Tony Roma's

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Romacorp Inc.
Tony Roma's
Industry Restaurants
Founded North Miami, Florida (1972)
Founder Tony Roma
Headquarters Plano, Texas, U.S.
Key people
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]
Website Tony Roma's U.S.
Tony Roma's Asia Pacific

Romacorp Inc. (doing business as Tony Roma's) is an American 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 over 38 countries on six continents.[2]


Tony Roma (1923–2003), 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 restaurant, one weekend, chef David Smith grilled baby back ribs and served them with Tony Roma's BBQ sauce. The ribs proved to be popular, and 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 Murchison, Jr., the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, was in Miami for Super Bowl X. Murchison purchased the majority stake in the restaurant, going on to become the driving force behind Tony Roma's international expansion. Murchison 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]

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]

In 2001, original head chef David Smith retired and Tony Roma's first executive chef, Bob Gallagher, came on board in 2006.[6] In 2003, Tony Roma died in Hemet, CA, at the age of 78.[4]

On March 3, 2015, Tony Roma's launched TR Fire Grill in Orlando, FL, a chef-inspired American Bistro, with more locations planned for the following months.[9]

Menu and retail products[edit]

Baby-back ribs and onion loaf

When the first Tony Roma’s opened in the 1970s, the restaurant was known for its burger and steaks until chef David Smith cooked up some baby back ribs and they became popular.[4] Today the menu includes ribs, burgers, and steaks, as well as chicken and seafood dishes, appetizers, vegetarian dishes, desserts, and a cocktail list. Many international locations provide additional options that conform to local customs.[10] Tony Roma's menu is routinely updated with specials, new chef-created dishes, and seasonal cuisines.[11] In 2015, Roma Corp's introduced a new concept, new concept TR Fire Grill & Lounge, in Orlando, Florida featuring modern American cuisine and modern cocktails.[12][13]

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.[14] Tony Roma's original barbecue sauce is also available in supermarkets.


Tony Roma's in Berlin

Tony Roma's currently has around 120 international stores spread across five continents, with 20 restaurants in the United States.[2]

In 1976, Tony Roma’s was one of the first US chain restaurants to expand into the international market, opening their first store in Japan. During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Tony Roma’s expanded into Europe, South America, Australia and Asia. Tony Roma’s has also expanded to the Middle East, including the UAE, where the prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, dines.[15]

As of 2016, the only location near New York City was inside Newark Liberty International Airport, after the Commack branch closed as part of a downsizing. There also remained a location in Niagara Falls at the time. The closure left 20 locations in the United States, with most remaining restaurants international.[16]

Tony Roma’s is consistently opening new restaurants in emerging markets.[2] In 2015, Tony Roma’s became one of the first US-based restaurants to open a store in Myanmar.[17]

Countries and territories with restaurants[edit]

Countries with Tony Roma's restaurants

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Romacorp, Inc. – Google Finance". Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b c Orlando Sentinel (15 February 2015). "Central Florida restaurant chains push beyond U.S. borders". Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Barbara Farfan. "Tony Roma's Restaurants Mission Statement – Mission, Headquarters, Founders Facts, History and Trivia About Tony Roma's Casual Theme Restaurant Chain". Money. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Tony Roma, 78 – Began Chain of Rib Restaurants –
  5. ^ a b "About Tony Roma's". Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "History of Romacorp, Inc. – FundingUniverse". Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "Steed to head Tony Roma's". Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Tony Roma, 78; Restaurateur Created World-Famous Barbecued Ribs Recipe". latimes. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  9. ^ Megan Ribbens (4 March 2015). "Romacorp debuts TR Fire Grill concept, preps Winter Park location". Orlando Business Journal. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "EAT's a treat at Ayala Malls!". Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  11. ^ Mad Vine Media Financial Content. "Tony Roma's Introduces New Menu Inspired by the Fresh Flavors of a Farmer's Market -". Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  12. ^ McPherson, Heather (December 13, 2015). "TR Fire Grill hitting its stride". Retrieved December 27, 2017. 
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ Rupari Food Services Rolls Out New Tony Roma's Retail Products from
  15. ^ Time Out Dubai staff (17 February 2015). "Dubai foodie news". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 23 December 2015. 
  16. ^ "", Melissa Cart, October 18, 2016, Newsday
  17. ^ a b "Tony Roma's opens first restaurant in Myanmar". Retrieved 23 December 2015. 

External links[edit]