Restaurant Report Card: A business built on love, Roman Villa feeds Colorado Springs for 62 years

Restaurant Report Card

COLORADO SPRINGS — In this week’s Restaurant Report Card, for nearly 62 years, Roman Villa located at 3005 North Nevada Avenue has been a pizza staple in Colorado Springs, and even after all those decades, the past year was like nothing they had seen before.

“The charm of Roman Villa, I can’t even describe it. It’s just a charm,” said Co-Owner Carla Tong.

If you’ve ever been to the little pizza and pasta spot on North Nevada, you already know, one step inside and it’s like you’re back at grandma’s house because you are.

“I am third generation in this building but the fourth generation in Roman Villa altogether,” Tong’s daughter and Co-Owner Amber Shaffer said.

In 1959 Shaffer’s great grandmother and grandfather opened the original Roman Villa in Palmer Lake. Shortly after that, her grandma and grandpa followed from Chicago with Tong and her two siblings, opening a small carry-out only location in Colorado Springs.

“I remember watching my dad make dough on Saturday mornings with the same dough machine that we still have back there now. I started bussing tables when I was probably 10 or 11 and got paid a silver dollar a night,” said Tong.

Eventually her daughter got to share those memories too.

“I remember playing with the pizza dough, playing in the kitchen, running around, getting up on the pizza bench, making the mess in flour,” Shaffer explained.

Still with grandma’s recipes, Tong and Shaffer have been running the show for about 25 years, but neither of them could’ve guessed what 2020 would bring. So they turned back to how it all started.

“Never. I have never experienced anything like this in all my years here,” said Tong. “We went back to our roots, we’re no strangers to carry-out at all.”

“We have a product that is easy to take-out,” said Shaffer.

They say it takes key ingredients to making it through a pandemic.

“Good food, excellent clientele, staff that keeps showing up, and just consistency,” Shaffer added.

To Tong and Shaffer, Roman Villa is made with love, and built on it too.

“It’s home and community. It’s a safe place and a good place,” said Tong.

Roman Villa’s temporary hours are 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. They offer dine-in, take-out, and curbside pickup.

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