Gosh I love Burnaby Heights. This is a fantastic neighbourhood. Most of the restaurants here have been around for a long, long time. One restaurant that stands out is Romana Pizza.
Romana has been in business for 38 years, and it has the distinction of being Burnaby’s Longest Running Single Family Owned & Operated Pizza/Restaurant Establishment.
We were greeted at the door by proud owner Poppy. (or @Momma_Poppy as she is known in the twitter world). You kindda figure that greeting customers would’ve gotten old after 38 years, but no. There she was, with a huge smile on her face, welcoming us to her restaurant.
Let’s start with the Kalamari ($10). This dish was deep fried, but not greasy, and it was coated in a special blend of spices and served with a generous side of Tzatziki sauce. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t place the spice mix. I’ve never tasted anything like it. This dish totally lived to the hype I’ve been hearing!
Next to the pizza. Their pizzas are very generous. We ordered a small Spinach Delight (spinach, onion, feta, tomato and mushroom) for $16 and it was more than plenty for two people. This pizza comes loaded with toppings! They really don’t skimp here. The crust was so crispy, without being oily, and the sauce had a nice sweet basil taste. This was really, really good pizza.
Poppy came by a few times to check on us, and to chat a bit. She takes her role of hostess very, very seriously. Everything has to be perfect. Poppy likes social media a lot. Her daughter Jenny manages the restaurant’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
When Poppy talks about her family her face lights up – pictures of her daughters and grandchildren are all over the restaurant.
Turns out that Poppy likes Tweeter so much, that if you come to the restaurant, and you show her that you follow @RomanaPizza she will buy dessert! How awesome is that?
We were out of luck – they were out of their famous Tiramisu. Instead we ordered the Greek version of it called EckMec - instead of cheese, they use a creamy custard. It was fantastic! We also had a bit of Backlava, and it was nutty perfection.
We had a fantastic time at Romana – this was not eating out, this was an experience. When I asked Poppy what is the secret to her success, she simply said “it’s not about the money, it’s about the relationships you make along the way”
And she’s right.