, Ledo Restaurant is not only popular with University of Maryland students and faculty, but also serves a fiercely loyal customer base in the surrounding neighborhoods. In its heyday in the 1960's, Ledo regularly saw sports legends in their dining room: Johnny Unitas, Yogi Berra, Moose Skowron, Bobby Ross, and later Joe Namath. Marcos has also welcomed local athletes and coaches like DeMatha High School's winningest basketball coach, Morgan Wootten and the University of Maryland's Lefty Driesell. Because of his support for the university's athletic programs with his restaurant and as the 1982-83 president of the Terrapin Club, Marcos was granted an honorary membership in the Maryland's M-Club, an alumni organization for former athletes.
When Maryland Terrapin legend, All-American basketball player Len Elmore, walked into Ledo last month with another alum to enjoy their favorite pizza, the Marcos family graciously welcomed their guests. It was the camera crew, however, that made this visit different. The University of Maryland alumna accompanying Elmore was none other than Gayle King, friend and interviewer for Oprah Winfrey. The Oprah Winfrey Show has been planning to air an episode featuring America's best pizza. An on-line viewer poll has been collecting votes to find the best original pizzas in the United States. Ledo Restaurant was selected as one to be featured on an Oprah Winfrey Show set to air November 1st.
King and Elmore both fondly remembered the Marcos family pizza from their Terrapin days, and were eager for this assignment. The pair first dined on their favorites. King began with the garlic bread which she says she has always loved, and then enjoyed a pepperoni and onion pizza with extra of Ledo's signature smoked provolone cheese. Elmore chose the Everything Pizza with crispy bacon.
“The proof's in the pie,” Marcos explained when asked the secret of his lauded pizza. “It's just good. People like it.” The restaurateur indicated that their use of superior ingredients, such as freshly cooked bacon, set his signature pizza apart from the crowd. The popularity of the pizza led to the creation of a Ledo franchise in the 1980's, although the Marcos family is no longer affiliated with the restaurant franchise. The restaurant where it all began is still owned and operated by the Marcos family.
Pizza is not the only reason Ledo Restaurant has been a success for over 50 years. The restaurant is also popular for their wide variety of Italian and American dishes, such as the lobster ravioli and the crab cake club sandwich. Another secret to the success of the pizza is the family support behind the restaurant. Marcos' two sons, Tommy Jr. and Jimmy now own and operate both the original Ledo Restaurant in Adelphi and T.J. Elliott's in Bowie, Maryland as well as Expressions Catering. Jimmy Marcos recalls his father's long hours, but quickly adds that his father always made time for family. Every evening, Marcos would join the family at home for dinner and a brief nap before returning to the restaurant, usually working until the 2 a.m. closing. All four of the Marcos children worked in the restaurant, with the brothers finally going into the business for themselves. Jimmy not only credits his father's personality for the success of Ledo Restaurant, but also the support of his mother, Eileen Marcos.
“It couldn't be any better” Marcos, Sr. describes his feeling on being chosen as one of America's Best Pizzas by the Oprah Winfrey Show. He was delighted when the Harpo Production company called to schedule the interview. He remembers Len Elmore from his earlier basketball days and enjoyed the warm visit with Gayle King, although he admits the camera crew made him a bit nervous.
Viewing parties are being planned for Saturday, November 4th at both the original Ledo Restaurant and its sister, T.J. Elliott's. Details about the parties, the restaurants' histories and menus, as well as the catering service can be found on their websites: www.ledorestaurant.com or www.tjelliotts.com.
Although the original restaurant is now owned and operated by Tommy Marcos, Jr., Marcos Sr. still comes to the restaurant five to six days a week. He still likes to check the books, greet his long time customers and welcome new ones. And every day, he checks the pizza. It is one of America's favorites. Mr. Marcos welcomes you to come see if it is your favorite too.
4509 Knox Road
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