Johnny’s Cafe

Review by: Michael Stern

Johnny’s has been Omaha’s steak house since 1922. At the edge of the stockyards, it was once a café for cowboys and cow shippers. Now it is a grand-scale restaurant with well-upholstered chairs, broadloom carpets, and modernistic chandeliers. More than its steaks, which are aged on premises and can be pretty darn good, especially when draped with the kitchen’s dark mushroom gravy, we love Johnny’s baronial ambiance, especially because it is balanced by service that is as folksy as in any small-town café, courtesy of waitresses unafraid to scold you if you don’t finish your T-bone but then want dessert.

Beef is king in this dining room. Steaks, chops, ribs, and liver are the things to order. You can splurge at dinner and eat plush filets mignon or chateaubriand for two, and pay accordingly — easily $100 for a couple; or have yourself a hot beef sandwich at lunch for under $10.

Dessert is corny and ingratiating, including crème de menthe sundaes and clear blocks of Chuckles-colored Jell-O. Turtle pie is a weighty affair – a frozen block of the same ingredients used in Turtles candy, with the addition of ice cream: chocolate, nuts, and caramel. Johnny’s serves it still fairly well frozen, so you will have all sorts of merry fun trying to fork off a piece. Once defrosted, It is as gooey and sweet as candy, but richer.

What To Eat


Quesadilla Soup

Onion Rings


Omaha Strip Steak

Filet Mignon


Johnny’s Cafe Recipes


What do you think of Johnny’s Cafe?

One Response to “Johnny’s Cafe”

Chris Poole

August 2nd, 2008

I try to eat at Johnny’s once a month at a minimum. I only order the chicken fried steak, not because their other food is bad, but because the chicken fried steak is so good. It is the most tender chicken fried steak I have ever eaten. It’s not served with the typical white gravy, but instead served with a burgundy mushroom gravy that I could literally drink from the gravy boat.

Presentation is like every other old-style steak house in Omaha; none of the usual food touches, but we don’t go for fancy in Omaha. We want our food, we want a lot of it, and we want it to be reasonably priced. The waitresses are friendly, prompt, and playfully sassy. For dessert try the bread pudding with Jack Daniel’s sauce. It’s pretty good.

If you’re in Omaha you can also check out Cascio’s, Piccolo Pete’s, Anthony’s, and Gorats. These are my favorite “old-style” Omaha steakhouses. Can’t go wrong at any of them.


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