Romanos Macaroni Grill Menu Prices
Romanos Macaroni Grill is an Italian American restaurant founded by Phillip J. Romano on April 19, 1988. There are 88 Romanos Macaroni Grill restaurants worldwide, and their main restaurant is situated in Denver, Colorado.
The company is franchised and ran by Brinker International Inc and serves a variety of different Italian meals. Some items on the menu include salads, pasta, sauces, seafood and many more. The restaurants opening hours are mainly from 11 a.m.to 11 p.m. and are open on some holidays.
Romanos Macaroni Grill provides customers a complimentary bread and olive oil with every meal and the majority of their ingredients used, are purchased by families who run their own farms in Italy.
Check out the latest Romanos Macaroni Grill menu prices below.
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Best: Italian Pesto Caprese
This fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil pesto, arugula, and Mediterranean vinaigrette on ciabatta bread sandwich contains a good amount of fat, but it likely comes from healthier sources such as olive oil, nuts, and cheese, according to Tao.
In addition to getting this sandwich as part of the mix and match option, which comes with half a sandwich and soup, Tao recommends improvising with a full-size sandwich portion.
“Save even more calories by taking the top half of the bun off of the sandwich, and up the healthy factor by asking for extra veggies on the sandwich,” she says.
Romano’s Founder Was Originally In The Burger Business
Phil Romano, a first generation Italian-American born in upstate New York, originally started his restaurant crusade in 1980 with a San Antonio-based burger chain called Fuddruckers. Perhaps an Italian-style eatery was simmering somewhere in the back of his mind at the time, but in the ’70s and ’80s, the burger business was sizzling, particular in Texas.
This fast-food-meets-casual-sit-down-diner aka drive thru and counter service only has been around for over four decades, and was the first of over 25 different restaurant concepts created by Romano throughout the past 40 years.
Fuddruckers is known for their larger-than-life burgers, super fresh ingredients, and in true American splendor, wedge cut and sweet potatoes fries rather than those of the “french” variety. On the financial side, Fuddruckers was named the second-best business for potential franchisees by NerdWallet. In its heyday, Fuddruckers had over 500 locations nationwide, but as of June 2021, there are a mere 92 locations spanning across the nation.
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Romano’s Has Gone Through Multiple Owners And Bankruptcy
Romano’s Macaroni Grill has been through the ringer when it comes to acquisitions. For nearly two decades, the chain was owned by Brinker, but by 2007, the investment group ended up in massive debt and sold off some of its restaurant concepts including Romano’s Macaroni Grill . In December 2008, MAC Acquisitions LLC, an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital purchased a majority stake of the eatery . During this four year tenure, MAC Acquisitions LLC closed 40 Romano’s restaurants, but deemed it a successful investment since the return was 2.5 times the capital that was originally invested.
In February 2013, Ignite Restaurant Group previously the parent to Joe’s Crab Shack purchased the Romano’s brand with the intention of revamping it . They ended up selling it to Redrock Partners LLC just two years later at a loss. Then in October 2017, Romano’s Macaroni Grill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing “a shift in customer preference and an “overall downturn for the casual dining industry” .
Worst: Spinach And Artichoke Dip With Shrimp
While this savory and creamy blend of spinach, artichokes, parmesan, mozzarella, white wine, spices, and shrimp with garlic-brushed rosemary bread sounds scrumptious, it’s not a great decision health-wise, according to Tao.
“The dish packs a crazy 29 grams of saturated fat per serving, which is about the same amount of saturated fat that you’d find in three Big Macs,” Tao says. “In addition to containing tons of fat, this selection also contains a whole day’s worth of sodium.” Yikes!
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Phil Romano Invested In The Heart Stent
It seems odd that the founder of Romano’s Macaroni Grill would be involved in the healthcare industry, but Phil Romano isn’t just a restaurateur he’s an entrepreneur. In the mid-1980s, Romano was approached by two cardiologists who were working on a device that would open up clogged arteries. He ended up investing $250,000 into what is now known as the heart stent. In less than a year, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $10 million for it, with a 10% royalty going towards Romano. After three years, the pharmaceutical company ended up paying the three gentlemen $600 million, with Romano receiving a third of that income .
The hook here is that around 2012, the relatively healthy Romano had not one, but two heart stents put in . Data Research notes that in just the U.S., over 2 million heart stents are implanted per year, as of 2021. It’s a bit eerie that less than three decades after making this device accessible to an innumerable number of people, Romano ended up on the receiving end of his investment. He believes it to be his biggest business achievement, telling Dallas News, “People will tell me, ‘You saved my life.’ ‘You saved my mother’s life.’ ‘You saved my father’s life.’ I saved my own life … that’s much more gratifying than ‘The food tastes good.'”
