Restaurants / Closings

One of Houston’s Best Pizza Shops is Closed For Foreseeable Future Because of Devastating Next-Door Fire — Romano’s is On Ice

This True Family Business With Authentic New York Pies is Caught in Temporary Limbo

BY // 11.11.20

Houston is one of the best food cities in America, but pizza has never been its strong point. Now, one of the very best pizza shops in the Bayou City is going to be closed for the foreseeable future because of a devastating next-door fire.

When Q Nails & Spa River Oaks caught fire, it took out Romano’s Pizza, its next-door neighbor, with it. Romano’s suffered significant damage in the fire. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the blaze.

But now, Romano’s has to wait for the nail salon to rebuild before it can start its own repairs. One worker at the shop was told it could be up to five months before Romano’s can reopen.

While the Romano’s owners are more nebulous on the timeline in a sign in the window — and on the pizza shop’s Facebook page — only writing that Romano’s will have to “close our doors until further notice,” Houston is clearly going to be without one of its best pizza places for awhile.

Talk about a holiday pizza bummer.

Romano’s is one of the only spots in Houston – maybe the only spot — that does a credible (and good) New York style pizza. It gets the cheese, the sauce, the ratio and slice length right. This West Gray pizza institution has a devoted group of regulars for good reason. It’s earned the love — with authenticity.

And a true family touch.

Cousins Vincenzo Quarto and Francesco Fragale have run Romano’s at 1528 West Gray for more than 20 years now. The Calabria, Italy natives built their shop around “timeless, authentic Italian food” from the start, drawing from their 15-plus years of pizza-making in New York City. Fragale and Quarto are both longtime chefs and their sons, Francesco Quarto and Frankie Fragale, are just as involved with the shop today. And someday, the sons’ new sons could be involved in the shop if things go right.

But for now, Romano’s is sidelined — and the staying power of one of Houston’s best pizza places will be tested like never before.

Hopefully, Romano’s can return before too, too long. To check on its progress, go to Romano’s Facebook page.

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