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Rromani Mexeli
Little Tzigania - Gypsy Restaurant

Proposal / Business Plan -

Gypsy Music

Gypsy Dress and StyleGypsy FashionGypsy MusicGypsy Music and Dance

Gypsy Fire

Gypsy Blacksmith

Gypsy cooking

warm Cozanac


The term “Gypsy” immediately catches attention while simultaneously stirring imaginations...  It’s a term connected to a nomadic people as well as an unconventional lifestyle, freedom, flamboyancy, music, sex-appeal and mysticism. It is the origins of Bohemianism and today’s Boho fashion – and which are all aspects of the ethnic people and our restaurant


All this notoriety the "Gypsies" - from classic literature to Hollywood to the music industry, across borders to the adjective meaning of the word appearing on tattoos and storefronts across the nation and yet still there doesn’t exist a Gypsy restaurant. New York – capital of the world – offers ethnic dining experiences out of every corner of the globe yet not a single Gypsy/Roma restaurant. It’s not only New York, the entire world is lacking  this exotic culinary feature.

Contact Information
Chuck Todaro
New York - Romania  
Phone: New York: (914) 725-3686
Phone: Romania: (40) 758 55 66  70

Skype: ChuckTodaro


  • Who are the Gypsy People / Cuisine
  • What is the Gypsy Restauramt
  • An Easy Start Up
  • About Menu / Menu
  • Rromani Mexeli Atmosphere
  • About Managemnet: Chuck Todaro and Tzigania Project
  • Nuts and Bolts: The Investment


    The Roma people are Europe’s largest minority estimated between ten and twelve million with approximately two million in North and South America. Their journey out of India began 1000 years ago across the volatile Middle East into Greek-speaking Byzantium (12th c.) – over the Bosporus onto the Balkan Peninsula (14th c.) and finally Western Europe (15th c.). They arrived in the Americas in the 17th c. as part of the slave community  


They are commonly associated with the Jewish people as one of the world’s most persecuted races. Their continuous journey has been in search of sustenance, occupation, escaping wars and other hardships, pogroms and numerous genocides that have followed them across the globe


Ask a Gypsy what is Roma cuisine and the common reply, following a thoughtful pause, “mas” – which means meat in the Gypsy-tongue.

Meat is the Gypsy staple like pasta is to Italians and rice is to Asians.  Some go as far as saying, “meat is the Gypsy vegetable,” and which rings of other nomadic groups like the proud Tatar who similarly claim, “the right of the Tatar is meat and rakia”.  There are theories that Roma spread towards Europe aligned to the Tatars military units and which perhaps molded their compulsion for red meat because it certainly didn’t come from their Hindu Indian origins where the cuisine leans towards vegetarianism.  Yet that is what Roma culture and its cuisine is all about.  The gypsy-way is an amalgamation of numerous cultures acquired over 4000 miles and 1000 years of movement.

Romani cooking, like the music, differs from place to place. Roma cuisine depends upon local ingredients, tastes and social circumstances. It follows local diets yet made with its own distinctly unique Romani flavor. Romani cooking is an amalgamation of the different style, flavors, tastes and ingredients of the various regions spreading India to Western Europe.  Gypsy food is Balkan, Spanish, France, Italian, Middle Eastern dishes prepared in a unique Romani style and flavor.

Nomadism, Poverty and Scavenging – are three Romani characteristics that helped forge their cuisine

Their landless status resulted in a hunter - gatherer lifestyle. While Europeans cultivated the valleys the Gypsies foraged the hills, forests and riverbanks in search of their daily bread. The Roma meal is sometimes categorized as “peasant food”. Many of their traditional dishes are simply re-inventions of popular peasant dishes that have since gone out of style amongst the majority while remaining a staple in the religiously traditional Gypsy community.

The Gypsy – African American cultural association continues in the cuisine. African-American “soul food” is similar in many ways to Gypsy food in that it “feed the spirit as well as the body”; its “comfort food” and that means it focuses on taste.


Gypsy Witch

Gypsy Bread Koka

What is the Gypsy Restaurant

Gypsy Atmosphere

Male staff uniform

Romani Mexeli Restaurant is a combination of ethnic dishes from Gypsy cultures across the Globe: India – Middle-East – Eastern, Western and Mediterranean Europe.  Yet this unique setting is more than simply exotic food, as well as a combination of a flamboyant atmosphere – Gypsy style – and entertainment.


