For more than 70 years, Romano's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant has been a mainstay in Essington, PA., which is located in the southeastern part of Delaware County. Founded in 1944 by Nazzereno Romano, the inventor of the Stromboli Sandwich, the restaurant is now in its third generation and is the oldest, family owned and operated Italian Restaurant in Delaware County.

Romano's has a rich and storied past. From selling Tomato Pies out of a wagon in the '40's, to the creation of the Stromboli in the 50's and a visit from President Clinton's Secret Service Detail in the 90's. The story of Romano's reads like an epic novel spanning oceans, decades and generations. Follow the timeline below to revisit the milestones that have made Romano's a true historical treasure.

  • Nazzereno Romano Emigrates From Italy and Opens A Restaurant

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    Patriarch and founder, Nazzareno Romano, emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1923. Nazzareno, “Nat”, was active in the resistance against Benito Mussolini, founder of fascism and leader of Italy from 1922 to 1943, and had to leave Italy after Mussolini became Prime Minister in October 1922. A stone mason by trade, Nat worked on several projects in the Philadelphia area including Villanova University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

  • 1950 – The Year Of The Stromboli

    In the winter of 1949, Nat started experimenting with a new type of sandwich. He filled his secret recipe dough with a variety of Italian meats, bell peppers and cheeses that he rolled into a log and baked. He began to produce and sell the as-yet-unnamed sandwiches in early 1950.

  • 1960 – The Second Generation

    The1960's brought a lot of change to Romano's. The restaurant's notoriety was growing at a rapid pace and it was one of the most popular Italian restaurants in the area. As for Nat's Stromboli Sandwiches, well that was another thing. Because the restaurant was so close to the Philadelphia Airport, there was always a steady flow of 'out-of-towners' who carried tales of the soon-to-be-famous Stromboli Sandwich to points all over the U.S. It wasn't long before other restaurants tried to copy the Stromboli - but they never got it quite right. Nobody understood that a Stromboli wasn't just cold cuts baked in pizza dough.

The Beginning

Nazzereno Romano Emigrates From Italy and Opens A Restaurant

Romano's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant History

Patriarch and founder, Nazzareno Romano, emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1923. Nazzareno, “Nat”, was active in the resistance against Benito Mussolini, founder of fascism and leader of Italy from 1922 to 1943, and had to leave Italy after Mussolini became Prime Minister in October 1922. A stone mason by trade, Nat worked on several projects in the Philadelphia area including Villanova University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

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1950's

1950 - The Year Of The Stromboli

Romano's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant History

In the winter of 1949, Nat started experimenting with a new type of sandwich. He filled his secret recipe dough with a variety of Italian meats, bell peppers and cheeses that he rolled into a log and baked. He began to produce and sell the as-yet-unnamed sandwiches in early 1950.

Read More

1960's

1960 - The Second Generation

Romano's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant History

The1960's brought a lot of change to Romano's. The restaurant's notoriety was growing at a rapid pace and it was one of the most popular Italian restaurants in the area. As for Nat's Stromboli Sandwiches, well that was another thing. Because the restaurant was so close to the Philadelphia Airport, there was always a steady flow of 'out-of-towners' who carried tales of the soon-to-be-famous Stromboli Sandwich to points all over the U.S. It wasn't long before other restaurants tried to copy the Stromboli - but they never got it quite right. Nobody understood that a Stromboli wasn't just cold cuts baked in pizza dough.

Read More
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