Most 24-hour diners are either truck stops with lousy food or Denny’s with, well, lousy food. Johnny V’s is neither. Instead, you get a family friendly, clean, out of the way, small diner that seems to defy the laws of small town diners by staying open 24-hours without having highway access or strong city nightlife around it.
Location: In a Milwaukee suburb not far from the state fair grounds, we found Johnny V’s while looking for houses in West Allis. Its on a main drag but its certainly not on the highway like your typical 24-hour truck stop. There is a very small parking lot, so if you’re a trucker looking for a good eat, you’ll have to find some parking elsewhere.
Atmosphere: Inside feels like your typical sit-in family diner with clean tables and an attempt to feel like a 50’s diner. We only went a few times, but the waitstaff we had were seasoned waitstaff but not bitter.
Food: Not as cheap as Denny’s but reasonably cheap. And tasty! They’ve got great midnight food like cheap burgers, shakes, and breakfasts, but they’ve also great meat lasagna and meat loaf for more classic dinner dishes.
They even have pizza. Honestly, we didn’t try it. There is a Pizza Shuttle near where we live, and that is by far the best pizza joint with the exception of Johnny’s Pizza in Brooklyn, Connecticut (yes, I get around a lot).
Their shakes are amazing. If you like the old 50s diners, you’re out of luck. There shop looks like it from the inside, but outside its just your typical restaurant. If you’re looking for 50s style shakes, you’ve hit the jackpot. I dig my shakes, and it shows. They are serious about their shakes, and it shows as well.
Carry-Out: They even have carry out 24-hours a day. Deliveries too, until 9pm!
Overall: A great place to take your kids during the day or stop by for a midnight meal with friends. Its not filled with truckers like other 24-hour places like Johnson’s Corner in Colorado off I-25, and its never advertised on TV or radio. Their clientele is mostly locals sprinkled with folks like us who just stumble upon it.
For a 24-hour diner that does everything from breakfasts, burgers, pizza and full meals like meatloaf, Johnny V’s does a great job. Usually when a restaurant tries to do it all, they fail at it all. Not here. Again, their parking lot is small and did not appear to allow for large trailer trucks. This might not be the case. There may have been parking in the rear, but we didn’t see it.
The eats are reasonably priced and do not taste bad at all. Denny’s, you get what you pay for. Here, you get more than that. The only other 24-hour place we know of in the area is Ma Fishers and George Webb. If you know these places, you know that their nighttime dining is geared toward drunk college kids. I do not get that impression here.