The National Restaurant Association estimates a 20% success rate for all restaurants. Further data reveals that about 60% of restaurants fail in their first year of operation, and 80% fail within 5 years of opening.
That’s not the case for Roma Restaurant in Laurens, South Carolina.
Roma Restaurant, an Italian and Mediterranean eatery located at 105 East Laurens Street in Laurens recently celebrated a remarkable milestone—20 years in business!
A Tale of Diverse Beginnings
Hailing from diverse backgrounds, owners Jennifer Youssef, a Laurens native, and Yvan Youssef, originally from Syria, have woven their unique experiences into the fabric of Roma Restaurant.
Yvan lived with his uncle in France at a young age and worked in his uncle’s restaurants. He decided to move to the United States and open a restaurant. He was living in Georgia when he saw that the building in Laurens was for sale. He fell in love with Laurens and Jennifer, and the rest is history.
Together they have created a place where delicious cuisine and warm hospitality come together seamlessly.
Since its humble beginnings, Roma has maintained a vision of offering a family-friendly restaurant with delicious food that caters to all palates.
A Vision of Family-Friendly Dining
“Our vision was to open a family-friendly restaurant with delicious food that everyone would enjoy,” Jennifer reminisced about their vision when they first started.
The restaurant has been in its original location throughout its two-decade journey, becoming a staple in the Laurens community. Over the years, Roma has continuously evolved, adapting its menu, atmosphere, and clientele to better serve customers.
“We have changed a lot over the years. We love to add new items to the menu each year. The biggest change was in 2015 when we received an 80/20 grant from the city to put in a bar,” Jennifer shared. “That allowed us to have more options than just beer and wine, and we have added many signature cocktails in the years since.”
Reflecting on their early years, Jennifer noted, “Our first challenge was when the economy collapsed, and the recession hit. We struggled through those years with just Yvan in the kitchen and one server out front. In 2015, we started to slowly rebuild, and we are so thankful we survived.”
The Italian and Mediterranean menu was warmly embraced by customers from the beginning, garnering a strong following and establishing a reputation for quality and flavor. The community quickly fell in love with their offerings.
“Our food is made with the best quality ingredients, and we take pride in serving the best to our customers,” Jennifer emphasized.
The owners also expressed their greatest joys in owning and running Roma, emphasizing the deep connections formed with their customers and staff over the years. Many customers have become longtime friends, and former patrons often join the Roma team, creating a true family atmosphere.
Looking Forward: Enhancing the Experience
Looking ahead, Roma Restaurant is excited to reintroduce happy hour at their bar from Monday to Thursday, 4:30-7:00 pm, offering drink specials accompanied by a bar bites menu. As they mark this significant milestone, they are committed to providing an enhanced dining experience to their patrons.
For those yet to experience Roma (is there anyone in Laurens County who has not eaten at Roma?), they can expect an array of top-demand dishes, including lasagna, chicken piccata, seafood Alfredo, brick oven pizza, stromboli, and eggplant parmesan.
The restaurant’s hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 11:00 am – 2 pm and 4:30 – 9:00 pm, Saturday 4:30 – 9 pm, and Sunday 11 am – 2:00 pm. Click HERE to follow them on Facebook.
Roma Restaurant is also available for private events, allowing patrons to host gatherings and celebrations in the heart of Laurens. Whether it’s a casual family dinner or a special occasion, Roma is ready to accommodate and serve.
As Roma Restaurant celebrates its 20th anniversary, the owners express their gratitude to the community for their unwavering support throughout the years. They look forward to many more years of serving exceptional food and creating cherished memories for the Laurens community.
Enjoy the photo gallery of pictures of Roma past and present and then the next time you’re in Laurens, we’ll see you there.