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Remembering 'Rom'

Sturbridge was part of the family

Pallbearers carry the casket of the late Romaldo P. “Rom” Roscioli up the stairs to At. Anne’s Church for Wednesday's funeral Mass. Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)
June 02, 2010
STURBRIDGE — His name was synonymous with Sturbridge.

For more than 50 years the restaurant he built from the ground up was a favorite of townspeople, a first taste of the American workforce for local youth, and a destination of travelers from all over.

Businessman, philanthropist and family man Romaldo "Rom" Roscioli died Sunday, May 30 after a long period of declining health.

A native of Southbridge, Roscioli was best known for Rom's Restaurant, a Main Street staple in Sturbridge for 54 years he established while working for American Optical.

First opened in 1952, Roscioli's restaurant began as a quaint roadside stand serving hotdogs and soft-serve ice cream. With the success of Rom's came the room-by-room additions to the stand and expansions of the menu. Rom's 600-person capacity restaurant is now occupied by Playa Del Carmen's.

A supporter of countless local charities and organizations, Roscioli's biggest legacy may be the opportunities he offered local teens, giving hundreds of kids their first real jobs in his kitchen and dinning rooms.

"I think everybody in town probably worked for him at one time or another," said Captain John Marinelli of the Sturbridge Fire Department who worked as a busboy and bartender at Rom's for 15 years.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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