Gentieu’s Pantry | A Look Back

The year was 1973 and I was 25 years old, opening my first restaurant in Taft. I first came to the area from Delaware in 1970 to teach ROP food services for Taft and Maricopa schools.

Gentieu’s Pantry was a modest entry into the restaurant industry with the first day receipts total of $128.00. Modest start, yes! With just a $7000 investment and rent of $300 a month, it was the start of a wonderful 50+ year career in the food business.

Looking back over 40 years, the Pantry was well received by the community and I think most will agree, the sandwiches we created there were one of a kind and have not been duplicated to this day. We accomplished many firsts there: 5ft. Sandwiches delivered by motorcycle, home of the KiWi sandwich, the first pickled tongue sandwich in town, the record breaking worlds longest sandwich and of course, Philadelphia subs and cheese steaks sandwiches.

My sincere thanks to the people of Taft and surrounding trade area for your continuing support now and back then. There will always be a special place in my heart for the town where my entrepreneurial spirit first began.

Please share your memories of the Pantry by posting comments on our blog or on Facebook. It would be so good to hear from you.

Chef Len

24 thoughts on “Gentieu’s Pantry | A Look Back”

    1. Yea Jim. Those were the days back at Brown Tech. Had to pay a lot of dues to get here. Hope all is well with you. Len

  1. I remember those days…about that time is when I met you…great food and a warm personality were your outstanding traits….continued success to you and your wife Midge….hope to do business again with you before the year ends…

  2. I remember those days…about that time is when I met you…great food and a warm personality were your outstanding traits….continued success to you and your wife Midge….hope to do business again with you before the year ends…

  3. I remember those Days, my Wife and I only live 50 ft from Gentieu’s Pantry. But he was a true Gentleman and he’ll of Chef. L Gentieu brought to Taft. You got to love the Guy.

  4. It was a good time to live in Taft. I remember going to your pantry many times. Always good food and a nice atmosphere. Haven’t been to another like it in any state that I have visited or lived.
    You, chef Len created not just a restaurant but you created memories that are still remembered by those of us who were around in the 70’s.

  5. I remember Mr Gentieu very well I was in his class for a couple of years he was a fantastic teacher. I think of you often. I’m honored to have been a part of our sandwich that is in the world. Genius book of records it was chaotic and one of the best times of my life thank you Sir. I have great memories of this. I have had some good jobs thanks to your training. Thanks for letting me be a part of our memories.

  6. Enjoyed teaching with you at Maricopa. Thanks for all your hard work and creative ideas for the food service program which benefitted students and adults alike. I still remember your adult night cooking class and the wonderful meals shared. So glad you chose Taft to start your restaurant adventure!

  7. Len
    Will always remember the days from your first class to where you are now. You have always been a big part of Margy’s and myselfs life. You and Midge are two of the greatest people we know. I know that even at your time of life when most of us retire your looking to the next adventure. It’s my honor to call you a friend & teacher.

  8. Always went to your place when I was in Taft high for lunch, loved the ham and swiss and those little cheese burgers, seems like I never have found anything that tasted the same….thanks, great times!

  9. I loved those sandwiches! Sometimes during high scholl I’d go there for lunch instead of eating on campus. So much better! Still remember that my first one was a turkey and swiss.

  10. Greatest sandwiches from the Pantry! Wonderful food at Gentieu’s West and then on to Leonard’s! The best in Taft!! Many great memories of the great food!!
    Thanks Len for all the memories!
    Chris Usrey Sheehan
    Good luck to you and your wonderful wife!

  11. I can remember when I used to pick up dinner for my family when I finished my dance classes at the old Recreation Center on Main Street. It was always a major treat for each of us. DELICIOUS!

  12. Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very great post.

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