When he saw the Roadfood film crew ooing and ahhing over John’s stupendously dressed hamburgers, an overall-clad fellow in a nearby booth leaned over and advised us, “This is the best blue-collar restaurant in Palm Springs. When I am working in this part of town, I eat here every day. Sometimes twice a day.”
Prices are blue collar, that’s for sure, with full-scale dinners (after 4pm) in the $10 range and enthusiastically dressed burgers costing around $5. The cuisine is blue collar with an old-school California twist.
Hamburgers are the specialty. One-third pounders are cooked on a charcoal grill, coming off plenty smoky if not dramatically juicy. Whatever succulence might be missing from the meat is more than compensated by resplendent topping choices that include avocados, mushrooms, chipotle mayo, 1000 Islands dressing, chilies, and, of course a panoply of such standards as fresh leaves of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and pickles. Top of the burger line is known as a “Heartstopper” which adds bacon, sausage patties, and a fried egg.
Palm Springs is not a major breakfast town, but John’s opens at 6am and offers hearty ones (all day). There are eggs and omelets in every configuration, breakfast burritos, and cinnamon roll French toast for which a roll is sliced horizontally into three discs that get battered and grilled.
Service is semi-do-it-yourself. Order and pay for the food at the counter, where you are given a tray, utensils, your drink, and a number that tells the waitress where to bring the food when it has been prepared.