If the notion of Italian street food brings to mind snacks found in a picturesque piazza or along some Roman alley, the scene at Romano Italian Street Food (4620 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-872-9992; www.myromano.com) may require a little adjustment. Located near Clearview Parkway and one of Metairie's busiest intersections, this is not exactly a pedestrian's paradise.
But this new eatery does perform with the speed and ease of street food, using a fast-casual formula with customers ordering directly from the prep line. The menu is short — diners pick angel hair pasta, salad or flat-bread sandwiches – but long on customized options, with a variety of meats, sauces and dressings customers choose as servers prepare their meal. The list of toppings runs from whole roasted garlic cloves to shaved fennel. All dishes are under $10.
Romano Italian Street Food opened in early January along a stretch of Veterans Memorial Boulevard where a number of national chain restaurants have set up shop lately. But this concept is a local one, says manager Melissa Simon, and it's designed for expansion.
"We'd like to grow with other locations all over New Orleans and in other states, but this is our first one," she says.
Beyond the build-your-own pastas, salads and sandwiches, there are just a few other items. Most significant is piadina stuffed with mozzarella, Parmesan and red sauce, which resembles a small pizza. Piadina is a thin, cracker-crisp bread, which the kitchen converts into a sort of Italian-style wrap for its sandwiches. The same bread is also made into chips served with a variety of dips for another side dish.
Romano Italian Street Food serves lunch and dinner daily, and diners can order online in advance.