AFTER more than 60 years, popular Romany Restaurant will close its doors for good on Saturday.
Believed to be Perth’s oldest Italian restaurant, Romany was opened on William Street near the horseshoe bridge by four Lenzerini brothers.
Enzo Develter took ownership of the “rundown” space in the mid-1990s before it moved to Aberdeen Street when the original premises were demolished to make way for the new cultural centre.
It took three months to renovate the Aberdeen Street premises, formerly Mamma Maria’s, to accommodate the restaurant, which retained the same decor and re-opened in November 2006.
“Mamma Maria’s had been there for about 40 years but it closed and the shop had been empty for four years and looked like a bomb site,” Mr Develter said.
After about 25 years of running the restaurant, Mr Develter said it was time to retire.
Speaking to regular customers today during the lunchtime rush, he said he had been meaning to retire for years but kept putting it off.
He told the Guardian Express he wanted to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren,
“I don’t know what I am going to do next,” he said.
“I haven’t thought much beyond returning the keys to the landlord; I still own the name (Romany) so you never know.”
Mr Develter said there were many highlights from the last two decades.
“We have had champion golfers and Olympic gold medallists dine here, and an Indonesian film crew filming in here,” he said.
“During the day for lunch we have well-to-do business people but then at night it is families; we have attracted people from the wealthy to bikies.”
He said he never was able to put his finger on what drew people back.
“Why do people come here? I don’t know. It is homely,” he said.
Mr Develter called on politicians to “do something” about anti-social behaviour in Northbridge.
“They talk about it, but haven’t done anything,” he said.
“In the last three months I have had times where I have had to lock the doors and windows because of anti-social behaviour.”
Mr Develter said as far as he knew, once he returned the keys, the space would sit empty.
“It will add to the number of empty shops in Perth,” he said.