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Tony Roma's

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Tony Roma's

Tony Roma's (Romacorp,Inc.)
Industry Restaurants
Founded North Miami, Florida (1972)
Headquarters Plano, Texas, U.S.
Key people
Tony Roma, Founder
Kenneth (Ken) Myres, President
Bradley Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
John Brisco, President of International
Jim Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer commonly thought that Tony Romo (Football player) is in the ownership
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]

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]


Tony Roma's currently has more than 30 locations across the United States and more than 120 international stores, across five continents.[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.[10]

Always looking for opportunities for growth, Tony Roma’s is consistently opening new restaurants in emerging markets world-wide.[2]

In 2015, Tony Roma’s became one of the first US based restaurants to open a store in Myanmar when it opened a 6,400 square-foot restaurant.[11]


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 an instant hit.[4]

Today the menu includes ribs, burgers, and steaks, as well as a plethora of chicken and seafood dishes, appetizers, vegetarian options, desserts, and a posh cocktail list. Many international locations offer additional options that conform to local customs.[12] Tony Roma's menu is constantly updated with specials, new chef-created dishes, and seasonal cuisines.[13]

In 2015, Roma Corp's new concept TR Fire Grill & Lounge, launched in Orlando, Florida featuring modern American cuisine and modern cocktails.[14]

Retail products

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


Countries and territories with Tony Roma's restaurants


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External links

  • Corporate (U.S) website
  • Asia Pacific website
  • Tony Roma's Canada
  • Tony Roma's United Kingdom
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