Restaurateur James Jones hopes offers welcoming decor, fine wines and authentic Italian dishes at his new eatery, Romanza of the Vine.
By Jeremy Dunn
For 12 years, James Jones traveled around to fairs, festivals and trade shows representing Dish Network and DIRECTV. Now, he has transitioned from selling satellite dishes to serving up Italian dishes.
“At these fairs, I was always looking to see who was making money, and it was always food,” Jones said.
This realization inspired him to purchase a small food trailer with a dream to serve hibachi-style food. But his next observation led to another new direction.
“I was at another fair and saw a lady selling beer and wine. I watched her for a few minutes, and the concept was 10 times easier,” Jones said. “So I turned my trailer into that.
Jones’ Winecream truck was the result. Next, the former Wanamaker firefighter and longtime Franklin Township resident began looking to ways to use the truck during winter downtimes. While preparing to take the operation to a local mall, Jones noticed a for-lease sign.
Enter: Romanza of the Vine.
Jones, who is half-Irish and half-Italian, loves wine and Italian cuisine. His restaurant gives him the opportunity to create an authentic – and romantic – experience for diners. At Romanza of the Vine, he takes pride in using natural spices, homemade sauces and diverse wines to please every palate. The restaurant will source wines from a wide variety of producers.
“I want to keep things as authentic as I can. If you want real ingredients and spices, then I am the place for that,” he said.
Jones hopes customers will enjoy much more than the food.
“The niche here is to bring back ‘date night,’” he said. “I want people to feel comfortable and at home here.”
Romanza of the Vine hopes that the candlelight decor, live jazz music and lounge area will inspire every guest to relax, unwind and enjoy the atmosphere throughout their dining experience.
Jones also wants to incorporate his wine truck into Romanza of the Vine through delivery, catering and appearances at local festivals and fairs. In every venture, Jones said, “I am that guy who wants to be out of the norm, think outside of the box and bring that ‘wow’ factor.’”
Romanza of the Vine
8810 Southeastern Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46239
Monday – Friday 4:30 – 9 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 4:30 – 9 p.m.
Phone: (317) 970-0205
Why did you open Romanza of the Vine? I would love to see Wanamaker grow. I’m from Franklin Township and want to give more back to the township.
What did you do to prepare for opening your business? I’m kind of the collector. If I see a vision, I start collecting those items. I would buy tables here and chairs there, decor here, decor there. When I saw the for-lease sign, it finally gave me my opportunity.
Who is your ideal customer? Ideally, everybody. The word ‘romanza’ is actually Italian for romance. I believe that romance is for everyone.
How do you plan to be successful? To provide fantastic service. Obviously, also to have great food. When we create sauces and menu items, I want customers to bite into it and experience that ‘wow’ factor.
What would surprise us about your restaurant? Being a male, I do hear quite a bit that people are surprised that I decorated [the restaurant]. When I first came in here, all that was in here was really old carpet from a little aerobics place before. I tore it up. Everything you see painted from wall to wall to every little thing is work I’ve done.