Oklahoma City, OK
Johnnie’s has always been one of my go-to places in Oklahoma City, and for me it has really been the place for hamburgers and veggie burgers. One of the secrets here is their signature Johnnie’s sauce, which I understand that Johnnie developed based on his experience working at the old Split-T on N. Western Avenue. This is a variant of the barbecue sauce found in many Oklahoma “Q” restaurants, although I think the sauce at most barbecue places is both sweeter and tangier than the sauce served here. For flavor, though, I really think Johnnie’s sauce is the best I have found (especially when served on hamburgers).
The biggest downfall at the Johnnie’s Restaurants lately has seemed to be their consistency. For one thing there are several locations (meaning different managers and cooks). Even for a specific location there are variables such as which cooks are on duty. A lot of factors can detract from the hoped for perfection of Johnnie’s burgers including how the meat is cooked and even the bread (I love their sesame seed buns but at times they have changed it to a plain bun–I assume out of necessity at the time). One thing that always seems to be good, though, is the Johnnie’s sauce.
These and other variables apply to the different locations where I have eaten over the years. They do not apply yet to Johnnie’s Express on North May near Quail Springs Mall because of the fact that I have only been here once. In that one time I had a burger and fries which were perfection–everything I remember about Johnnie’s that it is supposed to be. I was extremely happy and of course suspicious that over time this restaurant would have the same variability I have found at other locations. For now, though, I can report that the best Johnnie’s location I have found is this one. I believe it has an abbreviated menu from the regular restaurants, but the all important burgers and fries are served here, and this is what I would recommend at any Johnnie’s restaurants at least for the first visit.
On my initial visit I ordered my favorite burger, the No. 1 Hamburger with Johnnie’s sauce. The sauce is cooked each day for about five hours, and is made with a secret blend of ingredients. Other burgers come with extra ingredients, such as pickles, onions, etc. at no extra cost. Many also like the Theta burger with Johnnie’s sauce, mayo, and pickles (I think the Theta cheeseburger is especially popular–the cheeseburgers are slightly more expensive).
The charcoal broiling method of cooking is probably the most important reason to come to Johnnie’s, though. I even thought the charcoal broiled flavor of the meat was more pronounced here than I have found at other Johnnie’s locations recently, and it made the burger here a special treat. I think Johnnie’s is always good, but my meal at this location was a special treat.
French Fries are my usual side order at Johnnie’s but they are by no means the only one I like (the baked beans have also been excellent at the other locations). The fries I had at Johnnie’s Express were just right in the way they were prepared and lived up to my expectations, as the hamburger did.
The Iced Tea at Johnnie’s is definitely one of the best in town, with the clear ice they use being almost as notable as the tea itself. The tea at the other locations has not been subject to the same variability as the food, and for me this has always been a good choice for a drink (although if you like milk shakes they have excellent ones here).
Summing It Up
Although my experience here was excellent, it is very possible that over a number of visits I would notice the same variability in the food that I have found at the other locations (it is always good, but sometimes a little disappointing in certain things). What I especially noticed about the Express location, though, was the very pronounced charcoal broiled flavor of the meat which has many times not been as evident at the other locations I have tried recently.