Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Johnny Fresco

Johnny Fresco
3-244 Weber St. North
Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 3H4

A couple of days ago a colleague insisted on going to this new place he previously remembered driving by. Of course, he didn't know the name of the place nor the type of food it served, but at least he knew where it was (corner of University and Weber). Turns out it was Johnny Fresco, which about two months ago took over the space where Donut Queen used to be. We did a brief drive by and it looked safe enough so we ventured in for lunch.

The space is bright and airy, but almost a little too sparse and empty. The menu is mostly fast food oriented, with burgers, pitas, fries, and other pick up and bite items. The set up is reminiscent of Harvey's where you order at the counter, a tray is set up and passed along the counter where toppings are placed on your cooked to order burger. The burgers are thick 6oz deals, which take a few minutes longer than the average fast food joint to cook. I ordered the only somewhat different item on the menu, the Greco Pita. This turned out to be a pita with a burger patty cut up and stuffed inside. It was a little dry and a little too full of burger meat for my tastes, even after I loaded it up with toppings, including tzatziki sauce, mushrooms, pineapple, hot peppers, plus the typical lettuce, tomato, cucumber. It came with a side and can of pop, the side being a choice of fries, garden, or caesar salad. Trying to be somewhat healthy, I choose the garden salad. It was served "Subway" style which means the same toppings that go on a sandwich/burger go into a plastic container to make the "salad". I tried some of my colleague's fries but they were not noteworthy (so why am I making a note of them?)

Overall, the food was about average, slightly above Harvey's but slightly below The Grill at University plaza. Most of the clientele seemed to be foot traffic from the local high school. It didn't seem like there was enough volume to support the place but I'm not a restaurateur. However, it was a cold and snowy day so perhaps it was down from the normal levels. Perhaps they were trying to cut costs because it felt like the only heat in the place was coming from the grill. It was freezing inside, and having bare metal chairs didn't help at all. I see no reason to return. The last thing this town needs is another copycat burger/greek fast food place.

Lunch items were $4-6, plus $1.50 for a combo or another $1 for a double burger (far too much meat for the average person).


Rob Drimmie said...

Conestoga College's new campus is in the building where Lincoln Heights high school used to be, so it is possible you saw college kids, not high school kids.

Jennifer said...

I just finished a chicken caesar pita from Johnny Fresco's and I must say it is the best I have had! So good infact I came online to find their website to email the owner! The price is right compared to places like NY Pita ($5.00 with a pop) and 100 times better! After driving past for the last few months without stopping I will be sure to stop in more often from now on!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jennifer, Johnny Fresco's makes some really good pitas! I recommmend the breaded chicken, with a side of Poutine!! MMMmmm!!

Anonymous said...

Johnny Frescos has the bombest Gyros in town.
Dandy's is garbage. It's full of drunks and their service is awful.
Props for Johnny's for sure.

Anonymous said...

i went to johnny frescos last week...i dont know what kind of food others were served...but when i went the food was horrible...actually terrible..i was there on thurs at 12 30 pm lunch and only three people i know...and dont even compare this dive to ny pita..ny pita is cleaner fresher and much much better.

Anonymous said...

I dont know what you people are talking about who say that the food was horrible, I have been frequenting Johnny's since it's opening and I have always had the freshest, fastest and well priced food for the money in fact more so there than any other pita joint in town and the staff are friendly, the atmosphere is certainly warm and inviting for a fast food joint, let's look at Subway for instance, Johnny's place at least has creativity. They are no cookie cutter pita place. The greek owner only gives it more flare and adds a famly touch to the experience. All in all I wont stop going there or recommening it to others. Johnny's rocks!

Anonymous said...

My company ordered the 'create your own' pita platter for lunch and it was awesome. The idea of adding your own toppings and sauces was great (and the owner was very accommodating to a variety of dietary restrictions). Plus the owner/delivery guy seemed extremely nice. I will definitely check out their University & Weber location.

Anonymous said...

Food tasted great but the hygene leaves a lot to be desired. They don't change the gloves very often. When the owner completed folding up my wrap after handling some raw bacon I had enough and asked him to remake it. He agreed with me that he should not have done that and remade the wrap but I'll never go back.