Romano’s reborn

HILTON local Lesley Pieper sold so many eco products online she decided to buy Romano’s Fine Foods and take her business to the next level.

“I was going very well, but I got to that point where I needed to expand,” she says.

For more than 30 years the Hilton grocery store on Lefroy Street has been selling produce from Italy, France, Spain and Germany.

It still stocks a vast range of continental foods, but last year Pieper introduced a range of locally-sourced foods that are additive free.

• Romanos’ big cheese Lesley Pieper (right) and Maree Scaturro get ready to slice up a monster auricchio. Photo Jenny D’Anger

“We are working with small, artisan producers,” she says.

The shop also sells a range of kitchen supplies made from cornstarch and bamboo, including bowls, containers, plates and cups.

They look like plastic and are dishwasher safe, but are guaranteed to degrade within two to three years in landfill..

Studies reveal that there are greater levels of microplastic in rivers and oceans than ever before, and that tiny bits are harmful to marine life which mistake them for food.

Recently UK scientists discovered that plastic waste—so small it’s invisible to the naked eye—can be ingested in drinking water.

Romano’s customers aren’t routinely handed plastic bags and are offered free, locally-made cloth boomerang bags instead.

“Put them in the car full; and next week get them out of the car empty,” Pieper laughs.

Romano’s is part of the small shopping centre on Lefroy Road, which doesn’t use recycling bins, and Pieper is hoping to convince centre management to become more green. The Hilton store still has a cold meat and cheese section, freshly made sandwiches and rolls, and awesome cakes.

Customers are welcome to bring their own containers or beeswax wraps. In the centre of the store is a cafe where you can enjoy Romano’s famous rolls, and their Croatian vanilla slices—which “are like biting into a cloud.”


Romano’s Fine Foods
115 Lefroy Road,

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