This week’s That’s Lunch review is about Papa Rick’s Snack Shack at 2005 N. James St. in Rome. Reporter Phil Vanno and his wife Chelan ate there recently and had this to say.
About the restaurant: Papa Rick’s Snack Shack is a family-operated business that is owned by Rome firefighter Rick Tharrett. Its season runs from April 1 to Oct. 10, and it’s open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily from May to August, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in April, September and October. It offers many grilled favorites such as burgers, hot dogs and sausages, as well as sandwiches, wraps, chili and various ice cream treats. Call ahead take out is available, and live music and family events take place throughout the summer.
What we ordered: Phil ordered the “Firefighter’s Favorite Chicken Sandwich” ($5.19) a side of potato salad ($2.49) and a small vanilla shake ($3.29). Chelan ordered “Papa’s Pulled Pork BBQ” ($5.09), a side of macaroni salad ($2.49) and root beer float ($4.49).
Their review: When Chelan asked me if I minded changing our plans and grabbing something quick at a place she found on Yelp where we could eat outside, I, like any smart husband, trusted her judgment (read: shut my mouth and went with it.) Luckily, when we rolled up on Papa Rick’s via a dead end off of North James Street, and his quaint, firefighter-themed snack shack appeared before us, I was instantly won over.
It was the perfect day for outdoor dining and the set up at Papa Rick’s was very inviting with plenty of shaded tables, a play area for kids, a covered performance area for live music and a big red fire truck that had been literally put out to pasture. After a quick scan of a plentiful menu, we both settled on our meals which we ordered at the counter and were called out over the loudspeaker for us to pick up in less than 10 minutes.
Right out of the gate I was happy to see that our respective side salads were made with liberal amounts of mayo and not that gross, tangy, shiny, mayo-dressing goop that is the bane of my existence. Papa Rick also won big points for including tuna in the mac salad and hard-boiled egg and celery in both. We enjoyed.
My chicken sandwich was simple and delicious. The chicken appeared to be deep fired in a tasty batter (you can order it grilled as well) and was just the right size and thickness. Topped off with lettuce, tomato, your choice of cheese (swiss for me) and mayo on a large lightly toasted bun, it hit all the right notes.
Chelan was also a fan of her sandwich, saying the pulled pork was shredded to her liking and the tangy barbecue sauce saturated the meat the proper amount. Her root beer float and my milkshake were both tasty standard fare, and I was happy that mine came nice and thick without having to specify (or pay extra).
Our favorite part: We really loved how open and inviting the outdoor space felt, and all of the firefighter memorabilia that represented Papa Rick’s other gig was a nice touch. I would love to come back and kick back in the row of Adirondack and rocking chairs, order a big ol’ sundae and catch a band one weekend.
Could be improved: While we were plenty full when we left, the side salads appeared a little small for the price. We were however, unaware there was an option to make your meal into a combo for $3.39 extra which would have included our salads and a soda for less money. Chelan also thought $4.49 was a bit pricey for a root beer float.
Rating (out of 5)