Do You Know Johnny G?

Is it really fair to write a restaurant review blog in the middle of a boil water order for the city of Winnipeg? Probably not, but the doors were unlocked so I walked in, sat down, and now here we are writing a blog.

Today, I want to share with you one of my favourite restaurants from many years ago, but I haven’t been here in quite a while so I decided to pop my head back into Johnny G’s restaurant. Located at 177 McDermot Avenue, in the heart of the exchange district near downtown Winnipeg, Johnny G’s right across from a multilevel parkade and a moments walk from the nearest skywalk entrance.

On my visit, I managed to beat the evening rush to dinner. I was seated immediately and provided with a menu that was printed with small font on a dark background in dim lighting. Talk about starting out dinner with a challenge. I was informed that the kitchen was fully functional with the boil water order in effect, but the bar had no ice and they had no bottled water available. I like that they clarified any possible items that weren’t available before I had the chance to order.

The server quickly took my order as there was only a couple tables. She was very kind and recommended that I try the Johnny’s “courage” chilli burger. I paired that up with a pint of Guinness (of course). She returned shortly with my beer that she had poured with almost an inch of foam that was pouring down the sides of the glass. I would have appreciated it greatly if she had taken the moment to wipe the side of the glass personally.

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The wait time for my food was reasonable. I was provided with all the proper cutlery and condiments before the food hit the table which is always greatly appreciated so that I can start eating my meal while it is still hot. Sadly today, I didn’t even get to enjoy my hot food because the french fries were past warm and already moving over to cold. I feel like they would have been perfect if they were hot as they had been seasoned with just the right amount of salt. Unfortunately, the problem wasn’t solved by the server as she never came back to check on my food until I had finished eating.

The chilli burger was a naked burger served coated with chilli. Overall, I was disappointed with my meal choice. I am a fan of a naked burger if the chilli has enough flavour to carry the burger, but this chilli was definitely too weak for that challenge. The chilli tasted like nothing more than seasoned ground beef in a thick tomato sauce. On a positive note, I can say the burger was served nice and hot.

The restaurant was very clean. This is always a good thing. However, the restaurant environment was slightly disappointing overall. The lighting was slightly too high for eating, but not high enough to read the menu. The music was appropriate for the venue, but not loud enough as I could clearly hear the conversation of the people sitting at the tables on the other side of the restaurant.

Final Verdict
This was definitely not the Johnny G’s experience that I remembered and loved. I was really let down by the below expectation food quality. Based on my visit, I am sadly giving Johnny G’s a rating of 2/5. Clean and friendly can’t compensate for cold, bland food. I won’t say I will not come back because they are open until 4am and who doesn’t like restaurant food after the bar, but if I have the choice in the future Johnny G’s isn’t going to be anywhere near the top of my list.

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