Kick off the New Year at Roma’s Centennial Celebration on Friday, January 5th and Saturday, January 6th
Reminisce on memories made at Roma Cafe over a five-course meal in celebration of the iconic Portland restaurant’s 100th year! Feeling nostalgic, we took some time to reflect on the first century of Roma and to pay homage to the many families instrumental in making Roma what it is today.
Nestled into the city’s historic West End neighborhood, the traditional Italian restaurant is on every local’s list of favorites. Built in 1885, the charming brick building first served as a private residence to the Rines family, taking on the name of the Rines Mansion.
Several decades later, Italian immigrant Dominic Marino moved his already established Roma Cafe into the mansion. In the seventies, his family opened Bramhall Pub in the building’s basement. The last few decades of the century were considered Roma’s golden years, when it was regarded as the best and most romantic restaurant in the city.
The Marinos operated the restaurant until 1985 when Dominic’s sons sold both Roma and the mansion to the Landrigan family, who continued the Marino family’s legacy for over 20 years before selling the building in 2008 and pressing pause on Roma.
The next to purchase the building were Roxanne Quimby and her son Lucas St. Clair in 2010. While Roma remained dormant, current-owner Michael Fraser reopened Bramhall in 2014. The subterranean, speakeasy-esque bar draws diners in from upstairs for a nightcap and remains an institution in Portland’s bar scene a decade later.
When St. Clair told Fraser that the restaurant space was available in 2017, Fraser jumped at the opportunity to resurrect Roma. He enlisted local Italian chef Anders Tallberg to craft a new menu while honoring the history of the restaurant. Years later, in 2021, chef Sid Rumma of Rome joined the team. Today, he continues to ensure that the Roma menu reflects traditional Italian comfort food.