Chicken lovers rejoice and foodies flip out, for this Friday July 12th marks the triumphant return of one of Montreal's most cherished chicken eateries. That's right. On Friday, Romados re-opens.
Few food venues can generate as much excitement as Romados, but the hype is warranted. I was a late comer to the Romados chicken scene, only having heard friends dreamily retell tales of greasy chicken glory. Needless to say, when I finally took my first bite, I became a believer.
Romados is not your ordinary Portuguese rotisserie vendor. An intoxicating grease is infused into every grilled chicken, creating a bird that is moist, crispy, and oozing with juices of savory flavour. Fluffy roast potatoes and crispy french fries are a star accompaniment to every order, and can (and should) be similarly slathered with the ambrosia of chicken sauce/grease which has made Romados so famous. Breads, natas (Portuguese custard tarts) and other baked delicacies lined the walls of Romados, enticing customers with ideas of dessert before they indulged in their meal. All that and affordable to boot, with most meals under $10 with incredibly generous portions. Romados has often been referred to as 'crack chicken,' and while no substances are abused in the making of Romados' foods, it is definitely a title that embodies the level of enjoyment people get out of Romados' greasy goods. Its almost an addiction. A delicious and beautiful addiction.
Alas, for the last few months chicken crackheads have had to go without their fix. On January 5th a small electrical fire put Romados on hiatus. While the extent of fire damage was not serious, toxic smoke festered in the walls of the restaurant. The result was an impromptu closing of the restaurant which sent the chicken lovers of Montreal into an uproar of poultry loving proportions. I can't say I blame them.
But all good chicken is worth the wait. And the Romados team has not been idle during their time off. Manny Machado, operations manager of Romados, has promised a renovation of Romados which will please customers. Lack of seating was always an issue at Romados and the reconstruction will specifically address that problem.
Hungry Montrealers, who have had to satiate their cravings with lesser poultry (looking at you Coco Rico), now have to wonder: the store will change, but will the chicken? Romados also now runs the risk of being forever idealized in the past tense. The store may reopen, but the wait may have been too long, as nostalgia may be permanently attached to a chicken that never truly was.