Trombino’s has been the standard of Italian cooking in Albuquerque for many years. It consistently lives up to its reputation as a reliable family trattoria. The menu offers the traditional dishes including lasagna, eggplant Parmigiana and ravioli, but it also offers some more innovative options including chicken cooked under a brick---a moist, flavorful, herb-crusted chicken breast that has been simultaneously browned and flattened by a hot weight. The menu offers plenty of fresh fish daily (one of the city’s best seafood shops is right next door). On one occasion, a grouper filet coated in Parmesan cheese was superb. Another perennial favorite is the homemade Italian sausage served with roasted red peppers and potatoes. If possible, save room for the tiramisu for dessert.
The Trombino family wanted to do something really special when they decided to open a restaurant. It was a family venture right from the beginning and when you combine the talents and passions of members of an entire family, something magical begins to happen.
The Trombino’s have always been a close knit family. Through thick and thin, they’ve always looked out for one another, so it would be impossible for them to start something has important as a restaurant without including family members.
The loyalty to family stretches all the way back to before World War II, when the first of the Trombino family came from Italy to America. Luigi Trombino set foot upon American shores in the early 1930s, having come all the way from Calabria, Italy. He came to America seeking more opportunities and a better life for his family. He had been a tailor in Italy, but immigrated to Chicago without much but a willingness to work hard and a dream for a better future. He became a ditch digger to earn enough money to eventually send for his son, Dominic, to follow him.
But once Dominic arrived, tragedy struck. Luigi, who had always been distrustful of banks, was in the habit of sewing money into his clothes for safekeeping. One day as he walked through a wooded area, he was attacked and murdered for the money hidden in his clothes. Dominic Trombino swore that he would catch his father’s killer, even if it meant chasing him to the ends of the earth.
The chase led Dominic back to Italy, where the prime suspect, his father’s Italian roommate, had gone shortly after the murder. Dominic joined Italy’s elite national police force and worked his way up through the ranks, his sole goal to catch the man that had taken his father from him. Eventually, he caught his father’s killer and was able to bring him to justice by testifying at his trail. With is sworn debt to his father paid, Dominic left Italy to return to Chicago to put this painful chapter of family history behind him and start anew.
Eventually Dominic’s three children were able to join him and here begins the tale of the Trombino’s entrepreneurial spirit in the food and restaurant business.
Dominic’s son Mario worked in a grocery store in 1946 after he had a brief stint with the military. He and a fellow grocery store employee got together and decided to open up a business of their own. And from there, M&M Food Mart was born. Through 20 years of hard work and diligence, M&M eventually grew to include three grocery stores and delis throughout the Chicago area.
As the 20 years past, Mario met and married the love of his live, his wife Violet. Together they had a son they named Ray. When Ray was 18 and decided to join the military, Mario and Violet also decided they were ready for a new set of scenery. After visiting some relatives in Albuquerque, they decided that New Mexico was indeed the "Land of Enchantment." So in 1966 they moved away from Chicago began a new chapter of their lives in the southwest.
After their arrival to Albuquerque, Mario and Violet opened up a new business, "Trombino’s Hamburgers." The restaurant quickly prospered with its simple menu of burgers sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, and more. The food became so renowned that on occasion Mario would have to lock the doors of his restaurant to keep the line of customers out until he was ready to serve them!
Mario and Violet Trombino continued off and on in the restaurant business until 1978. It was then that they decided they wanted to build their own restaurant "from the ground up." By this time, their son Ray had finished his tour with the military and had returned to Chicago where he found work in corporate America. Since Mario and Violet wanted to embark on such an ambitious venture, they decided the more Trombino family involved, the better. Ray and his wife Kathy moved to Albuquerque and helped his parents establish "Trombino’s Restaurant: Italian Menu and Food from the Sea."
The first few years for the restaurant were really tough. Because the Trombino’s could not obtain a liquor license right away, they decided to concentrate on providing customers with the best food they possibly could.
Ray hit the Italian cookbooks as well as his family history and recipes, pulling together a menu that reflected old-style Italian food from various regions of Italy. From the start, Ray’s philosophy was to provide large portions of the best food possible.
This food included recipes from far and wide in the Trombino’s family. And most important of all, all the food was to be made from scratch, from an aunt’s bread recipe to another member’s recipe for tomato sauce.
Ray’s hard work paid off, for before they could even get a liquor license the customers were hooked on the fresh taste and unique attitude of Trombino’s restaurant. But the Trombino family didn’t stop there.
In 1990, Ray changed the restaurant’s name to Trattoria Trombino in a desire to reflect the Trombino’s family commitment to traditional Italian fare. In Italy, trattorias are causal, family-owned and operated restaurants. Ray wanted to be sure New Mexicans perceived the dedication the Trombino’s family had to maintaining the uniqueness of their restaurant in this way. He wanted his fellow neighbors and customers to view his family’s traditional food like they viewed their own. He wanted tomato sauce and pasta to be in the same league and chile, beans, and rice.
Today, Trattoria Trombino’s menu reflects the Trombino’s family commitment to old-style Italian cooking and family values. The menu provides large portions of traditional pasta dishes as well as a wealth of other dishes ranging from Veal Parmigiana to Yellow Fin Tuna. And to keep the tradition alive, Ray is teaching his daughter, Suzanne the ins and outs of the restaurant business.
As Ray and many other members of the Trombino’s family have learned, when you combine the talents and passions of an entire family, something special is bound to happen! So come and enjoy the magic of what three generations of Trombino’s have produced!