Meg and Joe Romano met working at Aureole, the New York theater district restaurant emphasizing locally sourced, seasonal foods. From there, they opened a one-of-a-kind Aureole in Las Vegas, which Meg describes as a monumental adventure—the restaurant had a four-story wine tower with Cirque-du-Soleil-trained wine angels who retrieved bottles for guests. After seventeen years in Vegas, where Meg also opened her award-winning bakery Chocolate & Spice, the Romanos decided to move so they could build their work life in a place where their three kids could thrive.
Four years ago, they came to Bozeman. Now they’re chef-owners of Urban Kitchen, Salted Caramel Café, and Nina’s Tacos & Tequila, and they manage the food and beverage program for the Bacchus Pub.
Edible Bozeman: Do your kids help out at the restaurants?
Meg: They all work here, and each kid has a specialty. Will is eighteen years old. He’s a line cook and makes a great steak. Nina, sixteen, makes beautiful ricotta ravioli. Franky, twelve, likes making meatballs and bossing people around.
EB: What do good restaurants bring to a community like Bozeman?
Joe: Good restaurants add diversity. The food and beverage industry for downtown Bozeman is the leading source of careers and jobs. Talented people doing consistently good food elevates the whole culinary scene.
EB: Which local farmers do you work with?
Joe: Doing one thing really well is a dying art form. So many local producers are nailing it. We’ve loved the process of educating ourselves alongside producers, and working with them to create dishes from as many sustainable, local ingredients as possible.
Two of my favorites on our Urban Kitchen menu: the NY strip steak, from Stevenson’s ranch. They provide us with excellent grain-finished Black Angus cattle. Also, the incredibly flavorful pork chop, from Olive Branch.
Our greens, like the Bibb lettuce, and Romaine, all come from Streamline. We also use Amaltheia Organic Dairy, Bryan Leep at Plate and Pantry, Kokoro Flowers, and RamsHead Coffee. Daniel’s Gourmet Meats and Sausages does a custom brat we use. The list goes on.
EB: What’s your favorite aspect of raising a family here?
Joe: Bozeman is safer than Vegas, so our kids can be more independent. We fish, camp, bike, ski. We don’t have to take half a day to get outside anymore, so we’re able to balance work and play as a family.
Meg: How easy it is to go hiking near Hyalite or Cottonwood, or skiing in the winter at Bridger or Crosscut. We love that Bozeman is a conscious, thoughtful community. These past four years have been a fun adventure, and we’re here to stay.