Labi Troni, founder, owner, and operator of Roma's Pizza and Pasta on 282 W. Central Ave. in Springboro, comes home from work each day feeling good, knowing that the food he makes with fresh, never-frozen, ingredients brings joy to his customers. “I love seeing people’s faces as they enjoy the food,” said Labi, who also feeds the community whenever he can. On two occasions since opening his business in 2020, he gave away 100 pizzas to first responders and fed 120 teachers during the holiday season. His father taught him that helping the community is part of running a strong business, and Labi plans to continue giving back.
Labi, born and raised in Kosovo, learned a lot from his father, who moved the family to West Palm Beach, FL, in 1998 and opened a restaurant he named Raised Pizza. Labi was 14 years old at the time and worked at the pizza shop when he wasn’t attending school. When he was 16, his father had a heart attack, and Labi decided to quit school to help run the restaurant. He figured he could always finish his education, but he might not always be able to help his father. Labi would go on to help run the business until the family relocated in 2005 to Kettering. His father opened another restaurant, Troni’s Italian Restaurant, and Labi worked with him for 15 years before branching out and opening his own restaurant.
Signing the lease for Roma's Pizza and Pasta in 2020 was a monumental step for Labi, and then one month later, Covid struck. “I started to freak out, seeing all the businesses closing down,” he said. “But opening a restaurant was my dream, so we opened and ended up being so busy we couldn’t keep up.”
A carry-out business model was perfect for the pandemic season. Folks were eager to try the new fare in the comfort of their homes, and Labi was happy to provide them with his homemade recipes, and for the past two years, he has stayed so busy that he sometimes has to close early. “On weekends, we often sell out early,” he said. “I make everything by hand. I make the dough and the sauce and cut up all the vegetables and make all the salads. Nothing I buy is frozen, and I make as much as I can in-house. When we run out, we are done for the day.”
The Roma's Pizza and Pasta menu includes cheese and specialty pizza, calzones and stromboli, pasta dishes like lasagna and stuffed shells, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, and desserts. Labi has a system of calling customers 10 minutes before their food comes out of the oven so that everyone gets a hot meal, and in addition to carrying out, guests can dine on an outdoor patio. Catering services are also available.
Labi works six days a week, taking Sundays off to be with his family, which includes his wife, Behrije Troni, who works at the restaurant on Saturdays, and two young daughters, Valza (9) and Sara (7). He also closes the shop for two weeks during the winter holidays and six weeks in the summer to go back home to Kosovo to see family. “You can’t just do one thing all the time,” he said. “You need to balance work and family.”
Labi’s father passed away last summer, and he is grateful for the opportunity he had to work alongside him to carry on his legacy as a restaurant owner. Labi’s brother, Nick, now runs Troni’s.
Roma's Pizza and Pasta
282 W. Central Ave.
Springboro, Ohio 45066
Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.