Johnny's Luncheonette

This afternoon J and I walked to Newton Centre for lunch at Johnny’s Luncheonette. We’d been to the doctor for our annual check-ups in the morning, so taking a few extra hours off to take a walk and go to lunch was a small reward. We don’t even try to go to lunch at Johnny’s on the weekends, when it’s typically packed with brunch crowds, but if we go on a weekday after the height of the lunch rush, we can usually get a table for two without having to wait.

Funky lamps

Johnny’s has a fun retro vibe with its linoleum diner counter, Art Deco light fixtures, vintage décor, and framed black-and-white class photos from “back in the day.” Every time we sit toward the back of Johnny’s Luncheonette, I try to get a picture of a fixture I call the Diner Diver: a pale blue mannequin hanging from the ceiling in a perfect back dive.

Diner diver

The menu at Johnny’s offers reliable lunch and breakfast standbys: classic diner fare. J typically gets the macaroni and cheese, which features penne rather than macaroni pasta with a blend of Romano, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, and I usually get the Jordan Marsh, which features two eggs, a grilled blueberry muffin, and a small fruit cup.

Johnny's Luncheonette sign

Today was busier than usual, so we sat at the counter rather than waiting for a table. As we were waiting for our food to arrive, we heard two women cheering near the coin-operated “claw” machine that stands near the entrance, tantalizing children with a colorful assortment of stuffed animals you can win if you’re deft enough to grab one.

“You won, you won!” the women–presumably a mother and grandmother–cheered as a young boy held a small, hot-pink stuffed Mickey Mouse and beamed. J started clapping, and I joined the women in cheering. “We’ve never seen anyone win anything, and you won” they exclaimed.

Vintage class photos

I don’t know if the boy was old enough to realize his hot-pink prize was probably intended for a girl, but that didn’t seem to matter to him or his mother and grandmother. As the family filed out the door and onto the street, the boy held the toy in two hands, looking at it with an air of overjoyed amazement, as if he couldn’t believe his good luck.