Meet Philip, one of the owners of Roma Ristorante Italiano!

roma ristorante italianoTell us a little about your business!

We are a family owned and operated business. Our grandfather started our restaurant business in 1976 when he came over from Italy. My mother and father opened up another restaurant with the help of my grandfather in 1979. We have been working in the restaurant business as a family ever since then. We currently have two locations in the Richmond area in which my parents and younger brother, Antonio, run the day to day operations. My older brother, Sal, and I work together to run the other location.

How did you get started in this business?

Me and my brothers grew up in the business. When were were really young, we would go to work with our parents everyday and stay at the restaurant while our parents worked. As we got older, our parents started to get us to help during busy hours and clean up. As time went on and we got older, we began working on a regular basis and every weekend. Working with our parents was our first job, and we started at a very young age. We are now owners of our own location and still work together with our family to continue on the family business.

What’s your favorite wedding story??

My first catered wedding was my favorite. It was how we started catering weddings. I had a couple who were customers of mine come up to us one day and told us she was getting married and wanted us to cater her wedding. I was excited and nervous because we had never catered a wedding or event that was not in our restaurant or in our private dining room. I did a ton of planning and a lot of long nights going over all the details to make sure we were ready and that their special day was perfect. It was a perfect day, and I had a great time at the wedding. It showed me how much fun catering weddings was and how appreciative everyone was about great food. It is the reason we cater weddings and other events to this day. Every time we cater at that venue, it reminds me of our first wedding!

Why do you like working with weddings?

I like working weddings because it gives me a different challenge, and it changes the atmosphere for me. I like being outdoors and it gives me a change from being in my restaurant every day. Weddings are also really fun, and I get to meet the families of the brides and grooms. Being a family owned business/restaurant, I love that my family gets to meet their families.

From a vendor’s perspective, what is the one best piece of advice you can offer to engaged couples?        

I always like to tell couples to have a budget in mind or know your budget ahead of time. We know planning a wedding is exhausting and expensive. Going in with a plan and a budget will save you lots of time.

How far in advance should couples book your services?

Weekends always book up first, so the sooner the better. If you already have your date figured out, try to get your venue and caterer book first.

What inspired you the most / where do you find inspiration?  

My parents and my family. My parents worked hard when I was younger to provide for me and my brothers. Them coming from another country showed me how much hard work it takes to become successful. They continue to work hard today, and I get my inspiration from that. I now have a family of my own with 2 children that keep me going even more.

What do you like to do when you are away from work? 

I like to spend time with my wife and kids outside playing sports or any activities outdoors.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?  

I think you would be surprised that I speak 3 languages and have been working for about 17 years in the restaurant business (I am 32).