Johnny’s Grill – Traditional Diner Food with a Twist
In my humble opinion, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned burger. And searching for the best burger in town is always a fun adventure. Determining the best burger in town is a constant argument among locals. A lot may argue that Au Cheval serves the best burgers around. That’s most definitely debatable. Johnny’s Grill serves up some of the finest burgers in town. Johnny’s serves those tasty gooey burgers you remember and loved as a kid, but even better now as an adult. The classic double cheeseburger with melted cheddar cheese, zesty dijonaise, crisp pickles and onion at Johnny’s is a thing of dreams.
When you see Johnny’s from the outside it doesn’t seem like much. There’s a beat-up looking sign that read’s, “Johnny’s Grill Lunch Dinner.” The inside space is small, but they utilize it well by only using bar stools and countertops instead of bulky tables. They have glass windows all along the restaurant facing the middle of Logan Square. This prime location not only gets more customers into the restaurant, but also gives them a great view. Restaurants line Logan Boulevard, but Johnny’s stands out because unlike the other spots competing to be the hippest and trendiest on the block, Johnny’s just serves up good grub. True traditional diner food with a twist at its finest.
The space is small and gives you that nostalgic feeling of diners from movies or childhood memories. Red and silver bar stools with no real tables, just ledges against the windows to people watch while you dine. Service is friendly and casual. I’ve always had a great experience with servers here. A no frills restaurant with good food at a reasonable price.
Johnny’s serves food all day and has three separate menus – a special breakfast menu, a kids menu and a combined lunch and dinner menu. For breakfast they serve up everything from housemade pop-tarts to an Irish breakfast and biscuits and gravy. All of your classic breakfast staples are featured on the Johnny’s breakfast menu. You can even submit an idea for a pop-tart flavor to your server.
The kids’ menu is what you might expect. Simple. Offering French toast, Mickey Mouse pancakes and a chocolate chip pancakes option for breakfast and a hamburger, cheeseburger and grilled cheese option for lunch/dinner. The kids’ meals are really cheap at $6.95 for all entrée items, making it not only a delicious dining option for the whole family, but an affordable one as well.
The lunch and dinner menu is what really makes waves at Johnny’s. Whenever I go to eat here I get the double cheeseburger and fries, but that by no means is their only option for lunch and dinner. If you’re looking for a great burger, however, this is a great spot to be. The gooey burger is juicy, cheesy and the dijionaise adds just the right amount of kick. I also think that the buns used are quality fresh-baked burger holders and not the cheap bread that crumbles when you bite into it. This is just how the double cheeseburger comes standard. They have a build-your-own option that gives you free reign to choose from any toppings such as Swiss cheese, mushrooms, avocado, jalapeno, American bacon or Irish back bacon. If you love Au Cheval or the more casual sister Small Cheval, I highly recommend Johnny’s for a burger. In my opinion it’s one of the most underrated burgers in the city. It doesn’t have as much hype as Au Cheval or the price tag to go along with it. Johnny’s serves up delicious food for a reasonable price and you should definitely go before it becomes super popular and crowded.
They have fish and chips, which are a tasty fried catch of the day served with fries, tarter sauce and a zesty lemon. There’s a Cubano sandwich, which is a traditional Cuban delicacy with pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles. Johnny’s a great lunch/dinner option because they even serve tofu banh mi here! This delicious Vietnamese sandwich with pickled carrot, cucumber, jalapeno and sweet chili aioli is a real treat and a rarity to find at a typical diner. But Johnny’s is no typical diner. Yes, you can order diner classics here, but they have much more to offer than your usual places. It’s the type of restaurant where you can bring all of your friends (even the most picky) because there will be something different for each of them to enjoy.
If you’re looking for specials, Johnny’s has just a few. Taco Tuesdays and Thursday night burgers are weekly specials and they have dessert options like coffee and beignets and seasonal pie options. For those looking for soups, salads or chili, they have those too! See a little something to please everyone! They even feature the tofu banh mi to appease your vegetarian friend. So get over to Logan Square and try a slight twist on a classic instead of the trendy restaurants that won’t last the test of time.
– Location: Judging by my selection of Logan Square restaurants I’m sure that you can tell I love Logan Square. Johnny’s is right in the heart of my home across from the Logan Square monument. You can’t get more central than that and there’s convenient access to the Blue Line and other cute shops and restaurants nearby.
– Menu: I’m obsessed with restaurants that have varying menu options. The fact that they have burgers, fish and chips AND banh mi in one location is great. No matter what kind of mood you might be in Johnny’s will probably have a remedy for your hunger pains.
– Price: The prices are very reasonable, especially when you compare them to burger-equivalent restaurants like Au Cheval, which has a delicious burger by the way, but is also on the pricier side.
– Family Friendly: I love that there’s a kids’ menu here. Fun for the whole family!
– Fries: I forgot to mention, but the fries here are great too! They serve up golden and crispy batches of delicious fresh fries with every order. Add them to any entrée and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
– Small dining space: They utilized the space as best as they could, but the fact remains that the actual dining space is on the smaller side. There’s a huge dining countertop by the grill, but it doesn’t make up for actual tables.
– Limited desserts: I’m reaching here, but I may be the biggest dessert fan around, so the fact they only serve pie and beignets (while delicious) is disappointing. They do strive to make up for this, however, with their incredible housemade pop-tarts.
– Curb appeal: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it doesn’t look appealing from the outside. In fact one day when looking for a place to eat I passed up Johnny’s initially because it looked “dirty.”
– Extra charge for burger toppings: I get the burger how they serve it, but if you want to sub Swiss cheese for the cheddar or add mushrooms or bacon you will be charged extra. This is pretty reasonable, but for those who like to really customize their burger be prepared that it could add up.
– Never tried Taco Tuesday: I don’t have anything left to say about Johnny’s other than I’ve never tried their taco Tuesday and I’m sure it’s amazing.