The Chuggin’ Rhino Opens in Pomona

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A promising new gastropub has opened in the former Mount Ivy Pub spot on Route 202 in Pomona. Owner John Rodriguez, a fifth-generation North Rocklander, tells me he’s tired of pretentious restaurants — and he’s frustrated with having to put on a shirt and tie and driving across the river to Westchester to have a good meal. So he’s out to break the rules of what a bar is capable of doing.

He’s hired Dennis Cruz, a former chef at Wasabi in Nyack, and set about to serve fun bar food, with appetizers such as Meatball Martini (pork and veal meatballs in a marinara martini with shaved pecorino) and Cream Corn Bites (nuggets with whole corn kernals served with wasabi mayo) and sandwiches (including hamburgers and hot dogs, like the Chelsea: two hot dogs wrapped in bacon and served with chopped onions, jalapenos and tomatoes with ketchup, mayo, slaw and tater tots) and entrees (how does the Panko Pork Chop grab you? A “bad-ass” double-cut pork chop, panko-breaded and served with blueberry sauce, truffle mashed potatoes and veggie ragu).

The interior looks like a roadhouse mixed with a suburban back yard, with tall tables, a few booths and 66 seats at the bar. A wooden fence and concrete pavers set off the booths along one side of the restaurant and a shingled roof hangs above the bar.

It’s an outdoor theme, he says, because the best times he’s had while having a few beers were with his buddies on the back deck or the porch. So he designed it to feel as though he’s in that scene.

John has high hopes for the concept — he says he’s trying to build a brand here, not just a bar.

Have you been yet? What do you think?

in the meatime, here is the menu: Front and Back.

The 411 is coming. Til then: The Chuggin’ Rhino, 357 Route 202, Pomona. 845-362-2245.

(Photos courtesy John Rodriguez)

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

7 Comments

  1. The Chugging Rhino is the greatest thing to ever come to Pomona!! For a town that lacks a good nightlife spot, its fabulous to have someplace nice and clean sans smokers and with good food!! I had the grilled cheese with bacon and a side of tater tots which were awesome!! The wings were fabulous and the prices were so reasonable I almost didn’t believe the bill. Everyone should check this place out, you will not be disappointed! Good luck John!!

  2. Went to Chuggin Rhino last night with my wife and loved it. We sat at the bar.

    Casual atmosphere, and the food was delicious. We had Hot Wings, Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken, and Pollo _____ (I forget the name of the dish) (with rice beans and plantains). We really liked the creative menu and the kitchen is open late which suits our needs.

    Samantha the Bartender was really nice and the owner, John came over and talked to us for a while. Super pleasant guy. We wish him luck.

    We will definitely be back. Very comfortable place and convenient to home for us.

    (This isnt a shill post – Ive commented many times on this site)

    Just my opinion

    Michael

  3. The Chuggin Rhino will have you coming back for more without a doubt! I moved up to Rockland and after growing up in Brooklyn with some of the best food around and just moving from Ft Greene where you can walk to over 15 five star places I would give the Chuggin Rhino 5 five stars!!!!!! This place makes satisfies my taste for good food without the travel time and is a great addition to the area.

    If you are looking for a place to have a good meal and I mean a meal that is prepared, presented and perfect as I said before you will not be disapointed in any of the plates that Dennis prepares, the place is a great place to go if you just want a few good drinks with a good atmosphere or if you want a five star meal; trust me check the place out and you will find yourself writing a review of how good it was too!

    Thanks for opening a great place and Best of luck to the Chuggin Rhino!!!

  4. Rick Chardonnay on

    BEEN TO JOHN’S PLACE MANY TIMES-NICE PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE AND THE PEOPLE WHO GO THERE ARE GREAT.AS A POMONIAN(is that a word)WE ALL KNOW THERE ISN’T MANY PLACES TO GO IN THE AREA.THE CHUGGIN IS A PLEASENT ADDITION TO THE TWO OTHER PLACES IN “MT IVY”.LOL. GOOD FOOD,LOTS OF TV’S,FUN PLACE.
    GOOD LUCK TO JOHN.
    THERE IS A BAR GOD…………
    RICK

  5. I’ve been to The Chuggin’ Rhino, now several times after my friend brought me in to have a drink and a bite to eat one Saturday afternoon. I was surprised by the neat atmosphere inside, especially the roofed-in theme of the bar. The food is top-notch and the staff is on point. It’s nice to go to a restaurant and actually be greeted at some point during your stay by the owner. Very classy! If you haven’t been to The Chuggin’ Rhino, yet you need to!

  6. Laura Parrella on

    Went to the chuggin Rhino for the first time last night. We had the honey bbq wings,saddle river burgers and my daughter had the mac n cheese. The food was fantastic. Best burgers we have had in a long time. The wings were also very good as well as the mac n cheese. Our waiter was as nice as could be. We will definately be going back and will probably make it a regular place to go.

  7. Went with two buddies the other night. Nice clean bar with a casual atmosphere. Had the Mozzarella sticks, very good not made of processed salty cheese, the Meatball Martini, tasty but the sauce was a tad oily, and the Corn nuggets/bites (forgot the actual name) good not to greasy but nothing overwhelming . We then all ordered burgers. Always a good first test because if you can’t make a good burger then why open! We had a cheeseburger, a hamburger, and a saddle river burger. All were tasty and served on a nice roll. One burger was overcooked but other than that they came as ordered. Only complaint, and it is more of a personal opinion, is that the burgers don’t come with fries, they come with home made chips. If you like a burger and fries then you better order them as a side. I will definitely go back to the Rhino

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