Operator’s pizza history in Perth

120-cover Italian restaurant to replace cocktail bar in city

Crolla oversees the installation of his new restaurant Roma’s pizza oven

A LISTED building in Perth city centre, which was once a bonded warehouse for Scotch whisky firm John Dewar & Sons, is to reopen as an Italian eatery after a £500,000 investment.

Roma, a 120-cover restaurant, is the brainchild of restaurateur Vito Crolla.

It occupies a unit on the city’s Speygate which was previously home to the Roca Blu cocktail bar for 15 years.

Crolla said the unit’s interior “instantly” struck him as ideal for the restaurant he envisaged.

“The amazing vaulted ceiling arches and original flagstones have a traditional Mediterranean feel to them and we knew it would be the perfect property for our restaurant,” he said.

Crolla’s father, Vito Crolla Snr,  established the family’s first restaurant in Edinburgh in the 1970s, serving celebrities such as Sir Sean Connery and Elizabeth Taylor.

“It’s in my DNA,” said Crolla.

“My dad would come home and tell us amazing stories about the famous people who had been at the original Vito’s restaurant. He would tease me by asking if I’d like to meet James Bond.

“Those memories are part of the reason why I am taking on this project in Perth.”

One of the first tests for the operator in the Fair City was the installation of a £25,000 two-ton wood stone pizza oven in the venue’s pillared basement.

He said: “We had to think long and hard but we got there in the end with the help of a massive crane and replacing the roof of the garden room at the rear.”