Yesterday I had a day with DaWife. We saw a movie (Last Full Measure, not bad at all) and ate at a two table hole in the wall Chinese place (Kiki’s Kitchen a mom pop and kid place in Fitchburg very good) and ended up at Market Basket to pick up some cheese to go with the ground beef I had bought at Romano’s to make a Mexican chips and cheese mix.
That one bag of cheese turned into $70+ in groceries but more importantly we ran into her sister who gave us the news that Roman’s Market would be closing permanently on Feb 15th after 100 years and 8 generations of Romano’s working there.
All the grandchild in the world and No Amount of his sons working weekends could replace Mike’s 80 hours a week and even if you hired two experienced meat cutters at a minimum of $25 an hour each, that $100K a year and that certainly beyond the owners draw.
Moreover thanks to the minimum wage hikes in Massachusetts and the onerous regulations both state and city the cost to bring the place up to code for a new owner who would not be grandfathered in as every regulation woke regulation was applied would be prohibitive.
Thing came to a head this week since the 4000 pounds of brisket that would have to be cut and corned in the barrels in the cooler would have to be ordered at once to have it ready for St. Patrick’s day. Their supplier offered to corn the beef themselves but the extra cost which would have to be passed down to the customers again would have been prohibitive and frankly might not taste the same as if they did it themselves.
So this week the orders will be big and the hours put in heavy as they inform customers that this is the last chance to order meat bundles that would go in freezers. I suspect from Tuesday through Saturday the place will look like the day before Christmas, with no more Christmas roasts being ordered, or the day before Thanksgiving with no more Fresh Turkeys coming in, or the week of St. Patrick’s with nary a bit of corned beef to be found or July 3rd as everyone gets their freshly made sausage, marinated tips and fresh ground hamburg for the very last time.
I’m a heavy guy and I love a piece of meat, or stuffed pork chops or stuffed chicken breasts but for 28 years since I moved into the neighborhood I’ve not cooked more than a few pounds of meat in my body that hasn’t come from Romano’s.
I’m going to miss Mike, but I’m going to miss Romano’s more. I guess that’s a tad greedy.
Here’s a glimpse of what Fitchburg will be missing.