Phil Romano Put Money Towards The Lap
In addition to bringing the heart stent into hospitals across the world, the founder of Romano’s Macaroni Grill also helped finance the American Institute of Gastric Banding . According to Bloomberg, the American Institute of Gastric Banding operates outpatient surgical weight loss centers across the United States, and offers gastric bypass procedures like lap-band and the sleeve for medically necessary weight loss.
In 2006, Phil Romano helped to develop a weight-loss protein shake for patients who had received outpatient bypass surgery . Through his acquired knowledge of the lap-band procedure and recovery process not through personal experience Romano realized that the protein shakes meant to help patients heal their livers tasted absolutely disgusting. So he and his business partner, Stuart Fitts, brought in a Baskin-Robbins flavor creator to help come up with three appetizing shake options. Of course, the winning flavor was chocolate. That company, AmazeRx Shakes, ended up being a dud and was ultimately shelved after two years of poor sales.
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Macaroni Is Barely On The Romano’s Menu
Most people know what macaroni is and what it looks like. When it’s mixed with creamy cheese, it’s the perfect vessel for the quintessential comfort food loved by the young and old alike: macaroni and cheese. Besides it being associated with a universally beloved dish, macaroni is actually a shape of pasta. In fact, according to The Pasta Project, macaroni is actually known as gomiti in Italy. That being said, you’d think that a restaurant dubbed Romano’s Macaroni Grill would, of course, live up to their namesake and have some sort of dish that would honor the noodle in its true form.
But that’s not the case here. To be fair, Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s menudoes offer fried macaroni and cheese bites as an appetizer using the actual macaroni noodle but it’s more like a riff on arancini. Other than that, nowhere else on the menu is there an option to have a macaroni-focused dish. That being said, Romano’s Macaroni Grill has plenty of other delicious items to choose from, like Tomato Bisque, Ricotta Meatballs and Spaghetti, and Chicken Marsala. They also offer multiple items that cater to the vegetarian crowd, with entrées like Butternut Tortellacci, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Mushroom Ravioli. But if you’re still hankering for mac n’ cheese, their Signature Truffle Mac and Cheese made with penne pasta and five difference cheeses should satisfy your cheesy pasta desires.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill Is An Ode The Founder’s Nonna
Building on the success of Fuddruckers, Phil Romano launched Romano’s Macaroni Grill on April 19th, 1988. According to Food Business News, Romano found inspiration for his Italian restaurant concept in the rustic, homestyle dishes that were prepared and cooked by his Italian nonna . The original Romano’s Macaroni Grill, first opened in Leon Springs, Texas in 1988. In 1989, restaurant investment firm Brinker International, Inc. purchased the franchise rights to Macaroni Grill from Romano and proceeded to open up over 230 locations across the nation during the next 15 years.
In its heyday, Romano’s Macaroni Grill was considered to be a “next generation” Olive Garden, and had been a flourishing and popular concept at that time . But things went south by the end of the aughts when the chain, like many restaurants across the country, suffered due to the U.S. economic crisis.
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They Were Graded As One Of The Unhealthiest Restaurants In America
Let’s be honest: Unless it’s their specialty, most chain restaurants in America are not really great sources of healthy, nutritious food. Take, for instance, Romano’s Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Salad. While it has a decent amount of protein , the restaurant’s allergen and nutritional menu reports that this “salad” also has 48 grams of fat , 910 milligrams of sodium, and 100 grams of carbs. According to The Mayo Clinic, a healthy 150-pound adult following a 2,000 calorie diet should consume about 82-136 grams of protein, 44-78 grams of fat , 2,300 milligrams of salt, and 225-325 grams of carbohydrates. That means the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Salad supplies more than half of all daily nutritional requirements definitely not a dish that abides by the recommended 2,000 calories per day regime.
It may not come as a surprise, then, that Romano’s Macaroni Grill was given an “F” rating from Men’s Health for the health-factor or lack thereof of their food. This was in 2007 though. Thanks to an increase in health awareness as well as a law enacted by the FDA in 2018 that required all restaurants with at least 20 locations to provide their nutritional and allergen information for public access the restaurant has since revamped its menu which now highlights multiple options that are 600 calories or fewer.
Romano’s Had A Quick Turnaround Thanks To A New Ceo
Just four months after announcing that it had filed for bankruptcy, MAC Acquisitions had raised enough funds to revive Romano’s Macaroni Grill and pull it out of financial ruin . But the brand had another trick up their sleeve: their new CEO, Nishant Machado, who is considered to be a restaurant turn-around specialist having “rescued” big-name chain restaurants such as El Torito, Acapulco, and Chevy’s Fresh Mex . According to FSR magazine, Machado joined the Romano’s team in May 2017, and guided the chain through the bankruptcy.
