Family-run Romano's Pizzeria in Essington, famous for its stromboli, celebrating 80 delicious years

Thursday, June 13, 2024
Delco family business famous for its stromboli celebrating 80 years
A father and son are celebrating 80 delicious years of their family business in Delaware County, where legend holds, the Stromboli was invented.

ESSINGTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Pete Romano, Jr. runs Romano's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant in Essington, just like his father and grandfather did.

His grandfather, Nazzareno Romano, immigrated from Italy. He was a stone mason, turned pie maker.

"My father opened up the business December 1, 1944," says Pete Romano, Sr., previous owner of the restaurant.

It was first called the Essington Pizzeria.

"Pizza in this area was so new and unknown," he says.

They moved to their current location in 1954, and now, Romano's is famous for its Stromboli.

"Grandpop started with three types. It was Original Sweet, Original Hot and Original Pepperoni," says Romano, Jr.

Romano, Jr. preps dough daily and there is a method to making it.

"Knock it down, that breaks down the tendons," he says. "And then the tuck - there's a seam on them."

"In Italy, Grandpop said it was called imbottito or imbottite, and it's an Italian slang for stuffed bread," he says.

In America, he wasn't sure what to call it.

Romano, Jr. says the name came from a movie title. Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini were on the Isle of Stromboli, making a film called "Stromboli." It was 1950 and the two married actors had a love affair, which he says was a "worldwide scandal" at the time.

"My Uncle Bill said, 'Why don't you call it Stromboli?'," he says.

The name stuck, and 74 years later, it's still a hot item.

"We have about 14 different varieties right now," he says.

They have cheesesteak, meatball, pizza steak, buffalo chicken and chicken Florentine Stromboli, just to name a few.

The chicken Florentine starts with garlic butter on the dough. Then, it's filled with a mixture of chicken, cheese, spinach and sliced tomatoes. And every Stromboli comes with their house-made sauce, which is a cooked marinara.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Romano's first opening.

"There's pride in it," says Romano, Jr. "I just turned 70, and I'm the last Romano."

He says the business has been a lot of hard work, but he has enjoyed spending time with his dad.

"Work has been life," says Romano, Jr. "This is the best time really, I think, for us."

"It's so gratifying that people remember you for your food, and who you are," says Romano, Sr. "It means a lot to me."

For more information:

Romano's Stromboli:

Romano's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant

246 Wanamaker Avenue

Essington, PA 19029