Johnny’s Burgers and More: the other, better Johnny’s [closed]

by | May 1, 2008 | 9 Comments

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Johnny’s Burgers and More is located at 1023 S. Meridian Ave in Oklahoma City (map). They are open for lunch Monday through Friday.

PLEASE NOTE: Johnny’s Burgers and More is no longer in business.

One of my favorite things in life is a really good burger. One of my other favorite things in life is lunch. Every now and then I get real crazy and think, “I wonder what would happen if I had a really good burger at lunch?” That’s when I head to Johnny’s.

Johnny’s is the perfect place to marry these two great loves. It’s not shady (but there are several questionable stores in this same shopping strip), like a lot of the lunch spots I frequent, but they do make a good burger.

Johnny’s sits in a shopping strip on south Meridian, in between the interstate and SW 15th. Johnny’s has been around for quite some time, and it has recently changed ownership … for the better. The previous owner made a decent burger, but more of the thin, onion-fried sort. The previous owner was also a quirky, not-so-friendly guy, who swore he made the best gyros on the face of the Earth. In fact, he said he served them at some local Greek festival and won prizes. Who knows, it might be true. I just know he didn’t like jokes.

The new owners, however, can handle a few jokes in the line and will fire right back at you. In fact, we were making fun of a friend of mine for looking particularly rough one day, and the lady taking our order started joining in and asking him if he had even gone to bed the night before. I like a hostess that can have a good time in line.

The restaurant interior has changed as well. The walls are brighter, and I believe the service is faster. The best change, though, is that the burgers are bigger and better.

The menu here is pretty typical for an Oklahoma burger joint. Burgers of different sizes and varieties abound. You can find burgers showcasing cheese, jalapeƱos, bacon, onions, chili, and of course, there is a “theta” burger. I had never heard of a theta burger until I moved to Oklahoma City. In fact, no one can tell me where it comes from, what it means, or anything. If you know the origins of this burger, please let me know. I think it is an Oklahoma City thing. Maybe it originated as the 8th item on a menu, and the inventors named it “theta” after the 8th letter in the Greek alphabet. The theta symbol is also a symbol of death, and is a link to the Church of Scientology. I’m reaching here, I know, but there has to be a meaning somewhere.

Anyway, they also serve hot dogs with various toppings, a few salad offerings, sandwiches with various fillings (fried and un-fried), and now they even have a few BBQ offerings, introduced by the change in ownership. I still refuse to review BBQ, as I stated in my Pappy’s review, in an effort to ward off the BBQ Nazi’s. However, I will say that friends of mine who have ordered the BBQ offerings here haven’t been impressed. They say, “stick with the burgers.”

The burgers here are really good. They feature hand-formed fresh beef, very similar to what you would find at Jamie’s Grill. These are pretty large and thick patties as well. I went the other day with a Johnny’s first-timer and warned him that a single would be enough. He wouldn’t listen. I’m sure visions of paper-thin onion burgers were dancing in his head as his soul weighed my sage advice against the hunger pangs he felt deep in his gut. Sure enough, he ordered a double with a side of tater tots (which is a side big enough for four people to share). Needless to say, he couldn’t finish his meal. By the way, the onion rings are hand-battered and they run out on occasion. So, if you are dead-set on onion rings, get there before the big lunch rush.

Any drawbacks, you ask? I wish you could get a burger cooked medium or medium rare, like you can at Irma’s. But alas, every burger will be cooked thoroughly. Also, some of the tables have had the laminate removed from the fake wood-grain picture top, leaving behind a weird, sticky film. These tables are easy to identify as they are the longer, four-seaters that have duct tape around the edges to hold down the fake wood-grain picture. I avoid these tables. Something about a sticky table seems to scream hepatitis.

My other complaint is that the side items are too large. The daily special usually includes a burger of some variety, a drink, and side item for around $5.99 – 6.99, depending on the offering. I would cut it down a buck and cut the fries or tots in half. Seriously, who needs 2 pounds of fries?

Johnny’s Burgers and More is, in my opinion, the best Johnny’s in town. Go try it out for yourselves, avoid the duct tape tables, and let me know what you think.

Johnny's Burgers & More on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Andrew Littleton on Thursday, May 1st, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Kevin says:
    May 26th, 2008 at 10:27 am   

    > Seriously, who needs 2 pounds of fries?

    Just about everybody but you. 8^)
    Invite me along next time, I’ll pick up your slack jack!

  • kelley says:
    July 14th, 2008 at 2:38 pm   

    theta burger….

    even though i am an OU Pi Phi and it pains me to give them credit…

    It’s named after the Kappa Alpha Theta sorortiy…

    mayo, cheese, hickory sauce and pickle, if i remember right…

    but the best theta may have been at the boomerang in norman, OK

  • kelley says:
    July 14th, 2008 at 2:39 pm   

    ok sorority……ha!

  • Andrew says:
    July 14th, 2008 at 9:35 pm   

    I’m so happy to finally know this bit of OKC trivia. Thanks Kelley!!

  • Bizzle says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 2:19 pm   

    So…I finally made it to this place. I had vaguely remembered the review on it here at eataround. I had been wanting an onion burger all weekend and I knew when I walked in this place that it was not to be a true onion burger. The name Johnny’s makes me think of the places in El Reno or Yukon. However, the burger was decent. Since I was wanting an onion burger, I should have stuck close by with the Old Time Grill on South Western. I can see the appeal of Johnny’s to professionals (to which there were many today) at lunch ) who want a decent burger without the onion burger smell. I’m am anxious to try Bunny’s, I’ve heard of it a lot lately!

  • Bella Hoopes says:
    March 10th, 2009 at 11:19 am   

    Johnny’s has changed. As of today, 3/10/09, I noticed it is Bunny’s Onion Burgers. Smells good from the outside. I work down the way and will try it later this week.

  • Tim says:
    March 10th, 2009 at 4:03 pm   

    @Bella thanks for the info. we have a review of Bunny’s on our site if you want to check it out here: When you try it, leave a comment on that review and let us know what you think.

  • Margo Pitts says:
    May 25th, 2009 at 11:17 am   

    Others confirmed what I remembered. The Theta Burger originated on the Split T menu.

  • Tommy says:
    December 14th, 2010 at 11:23 am   

    Hey everyone! The Theta Burger did not originate at the Split-T. It originated from the Town Tavern on campus corner in Norman in the 30s or 40s and was invented by the owner, Ralph Geist, a long-time Oklahoma restauranteer who went on to open the Classen and Lady Classen Cafeterias in OKC. The burger was named after the Beta Theta Pi sorority who would call in huge delivery orders and Ralph made a burger just for them that they all agreed upon to make their order less complicated. The burger was so popular that he put it on the menu. The main thing that made it unique was Ralph’s hickory sauce recipe. I get all this info from Ralph’s nephew who has shown me an original menu from the Town Tavern in the 40s that lists a “Special Theta Burger”. The Theta had the hickory sauce, mayo, and pickles. No cheese came on it unless requested. Ralph sold the Town Tavern probably by the early 50s and took his recipes with him. The woman who bought it was getting hounded by customers who demanded that the Theta burger return so she convinced Ralph to impart the recipe to her as well as other restaurant advice. The Split-T Theta burger has no connection to the original. By the time it opened the Theta was a fairly common menu item (I mean it was, after all, just a burger with hickory mayo and pickles) but the hickory sauce was apparently key. I’m currently talking with the family to try to find the original recipe.

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