MONROE, Conn. — Trumbull residents Joan and Pat DeCarlo thought nothing of traveling to Norwalk to one of their favorite restaurants, Osteria Romana.
“There’s not one thing on the menu that isn’t good,” Joan DeCarlo said. “It was worth it.”
But the couple was delighted to hear the restaurant’s owners, brothers Graziano and Maurizio Ricci, had opened a new outpost by the same name just over the town border from them in Monroe.
“Benvenuti!” Maurizio said, hugging the DeCarlos as they arrived for the grand opening of his new Main Street restaurant Tuesday. “Come in! Come in!”
Open just a month, Osteria Romana is getting a great reception from diners who appreciate meals just like Mama used to make. That’s just what his brother, the chef, is whipping up in the kitchen.
“We’re third generation in the restaurant business in our family,” he said.
They follow in the successful footsteps of their grandmother, Cecelia Santopietro, and their mother, Emilia Ricci, who still runs the family restaurant in Rome with her husband, Franco, and their other brother, Simone.
In fact, one of the most popular dishes on the menu is their grandmother’s “old school” zuppa di pesce. Other favorites are the veal scallopine and an al dente risotto with truffles imported from Alba.
Monroe’s Osteria Romana is the brothers’ third restaurant, joining the first Osteria Romana, Norwalk’s 2015 Small Business of the Year, and their more casual pizza and wine bar Romanacci, also in Norwalk.
Business has been so brisk, the pair plan to open a second Romanacci in Trumbull this spring.
Maurizio said he arrived in the United States nearly seven years ago and his brother, who has been here 18 years, suggested they go into business together. They hope Simone will join them one day, he said.
“America is still the greatest country,” he said. “Your dreams can still come true here.”
But the brothers do more than dream, according to Joan DeCarlo. She said Maurizio often served as their waiter at his Norwalk restaurant, if the business was busy.
“I said, ‘He’s the owner? He works hard'!” she said, patting him on the arm. “But he has personality. He has charm.
Osteria Romana is located at 89 Main St., the former home of Tula restaurant.