I should have realized, the last three or four times I got pizza for take out, the always present Manuela was not in the kitchen sporting her ubiquitous pink baseball cap. Still, the pizza was as good as always, so I assumed that I was picking up on nights she wasn't there.
The other night, though, my friend Allen suggested Italian for dinner and Romeo's is always my first choice for that. Our server was one I didn't know. He answered my question about Manuela not being in the kitchen with 'Oh, you didn't know? They sold the restaurant a couple of months back.' This was before our entrees arrived, and I said the pizza was just as good. He told us that Manuela and Lino sold the recipes along with the restaurant, so we should expect the same quality food.
He was right. My favorite, Penne alla Russa, was just as creamy as always, the garlic knots left me wanting to lick the plate, and I ordered some desserts to go, just to be sure. As I'd mentioned in my review last year, Manuela could have opened a bakery with her deft hand and NY bakery quality desserts.
Tonight, I had the Lemoncello cake and Ed had one of his favorite jam tarts. They were good.
While I'm bummed that we didn't get to wish these fine people goodbye, I'm glad that the new owners took the quality of the food and the importance of those recipes to the success of the restaurant to heart-and bought them with the name.
Wherever you are, Manuela and Lino, grazi. I hope you enjoy your travels and your return to Italy.