Two cousins, both of Italian-Albanian descent, are opening an Italian restaurant in the Ward Hotel at 11 a.m. today.
The eatery, called Roma Ristorante Italiano, will serve authentic Italian foods and stone-baked pizza. It will be on the ground floor on the Main Street side of the Ward, across from Karisma.
Tony Avdiu, the chef, and Raffi Smajli, the manager, are very experienced restaurateurs. Their families own restaurants in several states. Avdiu is a part-owner of the Italian Garden Restaurants in Brookings and Watertown.
Smajli told me he has been in the restaurant business for 24 years and enjoys it.
Roma will serve traditional pasta dishes, such as lasagna, canneloni and fettuccine, as well as chicken Parmesan, eggplant Parmesan, chicken cacciatore, shrimp and many other dishes. The bread and pizza crust are baked fresh daily.
The Roma signature dish is veal, chicken and sausage, Smajli told me, and is amazing. Beer and wine are available.
Roma replaces Alonzo's Italian American restaurant.
Hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Roma is closed on Sunday.
The phone number is 605-725-5757.
The final countdown can begin for the opening of the new Cherry Berry Frozen Yogurt shop on Sixth Avenue Southeast across from Kessler's.
The signs are up, the interior remodeling is complete and the final shipment of equipment is expected to arrive Tuesday, Ken Peterson, Cherry Berry representative for South Dakota, told me.
It is likely the shop will be open Wednesday, he said.
I will keeping checking the status and put a story online and in the newspaper as soon as I know. Those who follow Twitter can check @Business_AAN.
I have heard many people say they are very interested to see how Cherry Berry compares with Orange Leaf, the frozen yogurt shop that opened in Aberdeen a couple of months ago. Orange Leaf has done well, from what I hear.
Cherry Berry has more than 50 premium yogurt flavors offered on a rotating basis and more than 50 toppings. Customers serve themselves and then pay for their dish of yogurt by weight. The company's slogan is "Best on the Planet."
Homes Are Possible Inc., a nonprofit group which increases affordable housing option, has now built 100 homes. HAPI installed its first house, a Governor's Home, in 2003. Since then, it has gone on to build its own two- and three-bedroom homes. It makes owning a new home possible for many people who could not afford it.
I talked with Jeff Mitchell, executive director, who said HAPI is building six homes and, when he got to counting, he realized they would push HAPI up to 102 homes.
"We just decided to arbitrarily pick one to be our 100th," he said. "And we will celebrate that one with an open house."
The event will be at that home 114 16th Ave. S.W. from 2 to 4 p.m. March 1.
HAPI has been a great addition to Aberdeen and northeast South Dakota, adding houses to a tight housing market and boosting economic development. Not only has it helped the construction industry, but it helps banking and other segments of the economy. Hats off to HAPI.
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