Roma's Pizza opened last week in the space previously occupied by El Rey and Bibas at the corner of Congress and Main. The restaurant serves pizza, pasta and subs, which will suit people looking for a bite either before or after a trip to the Original OKRA Charity Saloon, which is set to open any day across the street from the restaurant. The restaurant will also keep late hours; it's open until midnight on Thursday and 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. According to an employee, the chef comes to Roma's after a stint in the research kitchens of the Pappas organization.
Time will tell if Roma's can break the curse of its location, but there's enough good things happening in the north end of downtown these days to have reasons for optimism. In addition to the OKRA Saloon, food truck owner Joshua Martinez is opening another restaurant rumored to be close the Saloon. Press critic Katharine Shilcutt alluded to other bar concepts that are also coming to Main Street in a recent blog post. Taken together, it marks downtown revitalization as a theme of Houston's restaurant scene for 2013.