“Romani Mexeli, Little Tzigania” is fully authentic Romani cuisine and atmosphere. Cross over our threshold and you enter another world full-of-life, color and style

 This restaurant doesn’t need to be a large and expansive location. Quite the contrary, a successful Romani Mexeli Restaurant can be a small, cozy location with an unobtrusive, humble exterior that inside transforms into a living, breathing Matisse: full of movement, sound and color.


The various styles of Gypsy music fill the room. Gypsy music is European “soul music” and has heavily influenced European musical styles just as Africa-American music influenced the popular American music scene.


 Atmosphere is an explosive array of Gypsy colors (bright blue and green, yellow, orange, pink and red).  Flowery Gypsy materials drapes windows and doorways. A display of tall and colorful artificial flowers stand alongside traditional Gypsy arts and crafts: baskets, metal work of various forms, wood carvings, etc… Wall art includes old and new photographs, paintings and framed posters depicting various historical Gypsy scenes.

Staff Uniform

 Restaurant staff dress in worker-friendly traditional Roma clothing that is comfortably loose and heavily pocketed.

Female Dress

  • Long colorful pleated Roma dress with apron
  • Flamboyant blouse with plenty of bling
  • Head covering in colorful scarf or red ribbon ponytails
  • May also include contrasting leather Roma vest (heavily pocketed: useful in carrying notepads and more)

                                                        Male Dress

  • Gypsy hat (not required)
  •  Red shirt
  •  Leather Roma vest (with pockets)
  •  Pinstriped black Roma pantsLoose and baggy. Turkish style

Gypsy Cooking

Female Staff uniform

                   Gypsy Style and Decor 


gypsy atmosphereGypsy atmosphereGypsy atmosphere
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gypsy atmosphere

Gypsy Carmen Dance

Gypsy shatra


Any existing restaurant location can be easily turned over into the “Romani Mexeli, Little Tzigania” and without a large investment.  Investment is minimal. All décor has been obtained or easily obtainable. 

Size doesn’t matter

Romani Mexeli Restaurant – doesn’t need to be a large and expansive location. Quite the contrary, a successful Romani Mexeli Restaurant can be a small cozy location with an unobtrusive, humble exterior that once crossing over the threshold transforms into a magnificent “Matisse” of movement and colors combined with rhythms of soulful Gypsy music.

Low daily Expenses

Daily expenses are minimal. Gypsy food does not consist of elaborate ingredients requiring expensive imports but rather a combination of common ingredients heavily spiced. “Romani Mexeli is a trattoria style restaurant (the Gypsy kitchen) that offers “home cooked” type meals. Our dishes are more about quality and taste rather than a fancy presentation. 


Romani Mexeli, Little Tzigania Restaurant succeeds because of its exclusivity combined with name recognition that brings a steady flow of curious clients including that everyday client “wanting to try something different”. It also attracts the media and food critics bringing immediate publicity. The foundation is solid. Success excels so long as good management is in place and therefore food and services meets the public’s expectations.

The potential for expansion and chain effect is highly possible due to its name recognition, exclusivity and authenticity.

Gypsy mysticism



 Roma cuisine is amalgamation of numerous styles and tastes acquired over 4000 miles and 1000 years of movement that includes a variety of dishes influenced by cuisines of India – Middle East, Turkey, Balkan, Spanish, France, Italian,

The menu offers dishes belonging to various Gypsy groups beginiung with the Gypsies’ nomadic ancestors the Domba of India, the Dom people of the Middle-East, various dishes of the Gitanos of Spain, Italian Gypsies, and various Balkan groups. It also offers unique styles of different tribes including the nomadic Roma, House Gypsy caste and highly organic dishes of the “Khashtalo” (Forest Gypsies).

Indian GypsyGypsy ethnic cortarari

Gypsy ethnic horohaniForest Gypsy
Indian Gypsy Tent Gypsy Turkish Gypsy (Horohani) Forest Gypsy

Roma Wheel

Romani Mexeli

Little Tzigania Restaurant

"bring out the Gypsy in you"



Shak te mas


"Shak Te Mas" 

 Baby back ribs (pork) sautéed with cabbage and other vegetables 

 Nomadic Roma


Goulash din tigan  (Gypsy Goulash)

Spicy dish of meat stewed with potato, tomato and other vegetables        

 Meat: pork or chicken or beef or our special mixed meat gulash

    Carpathian Roma

Bacoli Rrom (poor man’s stew)

Sautéed snails with tomato, pepper, onion, garlic, potato and herbs

Balkan Roma

grilled meats

Traditional Wedding Feasts

Grilled meat platter (beef, pork, chicken, rabbit and two types of sausage).

