Story and photos by Doug Petrowski
When asked why he bought Romio’s Pizza and Pasta restaurant in Mountlake Terrace, new owner Howard Goehring simply answers, “I always wanted a place of my own.”
Goehring purchased the restaurant last October. “It was kind of a hobby for 1o years, looking for the right opportunity,” he added.
A 20-year Army veteran, Goehring spent the past decade at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Seattle, working in their kitchen, doing repairs and helping with new openings.
Fate intervened last year when Goehring had an opportunity to take over the Mountlake Terrace Romio’s. The Romio’s Franchise Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2010. A few of their restaurants closed, some restructured, some sold. According to Goehring, the previous owner of the Mountlake Terrace Romio’s began neglecting the restaurant, devoting his attention to another franchise he owned elsewhere.
“By the time I was looking at this one, it was getting kinda rough,” Goehring explained. “Anyone else would have run from it, but I didn’t.”
Goehring says he spent a lot of time cleaning up the space and repairing kitchen equipment. He also added a fresh coat of paint to the exterior and hopes to open up a banquet room soon.
Business has been slow these first six months, but he says he is paying his bills and meeting payroll. “It often takes two years for a new restaurant to establish itself,” Goehring added.
The ongoing clean-up of a former gas station site just north and east of Romio’s has hindered business some, Goehring said. Crews are there for two-week periods cleaning underground storage tanks and surrounding soils, and laying down concrete pads to build pumping stations on. The Romio’s parking lot has even been fenced off at times during the restoration of the Time Oil site.
Despite the challenges, Goehring has high hopes for his restaurant and his involvement in the community. He was involved in the community Easter Egg Hunt earlier this month and sponsors a sports team in MTYAA. “I want to have a nice place that is family-friendly and that people can come and enjoy,” he said.
Romio’s Pizza and Pasta is located at 24225-56th Ave. W.; hours are 3-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays, and Noon-9 p.m. on Sundays. You can view the menu and order online here.