Although Ramblin Roads Family Restaurant is fairly new to Ogden, its sister restaurant — also named Ramblin Roads — has operated in Davis County since 1990.
Martha Celia spent many years as a Village Inn manager before founding a deli and then her own full-service restaurant, according to her daughter, Christine Celia. In a “name our restaurant” contest, a truck driver came up with the winning title of Ramblin Roads, which is located at 544 W. 400 North in Bountiful.
“My mom opened it, and I worked at it my entire life,” said Christine Celia, who manages the Ogden Ramblin Roads, which opened last October.
When her father, Randy Celia, noticed the empty restaurant building at 1720 West 12th St., he discussed the possibility of opening another restaurant with Martha and Christine.
“To be honest, I voted no,” Christine Celia said. The middle of the COVID-19 pandemic was a risky time for restaurants. And, the building would need a major overhaul.
“My mother will be 70 next year, and when you own a restaurant you are here 24/7,” Christine Celia said. “I thought it would free her up to just have Bountiful.”
But she’s glad she was out-voted by her parents. “This location has done really well. For a short stint, we had a restaurant in Clearfield, so a lot of those people followed us here. And some of our Bountiful customers live in the Ogden area, so they followed us here as well.”
She estimates that about 20% of the business comes from travelers coming off the freeway exit or staying at the hotel next door.
“The rest are regulars, and we also get the overflow from Jeremiah’s,” she said, referring to the popular breakfast spot also on 12th Street.
With seating for about 120, the Ogden restaurant specializes in comfort food classics and serves breakfast all day. It has the same menu as the Bountiful location, with breakfast staples such as eight different omelets, ham, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy.
But you’ll also find Ramblin Roads signature dishes.
“Our (eggs) Benedicts are fabulous,” Christine Celia said. The California Benedict is a fresh twist with sliced avocado, diced tomato and bacon topped with hollandaise sauce.
The Chili Verde Smothered Breakfast Burrito is a hearty breakfast option of scrambled eggs, red peppers, onions, bacon, ham and potatoes, rolled in a tortilla and smothered in chile verde and cheese.
“In fact, any of our dishes with our chile verde are popular,” Christine Celia said. “With our food, it’s about the sauces that go on it — our chile verde, our hollandaise sauce and our gravies. We make our own.”
The Utah-style scone, deep-fried and as big as a dinner plate, is another breakfast favorite. The scone is also a base for Navajo tacos, topped with red bean chili, cheddar, lettuce, diced tomato, with sour cream and salsa on the side.
Popular sandwiches include the Malibu — a breaded chicken breast, topped with ham and melted Swiss cheese — and Monte Cristo, a triple decker of ham, turkey and Swiss, dipped in egg batter and grilled, then dusted with powdered sugar.
“In our Reuben sandwich, instead of Thousand Island dressing, we use mustard, which makes it a little different,” Christine Celia said.
There are several different burgers, including the massive Harley Burger with two beef patties, bacon, cheddar and a fried egg. The Pastrami Burger, another Utah classic, is piled with thin-sliced pastrami and topped with melted Swiss cheese.
“After 30 years, we have a menu that our customers have made, because it’s what they’ve kept ordering,” Christine Celia said. “Although we’re known for breakfast, our dinners are excellent, and we’d like to see people try something they don’t normally try.”
The kitchen offers a variety of specials to switch up the usual menu. On a recent weekday, it was chicken enchiladas. Grilled salmon is sometimes offered as a dinner special, served with an avocado relish. “If people tried it, they would love it,” Christine Celia said.
The berry crepes, popular on the weekends, are somewhat of a best-kept secret because they aren’t on the weekday menu. “You can still get them on weekdays, but you have to ask for them,” Christine Celia said.
Because portions are large, Ramblin Roads also offers a “lite fare” option. It’s a smaller version of certain menu items, for $6. “A lot of our early morning crowd go for it, as we have a lot of seniors who can’t eat a large meal.”
The restaurant offers takeout, “But as my mother says, the quality of the food is not the same as when you come in and are served your meal hot on a plate instead of in a Styrofoam container,” Christine Celia said. “If something is wrong with your meal, I’m right here and can fix it and see that you are happy. I can’t do that when you take it home.”
There is also a full-service bar of alcoholic beverages.
“I love the restaurant business because it’s a time for gathering,” Christine Celia said. “People gather together and enjoy good food. We have always been a family restaurant, and we have so many customers who have become like family.”
Weekends are extremely busy.
“We don’t take reservations, but we have call-in seating,” she said. “If you call in ahead of time that day, your name is put on a list.”