My first encounter with a Johnny Rocket’s was back in about 2000 in Hoboken, NJ. I liked the concept of a throwback, old school, all-American diner/burger and shake joint. Now that burgers and this restaurant concept is high on NYC foodie radar, I felt like it was time to give respect to a company that was ahead of its time.
My wife and I popped into the Third Avenue & 56th Street location with a special deal that my wife nabbed for $10 or something crazy. Basically we got to choose any two burgers, any two types of fries or onion rings, and any two shakes.
The place was booming with feel-good music from the 50s and early 60s. The decor was classic chrome and vinyl. As a fan of this era (cars, music, attire, etc), I was in a happy place.
I know this place is a chain, and it’s not Jean le Roquet or some French burger bistro. But let’s be honest here. If something tastes good, what the fuck does it matter?
Check out how delicious my classic double American cheeseburger looks, with jalapeños, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and chopped onion looks. This place is so far the ONLY burger joint in NYC that knew to put a smear of mayonnaise on the bottom bun to prevent burger juice destruction. I was impressed.
The patties were just a shade overcooked for my liking, at medium-well instead of medium, but then again I was never even asked how I’d like my burger cooked. You may have noticed, I went with the onion rings. They had a nice crispy batter on them, they were well seasoned, not too big, and not mushy inside. Perfect for me.
My wife got the “12” burger, which I believe came with sliced onion and cheddar. She also opted for cheese fries, which were pretty nice as well.
Shakes are presented in the classic 50s/60s style, in old style Coke glasses with the metal glass holder, and a stainless mixer cup that contains some overflow extra shake. These were filling! But delicious. I went with a vanilla-chocolate mix, and my wife went with a chocolate-strawberry mix.
Overall I will just say this: the prices are extremely reasonable for NYC food, and if you’re a food elitist then you may be missing out on good food. They do a good job here so don’t walk on by just because the name is synonymous with the food court in the mall, ESPECIALLY if you score a sweet deal like my wife did.
930 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10022