Bad news for carnivores. The Commack branch of Tony Roma’s has closed, part of a downsizing that has shuttered every location in New York State, aside from one in Niagara Falls, according to its website.
Our closest Roma’s is inside Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Before the Commack store opened in late 2014, the ribs-steak-seafood chain’s last dalliance with Long Island was in the late 1980s, when franchises opened in Syosset and Valley Stream and closed a few years thereafter.
The most recent round of closings leaves fewer than 20 locations of Tony Roma’s open in the United States. Most of the remaining restaurants are international: 26 in Canada, 20 in Spain, eight in Japan and many others around the world.
Stephen Judge, CEO of Romacorp Inc. since last year, says on an October video timed with the reopening of the Orlando flagship that the company is in the middle of rebranding to appeal to millennials. The menu will focus on “bold flavors,” “small plates,” “mix and match dishes” and generally more choices. The dining room, bar and patio was entirely redone.
The late Tony Roma started his career as the food and drinks guy for Hugh Hefner’s The Playboy Club. He opened his first restaurant in North Miami in the early 1970s, where he debuted with a menu of steaks and burgers and later, baby back ribs.
In 1976, Texas investor and former owner of the Dallas Cowboys, the late Clint Murchison Jr., visited the restaurant and eventually became a partner, expanding its international reach through the ’80s and ’90s.