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blue92

Tony Romas ribs

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Alright, I did a little research here. There was only one Tony Roma's location in Houston. It was at 6356 Richmond Ave. It opened sometime between 1981 (Ariel Image shows no building) and 1986 (The first time the Chronicle mentions it). It didn't seem to open with that much fan fare, it closed very quietly without even an article in the Chronicle sometime between 1994 (Final Chronicle Mention) and 1996 (Mention of Replacement opening). From what I can tell the chain never gained much of a foothold in Houston and didn't grow past 1 location. In the Chronicle you can see them doing gimmicky things, like offering delivery probably to try to increase weekday dinners.

 

It's location is at the West end of the Richmond Strip. Tony Roma's was likely built before the strip was really a big deal (as I understand it this occurred during the early 90s). Compared to other dining options in the area, Tony Roma's had a very small lot, and probably didn't offer the best prices especially when compared to former neighbor Chuy's (now Cafe Layal). Also by the mid 90's crime in the Richmond Strip was on the rise, and I wouldn't be surprised if that deterred customers. One interesting thing I did find during all this was, that the restaurant which replaced Tony Roma's (King Fish Market which closed in 2005) was opened by Chris King who also created Joe's Crab Shack. He chose the location for King Fish Market, because he opened his first Joe's Crab Shack just a couple of blocks down Richmond.

 

I believe the current building is the same one which Tony Roma used. I checked HCAD which listed a construction date of 1996, however I seem to remember as a small child driving by and watching them cut away at Tony Roma's to make the patio (It was a spectacular building to watch being built bright orange and green colors). However, that could just be a case of "Child Brain" confusing two similar events.

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There was a Tony Roma's in Webster.   I thought it was pretty good at the time. I think it was only open a few years.  It closed sometime in the mid/early nineties.  My memory says the building was originally a Gallagher's Steakhouse in the 80s.   HCAD seems to confirm this and has a 1980 build date.

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.5275818,-95.1290046,3a,75y,43.15h,87.4t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2vvK1fkomZDtI9uz-lsVww!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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I was under the impression Tony Roma's was in Houston at least into the early 2000s with suburban locations (it's hard to keep track of the number of suburban sit-down restaurants--just driving down 290 in the mid to late 2000s showed the staggering variety of stuff that was there). The reason I thought so was that there was a Tony Roma's opened in Bryan in 2011 and closed down a little less than two years later. There was also one in Waco, which still appears as 4325 Franklin in some listings, closer observation says 4225, and that has been Buffalo Wild Wings since at least 2007 (but it still around in 2003, so I want to say 2005 as closing).

 

Finding out that Tony Roma's has been gone in the Houston since the 1990s and Waco since the mid-2000s makes the early 2010s Bryan location all the more perplexing.

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I wondered about this too, since they seem to have disappeared from Houston.  Turns out there is a Wikipedia entry for "Tony Roma's" that tells the history.  Also, their company website lists the US states and countries they currently operate in: 

 

USA LOCATIONS

California Florida Hawaii Illinois Iowa Nevada New Jersey Texas [in Laredo and McAllen; one in San Antonio is listed as temporarily closed]

 

WORLDWIDE LOCATIONS

Aruba Australia Bahrain Bangladesh Brazil Canada Chile Costa Rica

Dominican Republic El Salvador Germany Guam Guatemala Indonesia 

Ireland Japan Malaysia Mexico Curaçao Panama Peru Philippines

Saipan Singapore Spain Thailand United Arab Emirates United Kingdom 

United States Venezuela

Edited by ArchFan

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On 7/15/2018 at 0:45 PM, ArchFan said:

I wondered about this too, since they seem to have disappeared from Houston.  Turns out there is a Wikipedia entry for "Tony Roma's" that tells the history.

I assume that OP had already looked, and listing the fact that they have locations in Venezuela and Singapore is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

 

But, I did find today that Houston's Tony Roma's opened in April 1984 (a May 1984 review that appeared in the Houston Post mentioned it had been open a month, so it was that or late March 1984), and opened without fanfare. It was also open very late, 2 am even from day one.

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On 7/15/2018 at 0:45 PM, ArchFan said:

I wondered about this too, since they seem to have disappeared from Houston.  Turns out there is a Wikipedia entry for "Tony Roma's" that tells the history.  Also, their company website lists the US states and countries they currently operate in: 

 

USA LOCATIONS

California Florida Hawaii Illinois Iowa Nevada New Jersey Texas [in Laredo and McAllen; one in San Antonio is listed as temporarily closed]

 

WORLDWIDE LOCATIONS

Aruba Australia Bahrain Bangladesh Brazil Canada Chile Costa Rica

Dominican Republic El Salvador Germany Guam Guatemala Indonesia 

Ireland Japan Malaysia Mexico Curaçao Panama Peru Philippines

Saipan Singapore Spain Thailand United Arab Emirates United Kingdom 

United States Venezuela

 

I went by that San Antonio location probably less than a month ago, and it didn't seem temporarily closed. The signs on the doors, the locks, and the amount of dust on everything made it seem permanent.

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