To increase sales and boost Romano’s images, Machado focused on the main source of income: the customer. “We take care of guests that come into our restaurants. The best way to double up sales is to get everyone to come back. That’s our focus,” he tells FSR magazine. In addition to making guests the priority, Machado revised the “honor wine” system , created a new brunch menu, reimplemented six menu favorites, and introduced 11 new entrées. As part of their rebranding, Hospitality Tech reports that Romano’s acquired Sullivan’s Steakhouse. The company is also tackling their international image by stationing restaurants at airports around the nation . There are currently 41 Romano’s Macaroni Grill locations open across the United States.
Romanos Macaroni Grill Dairy
Be aware of special order requirements in parentheses next to the menu items, and see the Heads Up notes to help fill in the blanks.
Other Allergen & Dietary Notes: All of the items listed below are made without peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs. We have labeled the items that contain wheat below. Unfortunately, the gluten-free pasta at Macaroni Grill does contain milk. Almost all menu items at Macaroni Grill are listed as containing soy, but in most cases, it is just refined soy oil. For vegan options, see the Vegan Menu Guide at the bottom of this post.
They Offers Wine Based On The Honor System
As an Italian-American, it only makes sense that Phil Romano would incorporate different traditions from his roots and weave them into the atmosphere at Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Of these traditions, one of the most hospitable and trustworthy is the Honor System Wine. This practice entails leaving a bottle of house wine in the center of the table and allowing guests to help themselves to as much as they would like. This tradition has been removed and reinstated multiple times, and it varies from state to state depending on their laws surrounding alcohol consumption.
Customers are supposed to keep track of how many glasses they’ve consumed by marking down the number of drinks they’ve had on the spiffy butcher paper table cloth, though this could possibly pose a bit of a problem if the wine flows a little too freely. However, Romano believes that sitting around a table while enjoying a good meal is where friendship and honesty are built and elevated by excellent wine . At least the glasses provided are small water glasses.
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Romano Also Finds Time To Paint
Yet another surprising fact about this restaurateur , is that he’s also an accomplished painter. That being said, none of his artwork is going to be gracing the walls of any Romano’s Macaroni Grill locations … yet. While he took up painting in his youth, he sold his first painting at age 68 and has made over $1 million on his artwork alone . It just goes to show that you’re never too old to change careers or take up a new hobby if that’s not fully obvious.
Like many artists, Romano is very invested and somewhat emotionally attached to his artwork, so much so that his creations are almost like his own flesh and blood. He tells Samuel Lynne Galleries that meeting the individuals who will be adopting Romano’s word for “buying” his artwork is non-negotiable, because when he purchases art, he wants to “make sure good vibes would be in my home.” Romano considers himself to be part of the Reflectionist School, which is grounded in mindfulness, meditation, and the belief in the theory that the universe reflects what one puts out .
The Untold Truth Of Romano’s Macaroni Grill
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Romano’s Macaroni Grill is the brainchild of Phil Romano, an entrepreneur … and artist and author and healthcare investor. Like many restaurant chains, this franchise hasn’t survived the past 30-plus years without experiencing some major uphill battles along the way. Romano’s has weathered bad press surrounding their menu as well as crippling financial and legal issues that could have sunk the business. But thanks to a new CEO, Romano’s Macaroni Grill still lives on. The restaurant remains just as resilient as its curator, who directly benefited not just financially from a healthcare investment made in the early days of its inception.
Though some international fusion restaurants may have a somewhat kitschy or gimmicky theming , it’s actually quite the opposite at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, which offers a nod to the founder’s first generation Italian-American roots. With the success of the Macaroni Grill franchise , what more could Phil Romano ask for? “All I want to do are things that make a difference for others. I want to know I made a difference with my life,” he tells Fortune. Read on to discover the untold truth about Romano’s Macaroni Grill and the man behind the Bolognese.
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This Post Is For Informational Purposes Only
Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, food sourcing, and restaurant protocols are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure they can accommodate your situation. This post is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice.
There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.
Each location of a chain restaurant has different management and staff, and some might have different owners. This means differences in processes, ingredients used, menu options, and food sourcing can occur. Always verify the safety of your order for your needs at your current location.
The Best & Worst Menu Items At Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Let’s not lie to ourselves: Pasta and pizza are arguably some of the best foods around. And luckily for foodies, there’s no need to travel to Italy to indulge in some delicious Italian cuisine these days. Enter: Romano’s Macaroni Grill, the American casual dining chain with a slew of tasty Italian-American favorites.
Because the options are endless while dining at the popular restaurant, we checked in with Amy Tao, MS, of Based Wellness, to educate us on the best and worst menu item options there. From antipasti and pizza to pasta, meat, chicken, and seafood, you’ll want this handy list to help you make smart decisions while enjoying a hearty meal at one of the 88 Mediterranean-inspired locations.
Here are the best and worst items you can order from the Romano’s Macaroni Grill menu.
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