CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 30, 2014) — Watch out Burger King, Hardee’s and Sonic. The University of Miami’s Rathskeller is gaining on you in the onion rings department. The most underappreciated of fast-food sides is now back on the popular eatery’s menu, much to the delight of Coral Gables City Manager Pat Salerno, who unwittingly orchestrated their comeback.
“They’re excellent,” said Salerno. “If you like onion rings, these are as good as it gets.”
Onion ring lovers who agree with Salerno’s assessment of the Rat’s newest side dish can thank the 1973 UM grad. Near the end of a Development Agreement meeting between the University and City of Coral Gables last November, Salerno jokingly lamented that “those delicious onion rings that sustained me through my college years are no longer on the menu” at the new Rathskeller in the school’s Student Activities Center.
UM President Donna E. Shalala promised she’d look into the matter, and when students returned from holiday break in January, the Rat’s menu had an old offering with a new name: SalernOrings.
Salerno taste-tested the crispy delights two days after their debut, enjoying them so much that he ordered a second portion.
The deep-fried delicacy was the city manager’s culinary staple when he attended the U. “I would get a hot dog or hamburger and an order of onion rings. That was the standard for me, my favorite thing to eat at the Rat,” he recalled.
So how do SalernOrings compare to his undergrad fav? “From my recollection, they’re equal to or better,” he said. “If you’ve ever had onion rings before, some are good, and some of them are just bland. These have the right amount of sweetness, crunch, and flavor.”
Which is due in large part to the way they’re prepared. “We looked for a product and a recipe that would take the best advantage of our commitment to fresh cooked-to-order food,” says Rathskeller manager Everett Price. “We think these onion rings, made as each order comes in, provide a much better flavor experience than items that have been prepared in bulk and sitting under a warmer.”