Balkan Roma

grilled rabbit

Grilled Rabbit

Free Range Rabbit served with pepper, tomato, onion and carrots

Balkan Roma

Khani Zsap Zsap (stolen chicken)

Broiled free range chicken served with sautéed vegetables (pepper, tomato, onion, carrots)

Balkan Roma


Strips of pork cooked into a stew of cabbage and other vegetables

Balkan Roma

Chicken Tocaneetsa


Chicken sautéed in thick sauce of onion, garlic and tomato.

Balkan Roma

Fasule Mas

Beans puree with sliced pork sausage

Balkan Roma

Sonko Frujansa

Tomato based casserole with chunks of ham, peppers and beans



Scrambled eggs with bits of fried meat, potato and herbs

tocaneetsa mushrooms

Tocaneetza of the forest

Mushrooms, tomato, peppers, onion, garlic and other vegetables sautéed into a thick sauce

Forest Gypsy

Dishes of the Dom People (Mid-Eastern Gypsy Cuisine)



Casserole blending chop meat, eggplant, egg and tomato

European Roma Cuisine (Sinti Nation)

Sinti are the Roma people arriving in Germany, France and Italy as early as 14th century.

Eggplant Rollitini alla Zingaro

Eggplant roll into a large roll filled with chopped meat, greens, and cheese.

Gypsy Rabbit stew

Chunks of rabbit meat and offal combined with ham or bacon, chicken, onion and mushrooms

Gitanos (Spanish Gypsies)

Calamares a la Gitanos

Fried squid. Spicy


Fried fish: shrimp, squid, mackerel, flat fish and ham

Paella a la Gitanos

Cuisines of the Nomadic Domba of India

Chicken Korma

 Spicy stew consisting of chicken and rice with yogurt, cream and nuts


Chicken Biryani

 Spicy dish of rice and chicken

Lamb Biryani

 Spicy dish of rice and lamb 


Spinach Biryani

 Chopped spinach sautéed with egg, rice and spices


Vegetable Biryani

 Special rice blend cooked with fresh garden vegetables

Appetizers – Side Dishes and Soups

water buffalo cheese

Spoitori Tribe Water buffalo cheese platter

Thick slices of creamy buffalo cheese served with tomato and herbs    

Balkan Roma

mamaliga cheese sausage

Mamaliga and cheese

Steamy corn bread layered with melted cheese

Balkan Roma

Pickled platter

Pickled Cucumber, green tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage

Balkan Roma

The Roma Flag

Stew of grilled vegetables: eggplant, tomato, potato, cucumber,  


Balkan Roma

Potato and SausagePotato and Sausage
Balkan Roma

Paneer Pakora

Spicy cheese cubes battered then fried

Domba, Indian Gypsies

Sautéed Spinach of the Forest

Nettles sautéed with onion, garlic, slivers of ham

Forest Gypsies, Balkan Roma


Gypsy Fish soup

Various fishes swimming in thick, steamy, spicy broth.



Thick, spicy stew of chicken and root vegetables: carrot, potato, onion

Balkan Roma


Salad of the forest

Blends of Forest greens and herbs, nuts and berries


shopska salad


Shredded green cabbage with carrot, tomato, 
cucumber topped withgrated white cheese

Bulgarian Roma

Salata de Sfeckla (Spicy beat salad)

Specially prepared beat, shredded, mixed with natural, yet spicy

horseradish root

Balkan Roma


Bread is an important component to the Roma meal. 
The bread choices vary between regions and tribes

Horohane Turkish Bread
Thin, unleavened bread

Domba Indian cracker bread
Served with chopped onions, pepper and tomato dip

“Koka”: Bread of the Forest Gypsies
 Freshly made, thick, unleavened bread 
(cooked fresh in our own  kitchen)

Transylvanian bread
 Round, crusted bread. Baked in brick oven


arm of the gypsy

Brazo de Gitanos (Gypsy arm)

Spongy cake roll with cream and jam filling, covered in melted


Gitanos, Spanish Gypsies


 Dessert bread with crushed walnut filling

  Balkan Roma (Ursari tribe)



 Crepe with jam or sweet cheese filling. Covered in syrupy Sause.

  Balkan Roma


Gypsy Cake

 Layer Cake with creamy vanilla and chocolate filling

  Balkan Roma


Golden Tzuika

 Plum brandy with various Forest Fruit flavors

  Balkan Roma


Romani Caji

 Tea drank with peaches or strawberries

  Sinti Roma


Sparkling water flavored with pine syrup

  Forest Gypsies


Other Drinks From the Bar

Love Potion


Bringing out the Gypsy in You

Gypsy Tramp and Thieves

Gypsy Rose

The Carmen

* NOTE to reader: the menu is a “work in progress”.

