Johnnie’s–The Village, OK

Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler
2652 W. Britton Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 751-2565
Johnnie's on Britton Rd.

Johnnie’s on Britton Rd.


Johnnie’s has become an Oklahoma City institution, bringing the quality of hamburgers to a level found at very few places. The Split-T and The Patio were the first restaurants I can remember that served charcoal broiled hamburgers with hickory sauce. Johnnie’s came along soon afterward, and carries on the tradition today with nine locations in the OKC and Tulsa areas.

The hamburgers at Johnnie’s are cooked over charcoal, giving them a distinct flavor. I do not know why this cooking method has not caught on in many places outside Oklahoma, but it is one of the things I really appreciate about Johnnie’s and some of the other hamburger places in the area.

Even though Oklahoma is known for charcoal broiled hamburgers, I have not found any other restaurant that does it as well as Johnnie’s (except for places such as Split-T that were my favorites while growing up). My travels around the country have so far demonstrated that Johnnie’s is not only very good, but also unique in offering the type and quality of burger that is served here. Many places in Oklahoma City come close, but I still think Johnnie’s is the best.

Since I started publishing my own personal ratings of restaurants, there has been a dilemma about how to rate my favorite hamburger, pizza, barbecue, taco, and other casual and downscale restaurants that certainly do not qualify as “fine dining,” but have their own place in my personal “food chain.” Johnnie’s is not one of the city’s most elegant restaurants, but it is one of the ones I would most miss if it were gone.

Burgers

Hamburger with Johnnie's sauce

Hamburger with Johnnie’s sauce

Johnnie’s offers salads, sandwiches, and deli favorites (such as turkey and cranberry) but to me the hamburgers and fries are the reason to go. Although several toppings are available for the burgers, Johnnie’s Sauce is the one I have always enjoyed. Cooked each day on the stove for about five hours, this hickory sauce is made with a secret blend of ingredients, and can be purchased for take-home. I would say this sauce is a must try, and it can be ordered on the side for those who wish to try it. I usually prefer mustard to tomato based sauces, but Johnnie’s Sauce is of such superior quality it can only be compared to a high quality barbecue sauce.

The meat patties are made with chuck, and are higher quality than the average hamburger. The sauce, the charcoal broiling, and the meat all seem to be key ingredients in making this such a good burger.

I have also enjoyed the buns with sesame seeds on top as much as any other part of the burger.

Veggie burger with Johnnie's Sauce and fries

Veggie burger with Johnnie’s Sauce and fries

Many times I get as much enjoyment out of a veggie burger as the meat patty, mainly because I order them with Johnnie’s Sauce (but customers can also get mustard or mayonnaise if they wish). I am sure there are better quality veggie burgers than the ones here, but out of the ones I have tried in the Southwest, I like the ones served at Johnnie’s the best. Honestly, though, I would like just about anything that had Johnnie’s Sauce on it.

Other Menu Items
Johnnie’s offers some other choices if you are not in the mood for a burger. One popular item is the Frankfurter with chili and cheese, similar to the coney hot dogs served at many of the local hamburger restaurants. The frankfurter seemed to be better quality than most, with more meat and less “filler” than many hot dogs, as well as a good flavor. The chili, though, was disappointing compared to the “other” Johnnie’s in El Reno (which I think is the best). This is Texas style chili (not New Mexico chile that is much spicier and either red or green colored).

Johnnie’s menu includes several sandwiches, salads, and other items, and I have tried several of them at the Northwest Expressway location. The one I liked best was the grilled chicken breast sandwich.

Side Dishes
The french fries are almost addictive with just the right amount of grease. The large order is probably appropriate only for a family with hungry kids (if you can eat an order by yourself, I would seriously worry about you!).

Baked beans are a healthier side dish, and just about as good as the fries. Because of tradition, though, I usually order the fries.

Drinks
The Iced Tea is very good, partly because the crystal clear ice is much better than the ice I can make at home from tap water.

When I really need a Milk Shake (such as after a visit to the dentist or other traumatic experiences) I head to Johnnie’s. As strange as it may sound, the milk shake even goes well with a hamburger (I tried it myself just to make sure I could make this statement). I think the one here is better than at Braum’s, but others are welcome to make their own taste test.

Desserts

My favorite dessert is the Blackberry Cobbler, but I must make the disclosure that I have only tried it at the Northwest Expressway location.

Summing It Up
The hamburgers are not very expensive for the quality you get, but if you order any side dishes Johnnie’s becomes just about as expensive as going to a typical restaurant. In my opinion, though, it is certainly an experience that is worth it.

I think Johnnie’s is something that everyone should experience if at all possible while in the OKC area. The Number 5 hamburger with Johnnie’s sauce is probably the restaurant’s most popular item, but either a burger with some other sauce or any other item with Johnnie’s sauce would still be worth trying (especially the veggie burger).

In addition I should add that this (the Britton Road) location has usually given the most satisfying experience to me because of the consistency of the food and the fact that the dining room seems more comfortable than at the other locations. (The parking lot here is possibly in need of a makeover but this is not a big deal). The other locations are usually very good, but this is the restaurant where I can really count on everything being just as I expect them to be.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Hamburgers
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 14, 2018
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Veggie Burger, Hamburger, French Fries, Milk Shake, Tea

Special Ratings
star 5 Hamburger
star 5 Veggie Burger
star 4 Frankfurter with Chili and Cheese
star 5 French Fries
star 5 Baked Beans

Menu (May 2017):

 

Family Pho–Oklahoma City, OK

Family Pho
13325 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 470-0648
Family Pho

Family Pho


Family Pho is a small family run Vietnamese restaurant in a strip shopping center that is really not typical of other such restaurants. They do not serve the pseudo Chinese food found in most strip mall restaurants (the food here is strictly Vietnamese). The flavors are authentic (as far as I can tell), and the menu is closer to the restaurants in the Asian District than to other strip mall restaurants. They definitely do not have all the menu items served in the larger Asian District restaurants, but the pho selections are very good, as are the rice and vermicelli dish choices.

