Johnny’s Hots

Review by: Michael Stern

Johnny’s is an eatery without an indoor dining room or tables and chairs. Place your order and pay for it at one window, pick it up at a window a couple of yards to the right, then array the meal on one of the metal counters provided at chest level against the shop’s stone block wall and on the pillars in front. When finished – ten, fifteen minutes at most – gather crumbs in the papers in which the food was wrapped, dispose your refuse in a garbage can, and drive away.

The namesake hot sausage is something like a Georgia hot or a half-smoke, its taut casing packed with finely ground meat that is bright orange, manifesting the pepper with which it is generously apportioned. It’s not firecracker hot, but you will glow; and if you like the glow, it’s even better with long hots (peppers) as a garnish. Also available as condiments are broccoli rabe and spinach.

Thanks to my estimable dining companion, Bruce Bilmes, who steered me here to take a break from our day of cheese steak eating, I ordered an item from the bottom of the menu that might ordinarily elude attention: a hot dog and fish cake sandwich. That’s right; snugged into a single sturdy roll is a split hot dog (or hot sausage, if you prefer) with a fish cake smooshed right on top of it. Bruce explained that this particular odd couple has a history in the annals of Philadelphia’s cheap eats, originally popularized by a now-vanished joint called Levi’s. Given its provenance, we got ours with that ever-rarer local condiment, pepper hash. The hash is wonderful. The fish cake and wiener combo? That’s what I’d call an acquired taste.

Directions & Hours

5am - 3pm
  • Monday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Thursday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Friday: 5:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Saturday: 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

What To Eat

Hot Sausage

DISH
Hot Dog & Fish Cake

DISH

Johnny’s Hots Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Johnny’s Hots?

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