Change is scary. We get comfortable in our ways, whether it’s the usual morning bowl of Cookie Crisp cereal for breakfast or the usual nighttime bowl of Cookie Crisp cereal before bed. So we can sympathize with the people who were emotionally unprepared for the changes at Johnny’s Grill. But change can be good.
Johnny’s Grill was a no frills neighborhood diner in Logan Square for a long time. But that version of Johnny’s Grill no longer exists. There’s a new owner, a new menu, an expansion into a second room that used to be a flower shop, and a new “Mezcalaria” bar in the flower shop space. But even with the changes, the diner style, red counter, and name “Johnny’s Grill” are the same, so on some level the old and new have come together as one. So Johnny’s is new, but not totally new.
You might not be able to get a meal for $6 anymore, but the food is better and still diner-eqsue, if a little more upscale. There’s an Irish twist, which means items like an Irish breakfast and fish ’n chips, as well as standards like a burger or turkey club. And the dishes tend to have a sophisticated twist - instead of generic pancakes, they are cornmeal pancakes with a homemade blueberry compote and whipped cream. Go solo or with another person to sit at the counter like you would treat any diner, or go with a small group to grab a table on the flower shop side.
At 5pm every night, the flower shop bar officially becomes Mezcaleria Las Flores. Translated not so literally, it means a bar within Johnny’s focused on mezcal cocktails. And it’s the cocktail bar, combined with the more elevated food, that make Johnny’s more useful than just an old greasy spoon. Yes, greasy diner’s are great, but they serve a limited purpose, and Johnny’s is now more useful than that. In addition to going for a simple breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can go hang over cocktails at night and still order Johnny’s food.
Change is good. There’s a reason we no longer eat Cookie Crisp every day of our lives.
A good idea to start with whatever pop-tart is fresh that day, particularly if you have someone to share it with.
Cornmeal buttermilk pancakes with blueberry compote, whipped cream, and maple syrup. It’s a serious stack, and we like the cornmeal base. Make sure to get a bit of blueberry and whipped cream in every bite.
We personally like more of a spreadable avocado toast version, but this works if you want something light. Avocado on toast with almond, carrot, and radish.
Salmon benedict is never a bad idea. The breakfast potatoes are also great.
We get an Irish breakfast isn’t for everyone, but man does it do the trick when we want something meaty and greasy. Translation - it’s ideal for hangovers. Sausage, back bacon (basically Canadian bacon), white and black pudding (more variations of sausage), mushrooms, tomato, two fried eggs, and toast.
We know this is a traditional thing, but this sandwich doesn’t do it for us. It’s basically Canadian bacon, giardiniera, and swiss on a flimsy roll. Maybe if you added an egg and called it a breakfast sandwich we’d be more into it.
Damn it feels good to be a gangster. A real gangster-*ss burger with sharp cheddar, dijonaise, pickles, and onion.
Fresh catch of the day with fries, tartar, and lemon. The fish itself isn’t overly fried, but obviously there’s a lot of fried stuff going on.
Want a little dessert or just something to go with your coffee? This is the move.
If you go at night for a drink, you obviously need to try one of the mezcal focused cocktails.