Roberto Petruzzi has dreamed of opening an Italian café for years—having grown up in Rome, he always felt he had a lot to offer Santa Cruz diners. Along with his wife and children, he made that dream a reality on Jan. 2 of this year in the former location of D’Anna’s Deli. The café is open for breakfast and lunch, and includes a variety of offerings: sandwiches, pizza, pasta, pastries, frittatas. But as Petruzzi explained to us, their menu is a work in progress.
Growing up, your family owned a café in Rome. How is this Café aRoma shaped by that?
In the beginning, with the food, with the drinks, I made it like the way I grew up. I’ve been here 32 years. I’ve gotten to know the way people eat here for a long time, what they want. I like the way they eat, too. So now I try to make it the way they like, and the way I grew up. My focaccia where I grew up, we warmed the bread, then we’d press it a little bit. It wasn’t crispy. Now after a month and a half, they wanted it their way, crispy. I liked the way they wanted it. I do it the way they want it. Now I use American cheeses, Italian cheeses, American sausage, Italian sausage. I use all kinds of food.
What about the drinks?
The drinks are a little bit of a challenge for me because when I was doing it in Italy, we didn’t have many choices. We had the basics, like the cappuccino, café latte, café macchiato, espresso, cioccolato. Here you’re doing the mocha, the double latte, the white chocolate, the chai. There’s a lot to remember. I’m getting my coffee from Danesi. It’s good coffee.
What are your breakfast options?
We have sandwiches, burritos, pizza, everything from pastries to cookies. We have focaccia bread if you want it already made in the morning, pizza if you want it. We make basically everything in the morning. If you want a burrito, the one with the sausage, we make it. We are not open for dinner. We want to open for dinner later. We don’t have the right things yet. We want to do it in May, June, you know, summertime. We have a nice patio. It’s a nice outdoor thing. We still need a drinking license for the beer and the wine, then it will be ready. We will add some fish, some meat.
2841 Porter St., Suite B, Soquel, 475-1436, cafearoma.it.