Word of Mouth

Johnny's Diner turns off the grill in Aurora

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.

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.

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