Saturday, May 3, 2008
Memories of Rome Pizzeria
Many great memories from my college days come to mind while thinking about this place. Romes Pizza had a strategic location as it was half way between my old apartment on Melbourne St. and the UMC campus. Located on the North side of Broadway facing the entrance to Hitt St., it was one of my favorite spots to stop when walking home after class. It also had another strategic advantage, it had a rear exit that brought you to the the back parking lot near where the old Cork and Dart Pub was located (more on that business later).
If you looked inside Romes it appeared dark and mysterious but as you opened the door the aromas lured you in. On the right as you entered was the cooking area with its pizza ovens and gyro cooker. A big cylindrical shaped hunk of lamb and beef stood on a counter in its cooker where they would slice off portions of meat for a gyro. Their gyro sauce was the best I ever tasted to this day and the pizzas were wonderful. They were large, greasy and extremely flavorful. Romes also sold various Greek dishes that were just as tasty and salads that were out of this world. It was at this restaurant where I had my first taste of Ouzo, a licorice flavored liquor and Retsina, a liquor tasting like pine tar. Both of them put a little extra step in your walk and needed to be treated with respect.
The owner of Romes was a short older gentleman but I can't remember his name. I believe he opened one of the first Greek owned restaurants in mid-Missouri and may of helped bring over the other people or family who started similar places. He ran the place with his wife and son and I remember his voice because he would talk loudly to them in Greek, sometimes yelling with animated gestures. During those times I would close my eyes while tasting the food and think I was in Greece. I guess he retired because he sold the store and it became an Indian restaurant. One day I met him at the Wal-Mart on Conley; he was working as a greeter so I decided to thank him for all the good food over the years. He didn't seem to remember me but was nice nevertheless and went on to his duties. Then, after so many years and even while typing this post, I can still taste the gyros, pizzas, Greek salads and the endless gallons of Dr. Pepper this fine restaurant served me and boy, do I miss them.