MONROE, CT — Diners on Osteria Romana’s patio feasted on a spread of oysters, shrimp, mussels and clams, meatballs and fried calamari Thursday evening. Though the day was a scorcher, overhead fans and temperature controls made for a cool outdoor space.
Outside the patio walls, the steady rush of a small waterfall could be heard and local musician, Chris Kalafus, played his guitar with a singer.
“We can use it all winter with the roof and the heaters,” said Jaime Zuniga, chef of the restaurant at 89 Main St.
Maurizio Ricci, a co-owner of Osteria Romana, said panels will cover over the windows in cold weather, allowing the patio to be open year-round. Zuniga and Ricci own the restaurant with business partners Graziano Ricci and Adrian Ortiz.
Tables under the roof and in the grass area can seat up to 38 people and brings the restaurant’s total capacity to 110.
“It used to be that parties of six-to-eight needed a reservation,” Zuniga said. “Now they can come anytime, because we have more space. Everyone’s happy now.”
Maurizio Ricci said Osteria Romana can host events, such as weddings and corporate parties, in a private space without interfering with regular dining.
“Since COVID, people are looking forward to the parties and light music,” Graziano Ricci said.
Every Thursday, Osteria Romana has live music on the patio.
On Thursday, First Selectman Ken Kellogg, State Rep. Tony Scott, R-Monroe, Director of Economic & Community Development William Holsworth and Monroe Chamber of Commerce Chairman Ray Giovanni participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the restaurant’s updated patio.
The event was attended by a number of Chamber and Monroe Economic Development Commission members, Town Councilman Terry Rooney, Human Resources Director Craig Hirsch and the owners’ family and friends.
The owners of the restaurant expressed their gratitude for the town’s support.
“They were very supportive, especially after COVID,” Maurizio Ricci said of town officials. “They were very flexible.”
When Kellogg spoke, he noted how outdoor dining was one of the things the town wanted to make easier. The first selectman worked with Town Planner Rick Schultz and the Planning and Zoning Commission to relax regulations to clear the way.
Giovanni thanked Zuniga and his family for their hospitality and praised Osteria Romana’s staff for being part of a well-run establishment with food that “is just phenomenal. Second to none.”
Kellogg echoed Giovanni’s sentiments.
“This is without a doubt one of our premier establishments and we’re so proud to have you here in Monroe,” he said. “You always do a top notch job. It’s just a wonderful place you have. We wish you many, many more years of success here.”