Now Open: Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse
Believe me, there were no tears shed by me — no pun intended — when the mediocre chain restaurant the Machine Shed in Olathe (my 2002 review of that joint is here) closed four years ago. Since then, the building was razed so that the company that operates the Machine Shed restaurants, the Illinois-based Heart of America Group, could build a new hotel (a very nice Hilton Garden Inn) and another one of their brand restaurants, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. Johnny’s opened August 20.
Unlike the Machine Shed, which made the low-rent Cracker Barrel restaurants seem almost classy, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse at 12080 S. Strang Line Road boasts a tastefully designed bar and dining room where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served.
Johnny’s takes reservations, too, that is, if you can get anyone to answer the phone in the restaurant. The phone number is routed through the hotel switchboard and transferred over to the hostess station. If no one is standing there, well, good luck. And if someone does pick up the phone, getting questions answered is also something of an ordeal. I called one day to find out what time the restaurant serves breakfast. The hostess hemmed and hawed and finally said, “Did you want me to ask someone?”
Well, yes. While I was waiting on hold, the cheery recorded message had an upbeat male voice announcing, “Service here is a commitment!”