[Review] Roma Cafe Detroit, Arguably The Oldest Running Restaurant In The Country

on September 20, 2013


Among the list of venues participating in the Fall 2013 Detroit Restaurant Week is Roma Cafe, the oldest restaurant in Detroit (possibly even the oldest operating restaurant in the country).

Officially opened in February of 1890, Roma Cafe has retained its old world charm (not to mention delicious food) for well over a century.

Located just down Russel Street from Eastern Market, the building originally served to board farmers travelling to the market beginning in 1888.

It was, however, the complimentary hot meal provided by the matriarch of the Marazza family that really drew a crowd. Thus, at the behest of many satisfied boarders, the Roma Cafe was opened in early 1890.

After 28 years, the Roma Cafe was sold to John Battaglia and Morris Sossi.

The partners set about expanding the property, but within a year of the purchase, Battaglia unfortunately passed away, and Sossi assumed full ownership.

Though Sossi’s nephew Hector bought Morris out in 1965 (working his way up from busboy to owner), the restaurant has been in the Sossi family ever since.

Hector’s daughter, Janet Sossi Belcoure, is now the current manager (and future owner) of the piece of history that is the Roma Cafe.

And, though the venue has passed through three generations of Sossi hands, the restaurant is still very much rooted in history and tradition. (Once a haunt of the infamous prohibition-era Purple Gang, Roma Cafe even boasts it’s own resident ghost!)

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