We are in the process of collecting an extensive selection of Roma dishes and their recipes for publication in our Roma/Gypsy cookbook title Rromani Mexeli (The Gypsy Table) - and for that reason not all available dishes are being shown

Roma Gypsy style

Gypsy Music


The Décor

The restaurant displays Gypsy décor - but what is Gypsy décor? 
Gypsy décor is a combination of cheerful colors and movement combined with mystical, arabesque ornamentation.  

 Gypsy décor cannot be found in any books.  The style of our restaurant comes directly from the household décor of the Gypsy people. The walls of the restaurant mirror the Gypsy house with walls of Gypsy blue or bright green, flowery orange, sunny yellow, pink, red and/or combination

Color psychology has been proven to impact people’s moods. Warm colors: red, orange and blue raise people’s hopes, good cheer and subsequent appetites. People may come into Rromani Mexeli feeling tired after a hard day’s work, down on life and feeling a bit blue - yet once inside one can’t escape the immediate blast of good atmospheric cheer


  The Ambience

A combination of activity, sound  and color are the three elements that constitute the Rromani Mexeli ambience. Tzigania is a place of sounds. Music goes hand in hand with the Rromani Mexeli dining experience. While live Gypsy music would be an attractive feature  – the musical atmosphere can be achieved through recorded music. Nevertheless, Gypsy music serenades our diners through a variety of musical styles.



 We propose that the Rromani Mexeli restaurant of the future (once established) supplies entertainment with a unique dining experience. Entertainment can come in the form of musician (accordion and violinist), singers, and or dancers of various forms.


 Rromani Mexeli has the salability to allure a steady flow of diners from all social levels, age groups, families, couples, singles and groups.

The Competition

 Even though there is an international interest and attraction to all things Gypsy – there does not exist an authentic Gypsy Restaurant (anywhere!) Therefore, the Rromani Mexeli Restaurant has no direct competition.  We are bringing something to the public that until now doesn’t exist.



“Gypsy” – in and of itself has immediate name recognition that catches people’s attention. However, it’s the originality of the subject – or “what’s inside” that brings people through the front doors and that includes food critics who are always looking to be the first with the news of something new and hot.

Rromani Mexeli, the authentic Gypsy Restaurant "bringing out the Gypsy in You" will catch the media’s attention with just its name and originality. It’s up to management to ensure a satisfactory dining experience to keep the momentum rolling and clients coming back for more.

In addition: Tzigania Learning Center Program is currently accumulating a vast collection of Roma dishes and their recipes for our Roma/Gypsy cookbook: Rromani Mexeli (The Gypsy Table). Our goals are self-publishing for visitors to our tourism program - however this exclusive subject may lead us to expand our horizons to a publishing house publication. Any form of publication will lead to greater publicity for our restaurant

Gypsy symbols and decor

Gypsy Fury

Gypsy dancers
Gypsy bandFanfare Gypsy all brass bandTransylvanian Gypsy bandGypsy dance

ChuckTodaro and Wife

Tzigania Project Guests

Dress up with guests


About Chuck Todaro

Chuck Todaro is an entrepreneurial, writer, journalist, founder and president of the The Tzigania Project

Chuck Todaro has been living with the Gypsies and studying their culture for the past sixteen years.  He has published numerous articles on the Gypsy history, culture and current affairs including a soon published book about his experiences uncovering the Roma caste system.

Publication of his Don’t Ask Me of Living or Dying - It’s Better to Sing will greatly enhance the notoriety and publicity of the restaurant for years. The manuscript is being represented by Doug Grad Literary Agency and presently under reviewed by some major publishing houses

Tzigania Project

Tzigania Project, founded by Chuck Todaro in 2011, is a community development program offering tourism programs inside the “forbidden” Gypsy communities of Romania. Its success has led to numerous business ventures including a hostel program, pop-up restaurant, successful retail and on-line store selling Gypsy apparel, booking agency representing local Gypsy musicians and dancers, workshop programs and micro businesses being implemented in Roma communities selling handmade baskets, metalwork and collected forest mushrooms.

 The Tzigania project (Tourism program) began in 2011 with an organized music, dance and meal event for sixty visiting Americans. The program has since mushroomed into its present state offering numerous tourism programs including hostels inside eight Roma communities. These programs are positively affecting hundreds of families.


