Metro, Food

A Staple For Years, New Owners Hope To Maintain Warmth At Johnny’s

Both locals and visitors from afar come to Johnny’s in Newton Centre to experience its famous all-day breakfast menu and warm, local atmosphere. Johnny’s Luncheonette features classic American fare and diner food, with such items as burgers, hot dogs, club sandwiches, Reuben’s, chili, macaroni and cheese, frappes, and rice pudding offered on the extensive menu.

In March of this year, Johnny’s came under the new ownership of Kevin and Karen Masterson, the former owners of Nourish in Lexington. The diner was first opened 21 years ago by John Furst and Neal Solomon as a traditional Jewish deli, and the current owners are looking to maintain that tradition.

“We wanted to incorporate some of those traditional items like the deli sandwiches and soups into our menu,” said Josh Masterson, the son of owners Karen and Kevin.

Among those popular Jewish deli foods, the matzo ball soup is a signature dish, with fresh ingredients made from scratch. Johnny’s also offers popular options, including lox on a bagel, cheese blintzes, and pastrami sandwiches.

The Masterson family has a long history in the restaurant business. Kevin Masterson has been in the restaurant business for over 30 years, and the family used to own over 15 restaurants in Canada—all of them specializing in traditional American food. After moving to Boston, the Mastersons took ownership of Tennessee Barbecue restaurants in Framingham, Braintree, and Peabody. The family has been improving the use of local produce in its dishes. The Farm Plate specials include feature foods from local farms and seasonal produce. Farm plate concepts are also featured in their other restaurants. They also have added house-made sweet potato fries, vegetarian dishes, gluten-free dishes, and more. Johnny’s works with local seafood providers and even gets its beef from a small ranch in Maine.

“Johnny’s offers a wide array of breakfast foods that are served throughout the day,” said Masterson. “The crunchy French toast is definitely a favorite, and it includes challah bread coated with nuts served on a skewer with butter and syrup.”

Also popular are the ’50s-style burger, grilled cheese, and the “Setti Warren” omelet named after the mayor of Newton. This omelet features egg whites with cheddar cheese and spinach.

Located in Newton Centre, Johnny’s is less than a mile away from the Newton campus and just one mile from Upper campus. The restaurant is open until 9 p.m. on most days, and it is looking to attract more nighttime business from college students. Johnny’s is planning to have a “pretty aggressive promotion” and hopes to bring more college students in for business. For those not looking to have breakfast for dinner, there are plenty of other options like soups, salads, burgers, and dinner plates. The restaurant is also looking into accepting the Eagle Card as a payment method, but has no set commitment yet.

Although Johnny’s does not offer formal reservations, it does recommend calling ahead on busy days. Saturday and Sunday mornings are the most popular times to come in, and there could be a wait.

Despite being under new ownership, Johnny’s continues to offer traditional Jewish deli sandwiches and soups, while also serving breakfast all day long. The Farm plate specials bring out a healthier, fresher way of dining that supports local farms and seafood industries. Whether you are looking for lox on a bagel, and omelet for dinner, or a glass of wine, Johnny’s is a popular destination.

Featured Image Courtesy of Johnny’s

October 8, 2014