You'll have to get your bacon and eggs elsewhere this morning: Johnny's Diner has closed in Aurora. During a recent Aurora Fire Department inspection, the owner of the decades-old joint was told he needed to replace the fire suppression hood over the grill -- a $3,000 repair. That was enough, Aurora reports, for the owner to decide to get out of the diner business altogether, and close Johnny's. See also: - The real counter culture at Johnny's Diner - Best cheap lunch 2008: Johnny's Diner - Best Diner 2013: 20th Street Cafe
For a taste of Johnny's, here's what Jason Sheehan wrote after a visit there in 2008:
I worry that places like the Empire (or Snooze or Steuben's or what have you) will eventually subsume the joints from which so much of their style and cuisine is taken -- this notion of the greasy spoon without the grease, the neighborhood dive without the neighborhood. And thus, out of guilt and fear and a kind of time-warp homesickness for a thing that has not yet gone, late last week I found myself bellying up once again at Johnny's Diner for my occasional usual: a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, a cherry milkshake and a ham breakfast burrito wrapped for walkin'.
The car-cult decor, liberally flavored with '50s rock-and-roll paraphernalia and Buddy Holly on the radio; the cash-only counter service; the smell of hot fryer oil and charred onions and industrial floor cleaner; and the grease caked on the fryer backsplashes in the open kitchen that has probably been there since before I moved to the neighborhood; the cooks working in stained dish jackets and talking incessantly, loudly, about music and girls and TV and girls and girls; the corners cluttered with the detritus of twenty-odd years of business. Johnny's is a true classic, keeping the flame of real Americana alive. Cheeseburgers and fries and shakes and omelets and patty melts and burritos that aren't even remotely Mexican are pushed through a window beneath the hanging trunk of an ancient Plymouth or Buick hot rod. I love it here, both for the food (that which doesn't kill me...) and for the history of the food -- the long, sturdy connection, passing from line cook to line cook, of an American cuisine that may be altered, modernized, fused and fucked with, but will not ever die.
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Want to get into the diner business? The 2,270 square-foot building and surrounding property, which is on a busy corner of East Iliff Avenue and South Havana, is listed with Joe David at 303-694-6082.