A proud supporter of all things local and reasonably healthy menu items, Romby’s Tavern serves the usual pub fare with health conscious dishes sprinkled-in. The restaurant has called St. Catharines home for 30 years and in 2010, the Wilson family continued to run the restaurant with a few changes of their own. A shift in food and lifestyle cause a change in their menu as well. We all know when you go to a pub you want smoked meats, wings, nachos, and all the greasy foods your body can’t handle because, why not? The new owners kept those traditional items and added healthier options for those who prefer not to poison their bodies. Chef Chris gets creative with exciting and fresh flavours in his dishes.
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Everything is sourced locally and most of the items are made in-house. The tortillas are made by Tortilleria Tepoztlan (a local Guatemalan family), and G&D Meats is their supplier for fresh chicken wings that are brought-in from Toronto everyday! The menu is easy to read through with lots of options from yummy starters to poutines, to things between buns (sandwiches and burgers), and of course wings.
The restaurants is located in the North-end of St. Catharines, off Lake Street in a plaza. Their patio sits in front of the restaurants and onto the parking lot so you can soak up the sun in the summer! Inside, you’ll be greeted with flat screens, plaques, awards, jerseys, and posters plastered on the walls. The bar sits at the back-left with a stage hugging the left wall. Natural light pours into the restaurant from the wall of windows along the storefront – perfect for photographs.
We ordered Deep Fried Pickles ($7) to start but I really wish I ordered seconds and thirds. This might be tragic news to some of you but I’ve never had deep fried pickles… and these were glorious. I’m salivating just thinking about them. Juicy, crunchy, salty, dill pickles breaded and deep fried, giving it a dry outer crunch. It came with a house-made buttermilk ranch dipping sauce too. I was happy just crunching away. Thank you, Romby’s, for getting me addicted to deep fried pickles, I ain’t even made about this addiction.
Our mains consisted of Taco Salad ($10), Smoked Turkey and Bacon Club ($12), and a Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich ($11). In a massive bowl, the Taco Salad was tossed with black beans, corn salsa mixed sour cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and buttermilk ranch dressing. Then topped with crispy tortilla, plus sides of salsa and sour cream. The height on the salad was pretty impressive and it tasted fresh with pops of delicious Tex-Mex flavours.
The Turkey Bacon Club had Romby’s double smoked bacon, thick cuts of turkey, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and a honey Dijon vinaigrette with a side of fries. The sandwich was a classic and it tasted like a classic with a nice touch of sweetness and kick from the honey Dijon sauce.
I’ve always been skeptical of ordering brisket because I’m used the to the texture of Chinese braised brisket and I’ve always thought that nothing could beat it. Well, I’ve been really adventurous lately and I’ve ordered smoked brisket 3 times within the past couple of months and only 1 of them was a miss. The other 2 times were phenomenal and Romby’s was one of them! Hooray! Their juicy and tender brisket gets to sit in the smoker for 12 hours for chewy tissues to break down and develop flavour. It was served with caramelized onions (which I loved) and horseradish mayo. The sandwich was simple with a few ingredients but the flavours were complex yet comforting. I upgraded my side to a Mac & Cheese (+$3) which turned out to be colossal, so I took it home and had it for lunch the next day. After focusing so much of my attention to my brisket sandwich, the Mac & Cheese had cooled down when I finally got to it. This dish is usually heavy and greasy but Romby’s was quite light. I didn’t feel gross and unhealthy eating it but I would’ve preferred more creaminess in the cheese sauce. I still can’t get over the amount of macaroni though… and just for $3 extra! They also have onion rings, sweet potato fries, Caesar salad, and coleslaw. Love me some coleslaw with BBQ food.
Overall, Chef Chris’ new menu has been refreshing with the traditional comfort food still being a staple in the kitchen. A sports bar can’t function without its wings and burgers! This was also the perfect place for someone like me, who wants to eat healthy even though the universe is lie, “but this buttered bun and greasy burger will taste so much better!” In advertising, they say, “Your eyes eat first” let’s go deeper, for me, my imagination eats first and decides what to order. Anyways, I like that Romby’s provided me with option to fight my foodie demons so I could eat a tad healthier and live a little longer.
Romby’s is also active within their community, hosting concert nights to support local families battling cancer, taking part in Niagara WingDing Fest (winning all 4 awards), and hosting events in partnership with Niagara College where proceeds went towards Many Hands Charity. I appreciate local businesses who bring the community together! Work together to grow together!
This was a complimentary meal from Romby’s Tavern & Smokehouse, opinions expressed are my own.