Romeo’s New York Pizza opened in Emory Village last Tuesday, providing students and local families with a new dining option.

The family-owned pizzeria sells pizza by the slice and by the pie, as well as salads, subs and $2 beers.

“I only serve the best food,” Gene Romeo, the owner of Romeo’s, said. “If it’s not the best – the best mushrooms, the best tomatoes – I won’t buy it.”

Romeo explained that he chose Emory Village as a location for his restaurant because of its unique demographics: a neighborhood, a college town and an area with working people.

“There’s no place in Atlanta besides Emory that has the location I’m looking for,” Romeo said. “I’m very lucky to get the spot. We love Emory, and we love the neighborhood.”

In 1945, Romeo’s grandfather brought his pizza recipe straight from Italy to Patterson, N.J., where he opened his first restaurant. Romeo said he was inspired to expand his family’s business in Atlanta, where he now has five locations.

“I felt that Atlanta really lacked the old school New York pizza, so I wanted to bring it here,” Romeo said. “We bring pizza back to the way it’s supposed to be.”

Romeo said he is very pleased with the first few days of business and added that Romeo’s has already begun to draw in some steady clients.

“For us to open in three days and execute in that time and manner, shows that we got it going on,” Romeo said.

College junior Luv Patel has dined at Romeo’s with his friends for two days in a row since it opened.

“I can’t stop coming here,” Patel said. “I love it.”

While Patel said its location across the road from campus is convenient for Emory students, he also said that Romeo’s lunch specials are also quite appealing. Romeo’s offers two slices and a drink – or one slice, a small salad and a drink – for $5.95.

“I’m all about that special,” Patel said.

Although many students like Patel are excited about this new dining option, others feel that the opening of another pizza place makes Emory Village less attractive. Everybody’s Pizza is located across the street in the Village, and Domino’s is also nearby, for example.

“The more places the better, but more of the same doesn’t add to the appeal of the village,” Ken Gray, the general manager of Everybody’s Pizza, said.

Gray said he feels that too many homogeneous restaurants currently exist in Emory Village: two Asian cuisine, three pizza joints and two sandwich places.

College freshman Jane Smukler agreed that there are too many of the same types of restaurants in the village.

“The food is great at Romeo’s,” Smukler said. “But I wish a restaurant had opened with a different style of food.”

With the opening of a new pizza restaurant, Gray said he recognizes that there may be minimal competition; however, he is not too concerned.

“Pizza eaters will have their favorites, of course, and some may be over there [Romeo’s],” Gray said.

In addition to the low-price food specials, Romeo said the restaurant also offers an environment for students to study, hang out with friends and soon watch TV on flat-screen televisions.

“There’s more to come,” Romeo said. “It’s not all there yet.”

– By Morgan Manella