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Philip J. Romano's History Of Restaurants;

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* THE GLADIATOR, 1965

An Italian place of little note . . . meat-ball-and-pepper hero: 99?; Lobster Tail Scampi: $3.65.

* THE NAG'S HEAD PUB, 1968

First salad bar in West Palm Beach, Fla. . . first $1.25 hamburger . . . martinis by the pound . . . four months before opening began selling engraved pewter mugs to prospective imbibers -- "The Pewter Mug of the Pub Society" -- at $15 each.

* THE KEY HOLE, 1969

To upgrade the clientele of existing bar, Romano padlocked the door and mailed free keys to a select list, then sold several thousand keys at $25 each . . . ladies' drinks 25? from 4 to 7 p.m.

* ROMANO'S 300, 1970

By night, expensive dinner restaurant, but private men's club by day . . . sold 300 preopening memberships at $100 annually . . . "I had $30,000 in the bank before I opened the doors."

. . . frequent luncheon guest speakers on: the care and smoking of a good cigar, transacting business with ladies of the night, picking pockets for profit . . . received Holiday magazine restaurant award -- "It's easy. You just give your friends the name and address of the food editor. Things don't happen by themselves."

* FRIENDS OF EDINBURGH EATING AND DRINKING SOCIETY, 1974

Scottish postmark on promotional material established the society's "authenticity" . . . members -- anyone consuming five or more Jolly Roger Muses, the $2.50 house drink -- got monthly European food recipe in the mail . . . menu prices jumped 25% when meat costs rose, but anyone producing an old menu could order at lower prices . . . "People kept them in their glove compartments.Tourists paid full price; everyone else felt like an insider."

* SHUCKERS A REAL SEAFOOD PLACE, 1974

"People climb into a cab and ask, 'Do you know where there's a real seafood place?"

* FIRST NATIONAL BAR AND GRILL, 1974

Located in office building with huge potential lunch crowd: "I didn't care what they ate or how much, but I wanted them in and out. So I charged them by the minute -- $3 for 30 minutes and 50? for every 10 minutes thereafter. They came, they ate, and they got out."

* PASTA PALACE, 1975

Art-deco movie house converted to dining . . . continuous showing of old movies . . . menu projected onto walls . . . pasta machines in lobby.

* SHUCKERS A REAL SEAFOOD PLACE, 1977

First Texas venture . . . repeat of earlier Shuckers.

* ENOCH'S, 1978

"All San Antonio had was big restaurants, the kind that seated 300 people at a time. It needed a small, good restaurant like you'd see in New York City." . . . charged $100 for a key . . . started with 25 people, got 10 names from each of them, then asked those 250 for 10 names each . . . "All of a sudden, I had started a little society of people who knew one another." . . . no menu . . . raw food was displayed on a tray brought to the table . . . no prices . . . "We'd tell them if they asked."

* BARCLAY'S, 1979

A backgammon club near Enoch's . . . $100 membership . . . "With more than 2,000 members, you get your money back inside a year."

* FUDDRUCKERS, 1980

Created for the person eating New York strips who wants to trade down . . . on the leading edge of upscale hamburger trend . . . puts customer in the middle of food preparation, from roll baking and beef grinding to grilling and self-service condiment bar . . . a bit like eating in your own backyard . . . winner of 1981, '82, '83, '84, and '85 Hamburger Appreciation Society of North America award for best hamburger . . . HASNA founder: Phil Romano.

* STIX EATING SPA, 1986

Joggers and aerobers -- and those who just talk about it -- can feel good about grazing healthy here . . . the help wears running shoes . . . the place is bright, the food is light, the price is right . . . chocolate-covered strawberry for dessert?

Last updated: May 1, 1986




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