Johnny's Diner turns off the grill in Aurora

Categories: Word of Mouth

johnnysoutside.jpg
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.



Location Info

Johnny's Diner - CLOSED

2323 S. Havana St., Aurora, CO

Category: Restaurant


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29 comments
Kris Call
Kris Call

Yes, Johnny's was a regular place for us ever since I was a kid. I understand it has changed ownership & the food is not what it used to be, but it holds a lot of memories for me & my family!

Shannon Cardenas
Shannon Cardenas

They were great 10 yrs ago.Now its dirty and not appetizing.

Michael Beckerman
Michael Beckerman

This is a sad day. This was an incredibly good place to eat. Amazingly good food here - and at very reasonable prices too.

Leah Ryan
Leah Ryan

My family is friends with the original owner of this place. He's super nice and were still in contact with him. Wonder if he knows about this

Jason DrSoul Lewis
Jason DrSoul Lewis

there's always waffle house. hate to see it go though. hopefully it doesn't turn into another chain fast food spot.

Petra Aisha LaVigne
Petra Aisha LaVigne

But dang I didn't know he felt that way about it! Just shut it down.... :(

lesliefry
lesliefry

The sign on the window says "Seized". Doesn't sound like a voluntary closing....

maxplanck0
maxplanck0

Too bad for Johnny's; they must have playin' it close to the edge not to afford a $3k enhancement to a system which assures employee and customer safety. Worse yet that Sheehan's self-serving prose was resurrected for this story; I'd suffered way too much if that already.  

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

I used to eat at Johnny's Diner when it was located on East Colfax and Alton in an old Burger King building (I think it was about 1984).  The food was great but the employees were on the sleazy side. I never had the chance to visit Johnny's after it moved to Havana and Iliff.

Brian Myers
Brian Myers

This sucks. Johnnys was AWESOME. Now where am I going to go for my greasy breakfast hangover cure??

Marcus Netters
Marcus Netters

What the ever living Fuck ... this actually makes me sad

Eric Smiles
Eric Smiles

That place was absolutely disgusting. I drove past it twice a day and rarely saw anyone there. I ate there twice. Crappy, poorly cooked breakfast food served on paper plates with greasy, crusty plastic ketchup bottles on the tables with ketchup inside that was so sour and rancid that it bubbled. That place needed serious help years ago.

Alec Revelle
Alec Revelle

Hard to believe a 3000 dollar upgrade would cause the place to close...there has to be more to it than this...

Jame Koopman
Jame Koopman

The hood should have been grandfathered in. More than likely, someone with money/ or the owner of the property, pressured the City of Aurora to hassle the Johnny's owner to try and force the closure/break the lease in order to get this prime piece of real estate to either sell or lease out for bigger bucks.

Chris Quade
Chris Quade

That's ridiculous that is closed on a fire inspection repair. I wish someone in the community would help this owner out and keep a legend alive.

Billy BlackFeather Drexx
Billy BlackFeather Drexx

My fave memory was how the owner used to give My dirtbag ex-roomie advance paycheck $$$ so he could buy us beer & weed & his crack-head g/f drugs.

Kris Call
Kris Call

:'( This is really sad. We used to get breakfast there every morning while I was in high school. Then when I was pregnant I used to get their breakfast burrito a couple times a week. Now we take our teen girls there on Sundays. Johnny's part of Aurora's history.

mj_s
mj_s

Thank Goodness....They lost their direction years ago......


ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@Brian Myers  

There are dozens of places in town serving greasy breakfasts.

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