Follow-up on Johnny's Bar and Grill

Some time ago I tried the dinner scene at Johnny's Bar and Grill. It wasn't perfect, but certainly wasn't a terror, either. A follow-up is in order, to be fair. As a friend and I escaped on Thursday for a lunch, we headed "to somewhere we can get burgers." I said, "Hey, let's try there!" as we drove by.

Starving, we ordered a basket of onion rings to split, and we each ordered a burger. My choice was the bacon and bleu cheese, always a favorite. They offer a nice variety of side choices, and the waitress was happy to handle my request for half regular and half sweet potato fries. Service was swift for the small lunch crowd; about half the inside tables were full, and two tops were occupied outside. The outdoor seating isn't in a fabulous spot (looking out onto Center Street and across to a t-shirt printing shop) but it's a nice outlet for the space.

What you don't expect is that Johnny's will actually have a great feel to it. The place is warm and inviting with just enough spark to not look dull but fall well short of "oh my god that's gaudy." The place is positively spotless, too.

Our rings arrived in no time. Some of the best rings I've had, with medium sized ribbons of sweet onions in a nice light beer batter. Probably food service for they appeared too uniform to have been done by hand. But I didn't ask, so who knows. All I can say is YUM.

The burgers arrived, on neat darkly colored stoneware plates. Along with a generous portion of fries, the half pound burger is on what appears to be a house made bun. The burger looked small, but that was only because the bun was a little oversized. But it turns out that was okay, for these light and flavorful buns (which are not overly thick which is a plus) were just the perfect match for the burger. The meat was well spiced and of good quality. Fresh, flavorful toppings on the burger made a great presentation. And this bacon bleu had some fine bacon on it. No fried-to-a-crisp thin strips here, but thick, wide slabs of perfectly cooked, pressed bacon with some crumbles of melting bleu cheese.

It's making me hungry just thinking about it again!

The fries were crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Drinks were refilled promptly (no, not adult beverages; we were headed back to work!). Couldn't ask for a better lunch, really.

We left very happy, remarking that we needed to come by after work because it looked like the perfect place to hang out and have a drink. We aren't the only ones that think that, for as I drove by about 6pm that night, the place was at capacity with people enjoying a little pre-weekend wind-down.

I'll have to let you know how that goes when we try it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. Really good food for the value. And yes, spotless and pleasant dining room. Recently, a waitress told me they get their breads from Cascade, which accounts for the quality of the burger buns. Good to know they support local vendors. A great option in Salem!