Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler, Oklahoma City, Aug. 7, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Johnnie's has been a tradition of mine since I was around six in Oklahoma City. It is a burger restaurant that started in the 1950's by Johnnie Haynes. My first visit to this burger culinary diamond was in 1977, when I was six, at its original location at Britton Road and Military. Military is a few blocks away from my alma mater John Marshall High School. The location burned in the early 80's and moved down Britton to its current location. This picture was taken that night after having lunch with my family. Lori Leiser Manning, Leslie Johnson Williams, me and Angelia Pope Johnston all were close high school friends and were cheerleaders since junior high. We were frequent patrons of Johnnie's during high school.

I met my sister-in-law Kathy and my three precious nieces for lunch. The weekend was packed with events for the reunion weekend and I knew I wouldn't see the girls much past lunch. The menu, the menu. It's large and can be overwhelming. When you arrive at Johnnie's you order first and are served your drinks then you pick your table. At this location we always get a booth and with my nieces we chose the extra long booth in the front of the restaurant. I actually have eaten in those booths since I was at Eisenhower Junior High School. So it's always fun to go down memory lane in that same booth since the mid-eighties. Fun times.

When your order is ready, they call your name and you go to the pick up counter, pay and get your tray of fabulous, tall, fresh burgers. It's hard not to try something new here but I always get the #9, called a Theta, which is mayo, cheese and Johnnie's sauce and pickles. Since I've become more fat conscience, I order the #9 kids size or on a veggie burger without mayo. This sandwich is so good, I always, always finish it. The bun is huge and always has sesame seeds on it and the cheese is not sliced, it's thick, shredded, cheddar. Mmmmm. Jackie always gets the #1 plus pickle which is a burger, mayo and Johnnie's sauce. The Johnnie's sauce is not barbecue but it's some sort of red, delicious, ketchup style and it's not sweet either. Let's just say it's darn good. Jackie loves the onion rings which are hand cut everyday and battered in a flaky-type style. They are thick cut vidalia onions and are crunchy and Jackie said this visit, were a little greasy, but not me. I love the onion rings with lots of ketchup.

My niece Corie ordered an Italian Flatbread Sandwich which was a pleasant surprise when she shared it with me. It's ham, salami, mozzarella, olive relish, lettuce, tomato, balsamic basil vinaigrette on Herbed Flat Bread and served with homemade potato chips. Wow, talk about a good sandwich, it was delicious. That vinaigrette and olive relish really made that sandwich tasty and unique in my traditional burger restaurant. The homemade chips are really something too. Chloe and Audrey always order the grilled cheese with fries and the kids meal always comes with a package of Teddy Grahams which is a nice touch. The fries here are thick and fresh. There's always lots of ketchup around for Chloe and I. Erin, the eldest neice, ordered the tradition of her father, the #13, a frankfurter with chili and cheese. Man, talk about a sandwich. That joker was big, juicy and smelled really nice. I've had one of those before but it's been over 20 years. I loved it though and it's Craig's favorite too.

I could eat at Johnnie's every day in Oklahoma City and try to hit it every time I visit mom in the city. We visit the Edmond location just about every Thanksgiving week. Johnnie's is a must at any of their locations in my hometown. Be sure to arrive hungry, you might be ready for a nap when you leave.

Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler, 2652 W. Britton Rd., Oklahoma City, 405-751-2565

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