Another Delco Invention–the Stromboli, First Made in Essington by an Italian Immigrant

The Stromboli at Romano's in Essington. Image via Monica Herndon, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Delaware County can proudly lay claim to the invention of the Stromboli, specifically to Essington Pizzeria, writes Joseph A. Gambardello for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nazzareno (Nat) Romano was an Italian immigrant who opened Essington Pizzeria in 1944. He was trying to come up with new stuffed pizza dishes.

He stumbled on cotechino salami, cheese and peppers stuffed into an Italian bread dough pocket and baked, but the new dish lacked a name.

His son-in-law, Bill Schofield, came up with “Stromboli” after the movie of the same name and the extramarital affair that went with it. Star Ingrid Bergman shacked up with director Roberto Rossellini and became pregnant with a son.

The resulting scandal in 1950 called for film boycotts, and a denouncement on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Romano’s son, Pete Romano, Sr., was there at Essington Pizzeria in January 1950 when the Stromboli got its name.

“Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini are the reason,” he said. The first Strombolis, by the way, sold for 45 cents.

Airline crews staying near the pizzeria spread the Stromboli beyond Delco.

Essington is now Romano’s Pizzeria. It sells 25,000 to 30,000 Strombolis a year.

Read more about the Delco origin of the Stromboli here.

Editor’s Note: This post first appeared Jan. 25, 2020. 

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