Although signs at his restaurant said he was on vacation, Romio’s Pizza and Pasta Restaurant owner Howard Goehring hasn’t been relaxing in the summer sun over the past couple of weeks. Instead, Goehring has been busy preparing a new home for his restaurant.
Romio’s is moving into space previously occupied by Prime Pizza at 5602-232nd St. S.W. #101 in the West Plaza Shopping Center in Mountlake Terrace. Goehring hopes to have the restaurant open as soon as Friday, June 27.
“I’m excited; I’m very excited,” Goehring said. “I’m just waiting for the guys to work out the POS (point of sale) system.”
Goehring has owned Romio’s for a little more than two years and has operated in a stand-alone building less than a mile south of his new location on 56th Avenue West. He heard through some business connections, and then saw online, that the Prime Pizza space was available just a couple of weeks ago. In those weeks Goehring not only acquired the space but cleaned the floors, walls and ceiling, moved all his kitchen equipment — including his pizza oven — to the new location, and done some minor remodeling.
The biggest chore in turning the space into Romio’s was removing the old, heavy pizza oven from the late-1980s. “When the place was a Little Caesar’s, that was the first thing they moved in here before anything else,” Goehring speculated. “There were actually coupons in the back, Little Caesar’s 1989 coupons. They were a little burnt around the edges.”
A couple potential buyers of the pizza oven passed on it after seeing its size and condition – one tried to move it with a crew of seven, but gave up when they couldn’t pick it up. Goehring finally convinced a metal recycler to take it apart and remove it.
Not all of the work has been done back in the kitchen. The front service area has received some upgrades, big posters that blocked out sunlight have been removed, and an overhead chalkboard is being installed that Goehring hopes will become an eye-catcher for customers.
While the entire kitchen area of the space is larger than Romio’s former location, the seating area is much smaller. Goehring admits the focus of the restaurant will be more on takeout and delivery, with all items on a larger menu available to-go. In fact, the name of the business will even change to Romio’s Pizza & Pasta Express, emphasizing the new focus of the restaurant. “And everything is deliverable,” Goehring added.
The restaurant will likely open up to customers before the new Romio’s signs are even installed on the exterior of the space. Goehring hopes to have some posters up early next week proclaiming the business’ new name. “Our goal right now is just to open,” he said.
Even while closed during its remodeling, customers have been hungry for the restaurant’s offerings. People have been walking in wanting to order, and “the phone is ringing, ringing,” Goehring said. He hopes those are good signs of things to come in the new location.
– Story and photos by Doug Petrowski