Our History

We've seen a lot in our time

Pictured: Azzalin Orlando Romano, former owner [and namesake] of Romano’s Hotel in Wagga Wagga. Photo via Lost Wagga Wagga on Facebook.

Located a stone’s throw from the Murrumbidgee River and in the heart of Wagga’s business district, we’re an icon in the city and wider Riverina region.

Romano’s has been a part of Wagga’s history since 1857. We’ve changed hands a few times since the early days, but we’re still known for our friendly staff and atmosphere which keep locals and visitors coming back.

Built as the Commercial in 1857, ours was one of the most substantial buildings in the Riverina at the time and still stands as an imposing landmark in the streetscape. In 1885, TS Bellair took over and we changed name to the Bellair Commercial. We were occupied by the RAAF during WWII and then purchased by Azzalin Orlando Romano in late 1945.

Azzalin Orlando Romano, a restaurateur, was born on 13 September 1894 at Padua, Italy. His early hospitality working life saw him work at hotels and restaurants in Nice, Monte Carlo, Paris, Berlin, Madrid and London. He rose through a pyramidal structure from receptionist to cook and from waiter to wine butler; he had learned to speak French, German, Spanish and English, in addition to his native Italian, and claimed to have served every king in Europe.

In his early twenties, while officiating as head waiter at London’s Ritz Hotel, he adopted Romano as his surname, reflecting his regard for one of the city’s most renowned restaurants.

In 1923, Romano come to Australia to run the luxurious Ambassadors restaurant in Pitt Street, Sydney. Four years later, Romano’s Restaurant opened in York Street and in 1946 he purchased and lavishly rebuilt the current Romano’s Hotel Wagga Wagga. Romano held onto the hotel for nearly 20 years before publicly offering it for sale.

Today, Romano’s Hotel is owned by a syndicate with strong ties to Wagga Wagga and the community.

If it’s our history you’re interested in, we often share historic photos on our social media so follow us on Facebook or Instagram to stay in touch. See a small gallery below, many of which come from our pals at Lost Wagga Wagga over on Facebook.