Roma’s Pizza Returns to the UES after Pandemic Closure

Roma Pizza - Upper East Side
Roma Pizza on First Avenue/Upper East Site

MANHATTAN – A Yorkville fixture is back and it feels as if the restaurant hasn’t missed a beat. Roma’s Pizza has reopened at a new location a few blocks from its original shop, after closing during the pandemic’s stay at home orders.

Roma Pizza on First Avenue/Upper East Site

Roma’s return brings back fond memories for this Upper East Sider. It was almost a decade ago when I first ate Roma’s. I had spent months apartment hunting during a record-breaking winter of bone-chilling cold, I had finally found my first apartment in New York City. It wasn’t fancy, in fact it took a good effort to make the place feel like home, but what it did have was a great pizzeria located directly across the street. 

Roma’s Pizza at the corner of 88th and Third Ave. on the Upper East Side was a neighborhood favorite— buzzing from 10am to 4am the next day with customers looking for a quick slice before work, on a break or on their way home. And it was easy not to fight the urge for pizza, the hot cheese, tangy and sweet sauce layered on a crispy, chewy crust. There was never a reason not to stop by Roma’s. 

The Original Roma’s Pizza at E. 88th & 3rd Ave/Google Maps

For almost a decade, they were my go-to pizzeria. When there were big snowstorms, plows would line the block to switch drivers— many of them would race into Roma’s to get a fresh slice before hitting the road. 

In 2017, Roma’s moved to a larger storefront a couple doors down, and later the business changed ownership. Thats when things began going downhill. The quality of the pizza didn’t immediately suffer, but prices did immediately rise. 

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On top of that, sales tax was no longer included in the price. That’s a less than 10% extra, so it wasn’t a terrible price hike. But an unintended consequence of no longer having prices in round numbers, checkout was taking longer and longer. Leading to big lines that would backup to the door. Forget about a quick slice. 

Roma Pizza - Upper East Side
Roma Pizza on Third Ave. in 2017/Apple Maps

In 2020, when the pandemic forced widespread stay-at-home orders, Roma’s Pizza closed its doors at 88th and Third Avenue. A quiet ending for a bustling neighborhood staple, one of many unable to survive with take-out and delivery only. 

Almost a year would pass before there were signs of Roma’s making its return. New signage went up on the old Luigi’s pizzeria at 88th and First Ave, but no grand opening date was listed.

Roma Pizza - Upper East Side
Roma Pizza on First Avenue/Upper East Site

Today we stepped inside the new Roma’s, which staff did confirm is related to the old pizzeria, and it instantly felt like home once again. The plain pizza was just as delicious as I remember and the spinach-artichoke slice is a welcome newcomer for this pizza lover. 

Sales tax was included in the price of a slice, $2.75, and delivery is free with a $10 minimum, just like the good old days of Roma’s. Be sure to stop and support this local business. Roma Pizza is open from 10am and 2am every day.

Roma Pizza - Upper East Side
Roma Pizza Menu/Upper East Site

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