Upscale pizzas, a bar for sixteen, and seated service are all on the menu for the expansion of Romo’s Pizza.
The pizza place in Glenmont will soon be expanding into the former Glenmont Beverage Center in the same plaza where Romo’s now stands. It will be a duel sit-down and pizza delivery restaurant.
“It’s something I always wanted to do,” said Owner Anthony Behrgela, whose buisness is named after his formerbull dog.
The new Romo’s will feature a bar with a selection of standard and craft brews as well as wine, with liquor and mixed drinks planned for the future. An outdoor patio is also set to come in the spring.
It is set to open in October. Hours will be primarily evenings, with possible afternoon hours.
Bethlehem residents who call Romo’s the best pizza in town can rest-assured knowing that Romo’s will remain open at their current location until the move. They will also still be serving the same menu of pizzas and Italian fare on their delivery menu at a separate delivery side of the restaurant.
“There will be two different sides,” said Behrgela. “You’ll be able to tell what the take out and dine-in sides are.”
It is the new sit-down menu which has people excited. Customers can look forward to artisan pizzas, true Sicilian slices, and deep dish Chicago styles made from flours and cheeses sourced from around the country.
The techniques used to make these pizzas are all part of what Behrgela learned while attending the International School of Pizza in California in April.
The school is run by Tony Geminani, owner of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco, a restaurant that – though based in California and not New York City – is widely considered to have the country’s best pizza.
“He’s kinda the it-guy in pizza,” said Behrgela of Geminani.
Five or six courses are held each year, and people from all over the world attend to learn Geminani’s methods. He is known for taking particular care in choosing ingredients, oven temperatures and oven type – wood-burning, electic, coal, etc. – for each pizza that he makes.
Courses are a week long and cost about $4,000.
Some of the flours at the restaurant will be shipped in by Geminani’s same artisan flour source in California.
The new layout of the restaurant will be something similar to old, classic pizza places New York City. The envisions the restaurant having lots of brick, nice wooden tables, and black booths to go with the new black bar.
Along with the new pizzas, the menu will feature classic Italian appetizers like fried mozzarella and calamari as well as desert options. They will also extend hours to include Mondays, their current day off.
Romo’s Pizza has experienced great success since they opened shop just five years ago. This move comes after a 2012 relocation to a more visible part of the plaza. On a busy weekend, the restaurant will serve up to a couple hundred pizzas a night.
Behrgela said he knew “almost nothing” about pizza when he opened Romo’s in 2009, not even having worked at a pizza place prior to opening one. All of what he knows he’s learned on the job, and at Geminani’s school.
“My family helped me out from there, and I learned as I grew. I never settled,” said Behrgela. He said his family, including his sister, fiancé and cousins, have all “made a lot of sacrifices” to help him with the restaurant.
Romo’s currently has about 10 employees, with new delivery drivers and wait staff hires planned after the move.
So far construction crews have only cleared out the Glenmont Beverage Center, a space that they are leasing. Construction work is set to begin this week.
The announcement of this expansion comes after Behrgela went through town to ensure the space would have enough parking for the expanded restaurant.
So far Behrgela says he has had great response from customers and fans on Facebook, getting lots of social media shares since his announcement in July.
One might worry expanding into a sit-down restaurant could cause a disturbance in the Bethlehem pizza wars, as the expansion now brings him closer in competition with restaurants like Angela’s, a sit-down pizza and pasta place located just across the street from Romo’s in the Price Chopper plaza.
“There are obviously other pizzerias in town. Pizza is a personal preference thing, and everyone has their own favorite pizza place,” Behrgela said, adding he think’s Angela’s is great.
Romo’s will hold a soft opening for friends and family before the grand opening in October. They plan on announcing the date of these openings via mailed letters. Until then, residents will have to wait before they can try the new and improved Romo’s California-influenced fare.