Chips Off The Old Block
By Julia Conway
A SWANSEA fish and chip shop is celebrating its 40th anniversary today.
The Roma Fish Bar on High Street, Gorseinon first opened on November 5 1973. To mark the occasion, for one day only, chips are on sale at 1973 prices costing 5p for a small bag, 7p for medium and 9p for large. Anthony Romanello, 32, said: “They’ve been queuing half way up High Street. We knew it would be busy but didn’t expect this. It’s been mental!”
The family business is managed between four brothers, Paul 44, Nicky 41, Roberto 37 and Anthony. They have expanded to open four more chip shops in the Swansea area. All are run by family members. Mr Romanello added: “We’ve had three times as much business than usual, it’s been amazing. We didn’t even advertise, just a poster on the window, and word got round.” As customers queued, Matthew Evans, 34, from Killay said he had been to The Roma before but had come “especially for the offer today, the chips here are excellent”.
Frank Romanello, 67, and his wife Maria, 63, started out with a small café in Aberdare. Tesco wanted to build there and offered them a cash lump sum to vacate. Family friend Joe Verdi (an Ice Cream legend in the Swansea area) knew of a chip shop for sale and helped his friend to set up the first Roma fish bar. “My parents are still involved in the business, we can’t get mother out of the kitchen,” said Anthony.
Natasha, 17, has worked at The Roma for just over a year. She said: “It’s been heaving. They started coming in just after 11(a.m.) and it’s going well.” She added that they are “a lovely family to work with”.