Tony Roma's

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Not to be confused with Antonio Roma or Tony Romo.
Tony Roma's (Romacorp,Inc.)
Industry Restaurants
Founded North Miami, Florida (1972)
Headquarters Plano, Texas, U.S.
Key people
Kenneth (Ken) Myres, President
Bradley Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
John Brisco, President of International
Jim Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer
Products ribs, steak, chicken, and seafood
Number of employees
1,725 (2006)[1]
Slogan Legendary for Ribs, Famous for so much more!"
Website Tony Roma's U.S.
Tony Roma's Asia Pacific

Tony Roma's is a casual dining chain restaurant specializing in baby back ribs. The first location was established in 1972 in North Miami, Florida, by the founder, and today there are more than 150 locations in more than 30 countries on six continents.[2]


Tony Roma, the driving force and namesake behind the casual dining eatery, opened the first Tony Roma’s in North Miami on January 20, 1972.[3] Prior to opening his self-named restaurant, Tony Roma was the food and beverage specialist for the Playboy Club.

Originally, a steak and burger joint, one weekend, Chef David Smith, threw some baby back ribs on the grill and served them with Tony Roma’s special BBQ sauce. The ribs proved so popular, they were added to the menu full time, and quickly became what Tony Roma’s was known for. Tony Roma’s menu has further expanded to include seafood, pasta, chicken, and sandwiches.[4]

Four years later, in 1976, Clint Murchinson Jr., the then owner of the Dallas Cowboys, was in Miami for Super Bowl X. Though the Cowboys suffered a disappointing loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mruchinson didn’t go home empty handed, instead he purchased the majority stake in the restaurant, going on to become the driving force behind Tony Roma’s international expansion. Murchinson and Roma established Roma Corporation, a jointly owned company that oversaw the restaurants and sold franchises.[5]

In 1979, the first international location opened in Tokyo, Japan and by 1983; there were 30 Tony Roma’s restaurants around the world. During the mid-1980s, Roma Corp’s growth plan included opening more franchises, rather than company-owned stores.[5]

Clint Murchison sold his shares in Roma Corp to his children in 1984, and Kenneth Reimer, a Murchison business associate, took over as CEO of Roma. Tony Roma himself also sold his interest in the company to the Murchison children.[6]

Under Reimer, Tony Roma’s expanded; growing the menu, opening more locations and remodeling older restaurants for a more modern feel. In 2002, Frank Steed took over as CEO and president of Roma Corp[7] and David Grail became head of menu development. Steed signed agreements to open an additional 60 Tony Roma’s across South America, Europe, and the Middle East.[8]


According to the company's website,[9] Roma's decision to include Baby Back Ribs on the menu was a spontaneous one. The dish was quickly successful and became one of the chain's signature offerings. Today the company claims that Roma is considered the "pioneer of Baby Back Ribs." They are also known for their "block" style fried onion "loaf". Outlets in Muslim majority countries such as Malaysia offer beef and lamb ribs in place of pork to adhere to local customs.[10]

A lengthy list of culinary awards is available on the website.[11]

Retail products[edit]

A number of entrees from the Tony Roma's menu are available as prepackaged frozen meals, sold in supermarkets. The entrees are manufactured and distributed by Rupari Food Services.[12] Tony Roma's original barbecue sauce is also available in supermarkets.


Countries and territories with Tony Roma's restaurants[edit]


  1. ^ "Romacorp, Inc. - Google Finance". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
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  9. ^ Tony Roma's: Ribs - Seafood - Steaks[dead link]
  10. ^ Here's How Tony Roma's Won Over Customers in Muslim-Majority Malaysia
  11. ^ Tony Roma's: Ribs - Seafood - Steaks[dead link]
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External links[edit]