The Old and New of Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse
When you step into Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, it is almost a step back in time, but in all of the best possible ways. It’s no challenge to pick up on the theme in West Chester’s latest hot spot. “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” pipes through the blue-lit bar. A classic picture of Frank Sinatra and his boys in the Rat Pack watches guard over the dining room, waiting for it to fill like their casino concerts back in their heyday. A glamorous slice of classic Hollywood has moved into our neighborhood, and it is primed to pamper us with top-notch service and glorious steaks.
Johnny’s has its very own Rat Pack: Director Michael Gaines, Managing Director Aaron Hammond and Culinary Maestro Ian Jordan. Like Sinatra, Gaines is indeed “The Chairman of the Board.” He and his team don’t just like what they do, they are passionate about providing great service and great food.
Johnny’s is at the heart of Centre Park, a one-stop-shop for business and pleasure. Its modern design is award-winning. Johnny’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. With a chapel down one hall and Holiday Inn down the other, Centre Park is a wedding destination out of a dream. Johnny’s food is the icing on the cake.
The famed supper club of the past has come back to life in Johnny’s vibe and menu.
“The atmosphere here makes us a little bit different,” Hammond says. “You aren’t seeing the ‘40s-‘50s supper club scene anywhere else, especially with the Rat Pack genre. There’s really nothing else like this place around here.”
As a Lakota grad, Hammond knows what’s around here. He remembers what it was like before anything was being built in the area.
“I want Johnny’s to be that neighborhood place where people come after work to get a drink and bring their family for dinner,” he says.
“We have that upscale, casual feel that you are going to get downtown, and you don’t have to go far from home for it,” adds Jordan.
What’s the menu like?
“Steak is foremost,” says Gaines.
“When you come to Johnny’s, I’m going to tell you point blank and period, get the 6-ounce filet ($27) topped with either Chanel or Sinatra ($7). With that, you get the best of the best,” says Jordan. The steak toppers are rich and flavorful cream sauces that put the “Italian” into Johnny’s name.
The Chanel topper comes from the signature pasta dish Johnny’s Chanel No. 5 ($22).
“Johnny’s Chanel No. 5 is rumored to be the favorite dish of Marilyn Monroe herself,” says Hammond.
“You take the lobster and prosciutto and crab, add a nice béchamel sauce and smother your steak with it. It’s awesome. You won’t need to eat for a week,” says Jordan.
The Sinatra topper takes its name from Johnny’s Veal Sinatra ($28), with shrimp, crab, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil in a light garlic and cream sauce.
“You can pair it up, mix-and-match the steaks and the pastas,” Jordan says. “In our price point, you can have both.”
All steaks are served with sides: family style house salad, focaccia bread and choice of potato, pasta or vegetables.
“We don’t do á la carte,” Gaines says.
“The steps of service that are taken out here bar none, but the price point is considerably lower than most,” says Jordan.
There’s a pleasant surprise behind every privacy curtain at this new restaurant with old values. Johnny’s is ushering back an era of glamour and service once thought long gone. For an exceptional experience at an affordable price, swing into Centre Park. Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse just might get under your skin.
Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse at Centre Park is located at 5800 Muhlhauser Road, West Chester. JohnnysItalianSteakhouse.com