- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday: 11AM to 9:30 PM; Friday and Saturday: 11AM to 11PM.
- Credit / Debit Cards Accepted
I was very excited to go to Roma’s Pizzeria since the beginning of this project. I have heard nothing but fantastic things from my boyfriend (who, for artistic purposes, we will call “Kirk”) about how great this place is. I recall eating there once before for takeout and remember being really pleased with my experience. Unfortunately, my first experience and the one I had for Eating Franklin Blvd. were not quite the same.
Let me begin by telling you a little bit about the first time I went to Roma’s, just so you have a picture of what I’m comparing my EFB experience to.
Convinced by Kirk to give it a try, we called in and ordered a White Pizza: white sauce, garlic, tomato, basil, and olive oil. When we picked it up, it was ready when they said it would be, and the final product was very good. Thus my excitement to return to this Franklin Boulevard icon.
Now, my EFB experience:
Upon arriving, plan to look for parking in the nearby neighborhood as the little strip mall parking lot fills up fast.
I arrived before my parents, so I stood in the front waiting area. This is where you’d expect to talk to someone about where to be seated. . . uh, or even say “hello”. Not the case on this particular evening. Five to ten minutes passed with nobody acknowledging I was there. With the ovens right next to the entrance a, and staff walking in and out of the kitchen area, it was off putting to be completely ignored. For full disclosure, I work in the food industry (a pizza place even – though that does not influence my review). I can tell you that no matter how busy we are, I always make the effort to say “hello” when somebody walks in, and thank you when they are leaving.
When my parents showed up, making a party of four, our party must have been big enough to get their attention. We were seated in a corner. Then we sat for 15 minutes (my Dad clocked it) without being offered so much as a glass of water. If it was busy I’d be more patient, but it wasn’t. Sure, there were a few other families in there, but it wasn’t packed, and there was no big party of 20 soccer players, so honestly it was just poor tending.
When we did finally got served our waitress was very friendly, and even apologized for the wait.
Since this is a pizzeria, I had to order pizza. We ordered the White Pizza because I loved it so much the first time, and pizza with linguisa. My parents opted for something from the ala carte and “Special Dinners” menu.
It took about 20 minutes for our food to arrive. As for our sodas, we were given them once, and then never refilled again until after we got our to go boxes. Those of you who have followed EFB know that non refilled sodas are my biggest peeve.
The pizza. . . The pizza. . . Ohhh. . . the pizza. How it so differed from the first time I ate their pie. I don’t know if they were having a bad day, a recipe change, or a change in cooks, but it wasn’t the way I remembered. The flavors were fine, there was nothing bad about the toppings, but the dough was so hard, it made my jaw sore.
The crust, the most important part of a successful pizza, was the real problem. The fresh basil, tomatoes, and olive oil on top of the pizza were overpowered by the huge amount of crust. The ratio of toppings to crust was way off. Believe me, I love bread more than the next person, but its not all I want for my pizza, otherwise I’d have ordered bread sticks (though I would hope they would be easier to chew).
The linguisa was okay. I like my sausage spicy, and it delivered there, but it could have used a little more time in the oven to crisp up both the toppings and the crust.
So one great experience with takeout, and one not so good one in-house. Very friendly but slow service, and average pizza for an average price.
A word from The Old Man
I wont repeat much of what Chelsea had to say, but I won’t disagree with it either The one area in which I will echo her thoughts is the service. It was really slow. I have to admit that I feel a tinge of guilt saying that, because when we finally did get service, the server was very nice, even charming in a neighborhood joint kind of way. But really slow service (have I said it was really slow?) in a half full restaurant does not make for a good experience.
As for the food, I have been to Roma’s several times for soccer parties over the years. I always found the pizza to be okay, but nothing spectacular. So this time Mrs. Old Man and I opted to see how they do on non-pizza items.
I ask our server for a recommendation and she replies with a smile, “the ravioli and meatballs, if you like a lot of meat.” Why, yes I do. Mrs. Old Man is a fan of house made ravioli, so she goes for the ravioli (“Homemade with meat sauce”).
Because it was on listed on the “Roma Special Dinners” section of the menu, mine came with a choice of salad or the “homemade” minestrone soup. I love a good minestrone, so that is where I headed.
What came may technically be made in-house, but the vegetables were clearly from a can. This was a disappointment. I don’t expect fine dining everywhere I go, but living in the capital of the Farm to Fork movement, I have come to expect fresh green beans over canned. This gave the soup a strong flavor of tin.
We also ordered a bottle of wine, a Banfi Chianti ($15). It was actually quite good, particularly for that price. Of course, Chianti always seems particularly good when there is garlic and olive oil wafting in the air.
When my ravioli with meatballs arrives, most of what I see is a thick layer of molten hot mozzarella cheese on top. A bit too much cheese. I had to peel it away to find the ravioli and meatballs. Besides, I ordered this particular dish because our server appealed to the carnivore in me. Now, I want my meat!
The red sauce and ravioli weren’t bad, but were completely overshadowed by the sixteen inch layer of cheese, but it is the meatball I am after. You see, I love a good meatball. I don’t care what kind of meat really. I am sure I could enjoy a platter of possum meatballs, if they were done right.
Biting into this meatball was almost surreal. It completely transformed me back to my childhood. When I was a kid, I loved those nights when my mom would have a date. Not only because it gave me an opportunity to torture some poor unsuspecting babysitter, but because it meant one thing: Swanson’s TV Dinner! Now there are connoisseurs of the 1970′s Swanson’s fried chicken. There are those who know a thing or two about the turkey dinner. But nothing said gourmet to me in 1976 more than Salisbury Steak! Oddly, that is EXACTLY what these meatballs tasted like. I am not saying that is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just a thing. I don’t know how they did it, but Roma’s has perfected the Swanson’s Salisbury Steak both in taste and texture.
Mrs. Old Man’s ravioli were fairly average. Nothing to write home to Mama about, but not Chef Boyardee by any means. They are listed as “homemade”, and I will take their word for it, though I would expect a more distinctive pasta with tooth for one made in-house.
Unfortunately, our experience at Roma’s was not the best. I know this will likely evoke harsh criticism from loyalists to this fine old establishment. Please keep in mind that, if we are wrong, we are not too proud to admit it. We will gladly allow you to buy us dinner to change our minds.