Roma Cafe has a rich history in Detroit. The building is vintage, and 1888 is as close as we can estimate its construction date. The Marazza family served the Eastern Market vendors as a boarding house for farmers, with a warm meal included. Mrs. Marazza's reputation as a fine cook spread quickly throughout the Eastern Market area. At the urging of her fans, she expanded service and opened her restaurant in February of 1890, the Roma Café.
In 1918, the business was sold to Mr. John Battaglia and Mr. Morris Sossi. As they began their partnership, an addition was put on the building, which exists exactly the same today. Within one year, John Battaglia died and Morris Sossi bought out his widow to become the sole owner of Roma Café.
Morris Sossi's nephew, Hector Sossi, began working as a busboy for his uncle in 1940. During the early 1950's, Morris returned to his native Italy and left the management to Hector. Hector Sossi carried on the family tradition and bought out Morris in 1965 to become the fourth owner of Roma Café.
Hector Sossi remained the owner of Roma Café for more than 50 years. For many of those years, he enjoyed working with a third generation family member at the helm-- his daughter, Janet Sossi Belcoure. Since Hector's passing in January 2016, Janet currently manages this historic Italian eatery. As Roma heads into the next century, Janet has become the fifth owner of Roma Café.
Roma Café and its history sit on the original 1888 location, serving up Italian favorites to a whole new generation of Detroiters. As we look to the future, the Roma Café's continued success remains secure in the Sossi tradition.