I am encouraged about this type of restaurant because the clientele is overwhelming non-Vietnamese, yet the menu is easy to navigate for both those who are Vietnamese food experts and those who really do not have much knowledge about it. My advice to first time diners would probably be to try the pho–not only because this is the restaurant’s specialty but also because I think this restaurant has a very good version of it.

Pho

Chicken pho

Chicken pho

So far I have only tried the Pho Ga, or the chicken version (chicken breast meat in a chicken broth). This is not a slap at the other types of soup at Family Pho, it is because I find the chicken pho disappointing at many restaurants and I am very glad to find one that is good. The flavor is quite good, but probably more important to me is the fact that the restaurant does not use MSG (which leaves me free from worry about how I am going to feel after the meal).

The chicken pho has a chicken broth and white meat chicken as the main soup ingredient. Other types of non-beef soup are also available, including vegetarian, shrimp, and seafood.

They told me that one of the “secret” ingredients in the soup that makes it so good is cinnamon, although it is not obvious when tasting it, and this is just one of the ingredients used to make the flavors balanced.

Chicken pho with basil

Chicken pho with basil

Of course I like to add the condiments served on a side dish including the basil and bean sprouts.

Vermicelli Bowl

Lemongrass chicken

Lemongrass chicken vermicelli bowl

There are not many suburban restaurants that have a Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl, but Family Pho has it (as well as lemongrass beef). This is also one of my favorite items here, although it did have the shortcoming of not having mint as one of the ingredients. The rest of it, though, is good enough for it to say on my “want to order” list.

Banh Mi

Banh mi

Banh mi

Although I did not order the sandwich myself, I have a photo of it as well as a recommendation to order it.

Recommendations
My personal preference here is the pho because it is quite good, the regular (small) bowl is more than filling, it is less expensive than the lemongrass vermicelli bowls, and this is one of the few restaurants where the pho does not have MSG. I certainly like the vermicelli bowl, but when it comes to ordering something that is better than at other restaurants I think it is the pho.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Sep. 6, 2018
Number of Visits: 6
Best Item: Chicken Pho

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags), Thai Tea, Milk Tea
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Pho Ga (Chicken)
star 5 Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl

 

Menu (Jul. 2017):

 

Hibachi Buffet–Weatherford, OK

Hibachi Buffet
1231 E. Main St.
Weatherford, OK
(580) 772-2408
Hibachi Buffet

Hibachi Buffet


One of my favorite stops along Interstate 40 used to be Young China Restaurant in downtown Weatherford. The food tasted more like what I would find in large cities than in small towns where Americanized Chinese is the standard. The owners were also able to prepare special requests to a limited extent, but mostly I relied on them to tell me what I could order that had more of a Chinese flavor than an Americanized one. These were the same owners who now have Hibachi Buffet, a much larger restaurant with both a menu and buffet as Young China had.

When I went to Hibachi Buffet the owners were not there but there was a large choice of items either on the buffet or available from the menu. I ended up getting what I thought was a very good dish, and I was glad to find out that the flavor seemed to be the same as it was as Young China. It threw me off a little bit seeing the name “Hibachi” and the fact that they serve sushi, but this is still a Chinese restaurant with a good selection of items.

Pork with Garlic Sauce

Pork with garlic sauce

Pork with garlic sauce

My choice of Pork with Garlic Sauce was somewhat influenced by my experience at Young China, knowing that the brown sauces are very good and that the restaurant had good vegetables. Although many of the vegetables were not Chinese style, such as the broccoli and carrots, I was happy with the quantity of vegetables that were served. They had a good flavor, and I particularly liked the fresh mushrooms that were included (the mushrooms were typical of those served in authentic Chinese dishes). The meat was good as well, and I liked the high vegetable to meat ratio.

The sauce was probably the best part of the dish, though, in the sense that this is usually where the restaurants make it too Americanized. This one had a subtle sweetness rather than an overwhelming one, and the flavors were balanced to make it taste Chinese. It was a little bit spicy, and if you want it more so you probably can ask for it (or likely just get some chiles from the buffet).

The Buffet
There was an impressive display of items on the buffet, but if you are not extremely hungry the menu has single items at a good price. I would guess that this buffet is probably better than most, based on what I tried from the menu. They also have sushi items available in the buffet.

The buffet is available both at lunch and dinner.

An Assessment
I am glad that the tradition of Young China now lives on in Hibachi Buffet. Weatherford is a town of about 10,000 people and does not have Chinatown style food, but it does have what I consider to be higher quality Chinese food than in most towns of similar size. This, combined with the price, is a very good deal.

My price category ($) is for the menu items, and if you get the buffet I think it would be $$ (still reasonable, though, compared to many other buffets).


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 13, 2018
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Pork with Garlic Sauce

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: N/A
Buffet: Yes (lunch and dinner)
Special Ratings
star 5 Pork with Garlic Sauce

 

Menu (Aug. 2018):