Johnny Rockets is a 50s-style diner, complete with jukeboxes and servers wearing 50s-style diner attire. The menu is mostly burgers, fries, and shakes, but the "new millenium" version of this diner includes healthier choices and a vegetarian Boca burger option. If someone happens to play the right song on the jukebox, all available staff will jump out and dance, which turns out to be a fun, albeit slightly uncomfortable show (the fun part is the servers who really get into the dance and make it fun by trying new moves; the uncomfortable part is the servers who clearly only do the dance because they have to- watching them is probably the most uncomfortable thing about Johnny Rockets).
We frequent two Johnny Rockets locations in Indianapolis - one in Castleton and one downtown. I have to confess that the service we've gotten downtown has always been friendly, but the Castleton location is a bit spotty. There are a couple of staffers at Castleton who are...a bit dour. But if you happen in on the days when those servers aren't working, the staff is extraordinary, in particular, Lyndsay, who is always enthusiastic and over-the-top welcoming and friendly. So, assuming you're showing up on a day when you get the "happy staff," you'll be greeted and seated practically the moment you walk in the place.
|Results of the Johnny Rockets Ketchup|
Face Competition Leo and I accidentally
There are more great surprises at Johnny Rockets. I'm a believer in the concept of what I call "The Buffer." The Buffer is a separate plate or dish that's used for any sort of condiment, to avoid the food itself getting soggy. I use The Buffer for ketchup for fries, syrup for pancakes, etc. At Johnny Rockets, they bring you a Buffer and then, using ketchup, draw a face in the buffer. The quality and creativity of the face depends on the server's experience and dedication, but Leo and I actually caused a small ketchup face competition during our recent visit, when we complimented our server on having made the best ketchup face we'd had yet, in full earshot of another server. Once he heard our compliment, he came over to say that he'd taught our server everything she knew...and it was on like Donkey Kong.
Another great thing about Johnny Rockets that makes it such a phenomenal place for families, is that they give unlimited refills on drinks and fries. Plus, Monday through Wednesday, from 4:00 to close, kids eat free. When you're feeding a family, value matters. And Johnny Rockets delivers value in spades.
And on our last few visits there, they've given us these sweepstakes cards that we bring back for the next visit. The manager opens up the cards and tells us what we get free. The first time, we got a free shake, which earned a big "meh" from me. But last time, we won two free burgers and they let me swap my burger for a Boca burger, which prompted a "yay!" from me. And if you go to the Johnny Rockets web site and sign up for their e-club, you'll get a coupon for a free burger.
Johnny Rockets isn't a romantic place. It isn't a fancy place. But they deliver an entertaining, delicious meal with high value, which is a major bonus in this economy. Big thumbs up from us!