Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Johnny Rockets

Johnny Rockets on the Levee
1 Levee Way
Newport, KY

One of the highlights of my childhood was going with my parents to a restaurant - any restaurant - that had a jukebox. I was smitten with them. I loved the idea of putting a coin in, pushing some buttons, and instantly hearing my favorite songs. I can honestly say that jukeboxes helped me learn my A-B-C's.

There were times I embarrassed my older sister, whose job it was to read off the song titles to me. For a seven year old, I was very much in tune with the pop hits of the day, and if a song I really liked was on the jukebox, I'd play it again, and again, and again. I remember playing "Crocodile Rock" so many times that the restaurant manager was forced to unplug the machine. My sister was horrified.

Jukeboxes are everywhere these days and don’t elicit the same reaction they did when I was a kid, but the tabletop jukeboxes at Johnny Rockets certainly help keep the wonderment alive.

Johnny Rockets on the Levee

The staff in their retro finery

The soda counter

A nickel gets you three plays on the tabletop jukebox

This international restaurant chain trades heavily on nostalgia, from the checkerboard tiles on the floor to the soda fountain serving up malts, shakes and floats. It's a burgers'n'fries kind of joint that harkens back to the feel-good era of the 1950's, but the inclusion of veggie burgers on their menu plants them firmly into the new millennium.

Mmmm...a rootbeer float

The strawberry shakes are thick and creamy

Even the ketchup is happy

A Gardenburger patty can be substituted for any of the burger options. This is the #11

I really cannot fault Johnny Rockets except to say that their prices are a little higher than most burger joints, but it's not bad value. A big plus for vegetarians is that basically you can substitute a veggie patty for any burger on their menu (although probably not wise to do so with the bacon burger), and their shakes and malts are thick and delicious. Service is cheerful and quick, and the family-friendly dining room is tidy and clean.

Most tellingly, however, is the excitement on the faces of children when they learn that the shiny box at their table plays music. On the day we visited, we heard "Rockin' Robin" played a dozen times. And no, it wasn’t me this time.

Johnny Rockets on Urbanspoon


ShawnS said...

Allegedly, if you play a certain song the staff is required to dance around... but I wouldn't openly test it especially if ordering a veggie burger. Who knows what they'd put on that bun!

Veggie Option said...

I wonder what song it is? Does anyone know?

Emily said...

thx for sharing, i ate there be4 too...i love johnny rockets, going there makes me happy too, there is like a old vintage feeling to it, its nice

Paul aka Johnny Rocket said...

As you know, Johnny Rockets holds a special place in my heart - although I've never been!
One day I'll get there with you both I promise.
P x

Jessica said...

I read somewhere that it's "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees. But I don't know if that's for every location...

Steve (aka Mr Veggie Option) said...

I think Paul has been waiting for this review since you started the entire blog?!

Trixi said...

Their egg salad is yummy and meets my approval. I think I saw them dance to Greased Lightning at the Kenwood store a long time ago.

Jessica said...

Maybe there's some sort of John Travolta theme!?