600 South 3rd Street
Southeast Corner of South 3rd Street and Royden Street

When the 1931 Camden City Directory was published, Joseph Griffo was operating a cafe at 600 South 3rd Street. Bert Bottura was running the bar in the mid 1930s; he would go on to operate the Pine Grill at 720 South 5th Street in the early 1940s. 

By 1939 Antonio Cerasaro had acquired the property, and was running the bar, which was by the known as the Roma Cafe. The 1947 Camden City Directory shows that Antonio Cerasaro was still the proprietor, living on premises with his wife Angeline,  and that Americo Cerasaro lived and worked their as a bartender. The Roma Cafe appears in the 1964 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory, and was still open as late as 1965, but is not listed in the 1966 edition. After a police raid in the mid-1960s, the phones were removed. Americo Cerasaro applied for a renewal of the  liquor license in June of 1967, so the bar appears to have remained open. By 1970 Americo Cerasaro, better known as Reds, Had closed the bar, and gone in partnership with John Meloni in a bar called RJ Lounge at 524 West Street, which had previously housed a social club, the Union of Brotherly Love Camp Walt Whitman No. 1.  

Americo Cerasaro passed away in August of 1974 at the age of 50.

The Roma Cafe stands boarded up and vacant in November of 2003. 

Camden Courier-Post

October 28, 1936

The Roma Cafe....I remember the owner "Reds" He was a friend of my fathers...I used to call him Uncle Reds...When my father had his barbers shop on 3rd Street near Berkley...Uncle Reds had a small shop across the street next to or near to Tedeschi & Son Grocery. I remember well that grocery as well... had bins outside filled with eels during Easter this was in the 40's...any way....don't know when he bought or took over the Roma... but remember that on many a week end the my father and friends from the neighborhood would all get together there....and most of these guys called it "Reds" as I remember not the Roma, probably because they all grew up with Reds. Anyway they would get together, and cook up a week-end meal. I was young then but remember the guys cooking sauce and crabs and can still smell the place.

Benedict Tisa
April 2005

Camden Courier-Post - December 11, 1957


Convention Hall Roma Cafe
Willard C. Schriver Gustav Koerner
Anthony Skolski Sgt. Ray Smith
Anthony Marino Joseph Mardino
Ernie Santaniello Art Sharp
Andy Fanelli Nick Tedeschi
Anthony Galiozzi Anthony Moffa
George McKenzie Charles Kocher
Mario Ferrari Peter Paull
Edward Yeager Walter Busko
Thomas Kelly Douglas Holmes
Frank H. Ryan Royden Street

Camden Local 35,
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association

April 20, 1959 Banquet Program Advertisement

Veteran's Boxing Association Ring No. 6

Roma Cafe at 600 South 3rd Street - November 9, 2003

Roma Cafe
600 South 3rd Street

November 9, 2003

Click on image to Enlarge

My mother was raised on Royden Street just a block away from the Roma Bar that her aunt and uncle owned. My step grandfather, Luigi Celani married my grandmother Maria Evangelisti after my grandfather died. The Roma Bar on Royden Street was owned by my grandfather's sister and husband, Antonio and Angeline Cerasaro. I recently returned from Italy where I had a visit with a second cousin that lived in the U.S. for a time and remembered the bar. Your website was very helpful in verifying our relationship because we had a Blackberry with us and we were able to show him pictures of the bar, which helped refresh his memory.

Bob Elton
June, 2008

Drink Up!
The Bars, Taverns, and Clubs of Camden