photos by L.G. Patterson
Since opening in August of 2008, business has been booming at Room 38, says owner Billy Giordano. “Every year since we’ve opened we’ve grown, pretty substantially, especially over the past I’d say four years, it’s hit quite the spike.”
He says that as a result, the restaurant regularly has had to turn away a lot of customers. “Sometime’s on the weekends it can be a hundred or more people. When you’re turning away that many people, it’s time to make a change and get a little bigger.”
Giordano says that at one point in time, he looked to expand to the south, into the space occupied by Edward Jones, but that that didn’t pan out.
His solution was to add a patio instead.
The new patio will be located on Walnut Street, and the addition of a third door inside the restaurant will provide walkout access. It will be enclosed and covered by a clear plexiglass roof that will allow a lot of sunshine and natural light in, and it will be heated when needed. Giordano says the patio will resemble the interior but in an outdoor setting. It will feature smaller chairs and tables, framed in booths, and some bar height seating, and will add about 50 additional seats, bringing the total capacity to 150. If all goes as scheduled, the new patio will be open by this month or next.
That’s good news for patrons of the popular eatery, regardless of when they choose to come in.
“We do a lot of business in different day parts,” Giordano says. “Our tagline is Afternoon. After work. After dark.
“We serve lunch to a lot of professionals downtown. We have happy hour, dinner, the bar business and brunch.” The brunch business has been bustling since it was first offered two years ago. In addition, Room 38 does catering, and that business has been thriving as well.
“We’ve got a few contracts with people that we do weekly,” Giordano says.
Room 38 attracts customers of all ages. Many of the regular patrons are graduate professionals 24-35.
“We get a lot of college students, ‘cuz it is a college town. But we’ve also got retirees that come in and eat dinner with us twice a month.”
The menu is as varied as the diners. Room 38 serves burgers and sandwiches such as a Shrimp & Scallop Po’ Boy or Asiago Chicken Carbonara. It serves a variety of fresh salads, including an Asian Sesame salad and a Beef & Bleu. Sharing plates are also on the menu – items such as Jalepeño Crab Rangoon Sticks and Pretzel Bites.
“We make the bread for our Pretzel Bites fresh everyday,” Giordano says.
The restaurant also offers small plates, which include its top seller: “Since we’ve opened, lobster mac ‘n cheese has been the number one.”
Diners will soon be able to enjoy that decadent, creamy concoction — and the rest of Room 38’s wide menu — al fresco.