Economists and politicians everywhere are pondering the question: What’s the answer to these tough times? Vincent F. Vasti thinks he has at least a partial solution: Pizza. Real, old-fashioned, Bronx-style pizza. “We’re still all about quality and excellence,” says Vasti, who changed the name of his restaurant from Romolo’s to Bella Gianna’s at the beginning of the year. “But we have a new menu and better prices. These are hard times out there, which is why we’re offering a lot of family-style options — and pizza too.” Vasti swears the secret to the pie’s success is that he travels to the Bronx several times a week to pick up the dough. “It’s because of the water there, it’s just better quality,” he says.
All the traditional Italian dishes remain on the menu including filet mignon, baby back ribs, rollatini di polo (stuffed chicken breast filled with proscuitto and a delicate blend of four cheeses in a mushroom wine sauce), and a wide selection of pasta. “We have the best manicotti,” Vasti boasts. “It’s my wife’s recipe; we make the shells here. It is so light, it really does melt in your mouth.” In short, says Vasti, “Romolo’s used to be a suit-and-tie kind of place. We’re trying to get away from that a little bit. So while it is still a good place to celebrate your anniversary, you can turn around and bring the kids in for pizza two days later.” The airy restaurant also offers dinner and dancing once a month, and has four attractive rooms for catering private parties.
And what’s the new name all about? “Oh, Gianna is my daughter. She’s seven. But I’d better mention the other ones, too. Olivia is 11 and Erica is 13.”