The three married daughters of Rosina and John Gelormini were Carmel Sacco, Mary D'Addario and Rose Wadanole. Long-time Syracuse columnist Mario Rossi noted in 1983 that when Caroma opened -- coinciding with Pearl Harbor -- the main item was a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs that cost 30 cents.
You won't find Rossi's old column on Google. But NEHDA's Alberta DeStefano sent me to local attorney Frank D'Addario, a nephew of Mary, who sent me to Rose's daughter, Rosemarie "Ro" Weatherup. She was five when Caroma opened and she later worked as the hostess. On New Year's Eve morning, we sat down to talk and she shared her collection of photos and clippings. Reviews and columns through the years have used terms like "blessed" and "flawless." In a 1977 issue of "Syracuse Guide," Don Federman caught some of the ambiance when he observed about ethnic family restaurants, "My first criterion of excellence is the noise level [In] my favorite family Italian restaurant, naturally, the noise level [is] never less than a mild din."
"It opened first in one side of the building and then expanded," Rosemarie explained. "My mother and Carmel would take your order, cook it and bring it back to you. It was a three-girl operation. We were closed on Sundays -- my father said that was for church and family -- except later we decided to try Mother's Day. But that weekend the Pompeian Players always had a show, so Saturday night they'd come in late -- they'd promise not to stay long, but they'd get to singing ."
Rosemarie laughed and shook her head.
Eventually Caroma employed husbands and cousins and kids: besides Rosemarie, her brother Ted and her uncle Mike Gelormini as bartenders, her cousin Connie Mazella and Connie's brother Nick Colaneri (also known from his community theater roles with the Pompeiian Players), Carmel's husband Jimmy and their son John Sacco, now an anestheologist, Mary's husband, Peter (Sonny) D'Addario and their son John, also a doctor, Sam Nappi and his cousin Tony, the sisters' cousin Dolly Gelormini. There were two other Gelormini sisters -- Anna Mazella (who helped in the kitchen) and Rachel (who was occupied with her husband's business, the Eastwood Sports Center). Rose's husband Ted also worked there part-time, Rosemarie recalled.