Openings: New barbecue restaurant to debut at Hilton near PBI in West Palm


The Hilton Palm Beach Airport hotel is about to become a local dining destination for rib lovers. Tony Roma’s, the national chain founded in North Miami more than 45 years ago, will debut a location at the hotel next week. 

The casual, meat-centric restaurant opens Jan. 17 at the lakeside hotel in the space formerly occupied by H Bar. It will offer a menu of Tony Roma’s favorites, including its “World-Famous” baby back ribs ($15.50 half rack, $23 full), its Onion Loaf ($7, a loaf of breaded and deep-fried Spanish onions), plus a range of appetizers, salads, steaks, seafood and, yes, ribs, ribs, ribs. Menu items marked as “new” to the brand include: Dry Rubbed Riblings ($6), Award-Winning Baby Back Rib Chili ($6) and a Fireball-laced cocktail called To the Moon(shine) and Back ($9).

While this is not Tony Roma’s first foray into Palm Beach County, the deal between the restaurant’s parent company, Romacorp, and GEM Hospitality is the chain’s first U.S. franchise agreement since the Tony Roma’s brand makeover in 2016. 

“Our location inside the Hilton Hotel at (PBI) means that fans traveling from all over the world, and those who are West Palm Beach residents, will now be able to enjoy Tony Roma’s world famous ribs and signature cocktails – an experience everyone should have the chance to delight in,” Brian Vermeulen, owner and managing member of GEM Hospitality, said in a news release. 

He is Tony Roma’s first new U.S. franchisee since 2011. The chain has more than 150 locations in six continents. The new West Palm Beach restaurant will be Tony Roma’s fifth location in Florida and the only location in Palm Beach County. The chain had locations in Boynton Beach and Wellington, but they closed in 2007. A location on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard closed in 1996. And circa 1990, there was a location on Military Trail in Palm Beach Gardens, in the former Abbey Road Plaza.

Lunchtime diners can expect a terrific $12 combo deal that includes a choice of starter (potato soup, chop salad or Caesar salad), a choice of entree (the six options include cheeseburger sliders, BBQ Pork Riblings and barbecue chicken quarter), plus a side (roasted corn, fries, white cheddar mac and cheese, garlic green beans or saffron and kale rice). There’s also a $10 lunch deal that includes a choice of soup and salad, plus bread.

As for choices at the bar, in addition to specialty cocktails, the new restaurant also will offer Florida craft beers on tap (like Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA and Funky Buddha’s Floridian Hefeweizen), a small selection of mainstream, mostly California wines and a full range of spirits.


Tony Roma’s 

  • The new Tony Roma’s restaurant opens Wednesday, Jan. 17 at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport, 150 Australian Ave., West Palm Beach; 561-683-6777. 
  • Hours will be Sunday through Thursday from noon to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to midnight. There will be a happy hour daily from 4 to 7 p.m. 
  • The hotel, which has free WiFi and parking, offers a complimentary shuttle service to and from PBI.


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