The gist: This newly reopened Southern cuisine favorite gets a space upgrade and raw bar.
The food: Rex at the Royal is the amped-up return of Rex 1516, which was known for laidback-yet-luxurious Southern-inspired fare, amazing wings, and a killer burger. The new Rex at the Royal—which takes up the ground floor of the newly renovated Royal Theater Apartments—transforms Rex into a cavernous space featuring a bottle shop, a stage for live music, and a much larger bar and dining room. With the new space comes a new menu, keeping a few of the old favorites (you can still get that killer burger, but the wings, unfortunately, are gone for now) while adding a raw bar and more elevated mains to the mix.
While a lot of things have changed since Rex 1516 closed to make way for Rex at the Royal, its new location in a much bigger space featuring a performance stage and bottle shop, a few menu staples remain—like the beloved titular Rex Burger. It’s all beef topped with crispy red onions, butter lettuce, smoked bacon, and melty, spicy pimento cheese on a brioche bun. It’s a great centerpiece on a Southern-inspired menu that also features Fish Fry, Smoked Brisket, Skillet Mac n’ Cheese, and other comforting favorites. You can also snag the burger at brunch and add a fried egg for two bucks.
The new Rex at the Royal is just as grand, airy, and as inviting as ever. Whether you take a couple of seats at the wraparound bar or slide into a velvet blue booth beneath the chandelier, there is plenty of ambiance to set the tone. Order from the vast raw bar and craft cocktail menu, or pop in for a late-night visit during the Sunday night speakeasy from 8 to midnight for extra good vibes.