Tony Roma’s Opens 26th Restaurant in Canada

Longtime Tony Roma’s restaurant franchise team Leena and Gordie Lem bring world-famous ribs to excited fans in Thunder Bay

Tony Roma’s continues rapid expansion with the much-anticipated opening of its latest Canadian restaurant in Thunder Bay, Canada, the largest city in Northwestern Ontario. This is the first Tony Roma’s restaurant for Romacorp franchisee Thunder Bay Rib Ltd. and the 26th Tony Roma’s in Canada. Tony Roma’s has restaurants in the Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba provinces.


The Thunder Bay Tony Roma’s reflects the new design direction our iconic brand is embracing as we focus on domestic expansion.

“Tony Roma’s first launched in Canada nearly 30 years ago, and our continued growth in Thunder Bay is a true testament to our iconic brand, our world-famous food and beverages, and the incredible passion of our franchisees,” says President and CEO Stephen Judge. “Leena Avella-Lem and Gordie Lem have been part of the Tony Roma’s family for nearly 20 years and have helped to build the brand in Canada, and we’re excited to welcome them as our newest Canadian franchisee.”

The Thunder Bay restaurant is on the coast of Lake Superior and is near the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, a destination for thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year. The 8,400-square-foot restaurant seats nearly 240 people, has a full bar serving an extensive collection of beer, wine and liquor including Tony Roma’s signature Romarita®, eight 60-inch TVs throughout the restaurant and a private dining room to accommodate business functions and social gatherings.


The staff at the Thunder Bay location are excited to build the brand in Canada. The restaurant building features locally sourced materials, such as masonry and timber.

“We started working with the Tony Roma’s team in Calgary, Alberta, 17 years ago, and our dream was to one day open our own restaurant and bring Tony Roma’s world-famous ribs to our hometown of Thunder Bay,” says Leena Avella-Lem, managing partner of Thunder Bay Rib Ltd. “It’s such a great brand paired with such amazing people – the fit was meant to be, and our journey has just begun!”

Tony Roma’s restaurants is the world’s largest casual dining concept specializing in ribs. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, Romacorp Inc. has more than 150 restaurant locations in more than 30 countries and is one of the most globally recognizable names in the industry. The first Tony Roma’s restaurant opened more than 40 years ago in North Miami, Florida.

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