Rromani Mexeli, Roma Restaurant in Romania 

 The Roma Restaurant (in Romania) has been serving guests a variety of Roma dishes from 2012 to the present.  In 2013, our first year, we served 56 clients in our four months of operation.  Our clientele has steadily increased until this year, 2016, having served 172 dinners. 

Roma Restaurant

Roma RestaurantEoma RestaurantRoma Restaurant

Tzigania Project 2016 Year in Review

Five communities… Period: June 15 – Nov. 1 (140 days)
Hostel Programs offered a total 205 beds
Restaurant program served 172 meals
Workshop programs (new feature) handled 36 participants
Day Visit program of small (1) to large groups (32 persons) welcomed and entertained total of 279


 The financial investment needed for Rromani Mexeli is minimal and does not exceed the investment needed for any ordinary restaurant or diner. The style and décor is at hand. Ingredients and cooking procedures are common and available.

Rromani Mexeli Restaurant offers the chance to be a part of an unparalleled original idea at the cost of a generic restaurant. This plan also offers great potential for future expansion.

Additional Revenues connected to Restaurant 

 The Catering branch of the restaurant servicing special events in a Gypsy theme

 Restaurant Bar proceeds (in the event of offering live music)

 Sale of Romani Mexeli, Little Tzigania logo and other Gypsy inspired produce connected to the restaurant: shirts, hats, Gypsy clothing, etc.


Contact Information
Chuck Todaro
New York - Romania  
Phone: New York: (914) 725-3686
Phone: Romania: (40) 758 55 66  70
Skype: ChuckTodaro

Tzigania Exclusive Booklets
Tzigania Exclusive Booklets


Gypsy Fire

poor as a Gypsy


Gypsy Light Fixture

wooden spoon



Location is unimportant because Gypsy is internationally famous theme. This theme and exclusivity will attract clientele from any location

Restaurant Size and Setting

Size isn’t important. This venture can successfully be conducted in any size type location. A small, lower investment location may be a better start to kick-off the collaboration. Inevitable success can lead to expansion.


Exterior: Unobtrusive. A bland exterior adds to the interior glow. That's the Gypsy way. Outside is typically poor and humble (except in the case of Gypsy palaces: image right). The “outside” of the Romani Mexeli Restaurant is not “tzigania” yet rather the “non-Gypsy part of town” while inside is the Gypsy domain where everything shines and glows


Brightly colored walls set the tone. Ornamentation includes an agglomeration of hanging painting, new and old photographs and wall posters depicting Gypsy themes along with exotic tapestries. Along shelf space and ledges scatter displays of Gypsy artifacts, and crafts such as weaved baskets, wood carvings, metal works of different forms including hanging filigree ornamentation made by Roma jewelry makers. Large colorful artificial flowers (popular in the Gypsy home) fill corners and other space adding a spectacular blossom of color. Windows and doorways, including bathrooms, are ornamented with drapery of Roma/Gypsy flowery material. Exotic beaded curtains shield passage into areas such as kitchen or bathroom hallway and or entrance into dining area.

Colorfully encased pillows line the booths (if booth or couch seating is part of the layout). Pillows are an integral part of the Gypsy home much like the like the Tatar people. This custom transcends to the nomadic era

Gypsy Fire

Fire is an essential element of Gypsy life. It centers the Gypsy camp (shatra) and home life. It plays a central role in all social events. We propose a  fire centering the dining area. This can be safely and economically established in many forms.



Electric candlelight wall and ceiling fixture offers an old-fashioned Gypsy ambience


Tables and chairs style: rustic.
Note: Chuck Todaro is skilled woodworker and furniture maker. Furniture can be supplied in-house

 Table coverings red


The Restaurant dinnerware (spoons, plates, bowls and cups) are wooden and to be supplied by "Lingurari" tribe (spoon carvers).  These items can be fully stocked at minimal cost.  Our metalworkers can supply Romani Mexeli with full assortment of various trays, bowls, plates, etc, also at minimal cost… Therefore a diner's Gypsy experience will be “at hand”. They will physically be part of the experience.


Side Note: feature

The Gypsy way is discarding food scraps on the floor. This is later swept out the door for the dogs to grapple over.  Romani Mexeli Restaurant can put this tradition into action by inviting guest to discard items on the floor (like the peanut shells spreading the floor of the Ground Round Restaurant).  This feature adds to the exclusivity, experience and notoriety just as 30 years later people still remember the Ground Round

Bring out the Gypsy in You

    Romani Mexeli, Little Tzigania
    "bringing out the Gypsy in you"

Gypsy Palace

Gypsy Fire