Roma’s new location coming soon

TRAVERSE CITY – Italians are renowned around the world for having one of the most flavorful cuisines offered to the perceptive palate. The taste and passion of their dishes make it appealing to most cultures.

The Roma Italian Restaurant, a family-run restaurant located in Traverse City, where traditional Italian dishes are served, holds that same appeal. With vinyl table toppers and casual booths the restaurant isn't fancy, but value for the dollar and friendly service are points of pride for the owner, Philip Iadeluca.

His parents, Ennio and Carmila Iadeluca, both Italian immigrants, along with their partner Vini Amalfitano, who also owned the Italian Villa in Traverse City, opened the Roma Italian Restaurant in 1975. Their goal was to create top quality Italian food with the restaurant's neighborhood tastes and budgets in mind.

Two years later the Iadelucas took over sole proprietorship of the restaurant. In 1996 Iadeluca's son, Philip, a first generation Italian American, took over the reigns of the business from his father.

Italians are known to take their food seriously, as they love to cook and eat. Philip Iadeluca's mother was no exception.

"She is special," Iadeluca beamed. "I learned my love for cooking from her."

After serving time in the armed services, Philip worked in several local restaurants as a prep or line cook, honing his self-taught skills and preparing for the time when he would take over the family restaurant.

"I have always been interested in what food tastes like," Iadeluca said. "I like cooking and experimenting with different seasonings," he added.

Iadeluca calls his recipes Neapolitan-fused (characteristic of Naples, Italy) Italian. His moderately-priced menu ranges from pizza to several specialty pasta and meat dishes, and he makes his own soup, bread, and salad dressing.

Although the Roma Italian Restaurant is still at its original location, 118 Munson Ave., it's soon to have a new home on the ground floor of the Parkway Plaza, a three-story, mixed-use commercial building now under construction at 834 E. Front St. The Parkway Plaza is replacing the Best Valu and Waterland motels that were east of the Taco Bell restaurant. The target date for the Roma Italian Restaurant opening is late February or early March.

He will be going from 1,300 square feet to 5,200 square feet with twice the seating capacity of his present restaurant. Iadeluca's objective for the new location is a family-friendly atmosphere.

"The decor is pending," he said, "but I'm leaning toward a simple, Mediterranean look."

The new location will have a liquor license with a full bar that will seat approximately 19. The wine selection, made by an individual who has earned the title, Master of Wine, will be first-rate.

Come summertime and the warm weather, you will be able to sit out on the patio, enjoying a cocktail while waiting for a table inside the smoke-free restaurant.

Iadeluca intends to add to his present menu by providing more beef, chicken and fish dishes, plus grilled items, chef's specials and an expanded appetizer selection. Opening for lunch and Sunday brunch is also in the plans for the new location.

In addition to food takeout, new will be beer and wine takeout.

At the current Roma Italian Restaurant, hours are now for dinner only, Monday through Thursday from 4-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4-10 p.m. They're closed on Sunday.

Dining hours at the new location will be Monday through Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. BN