I spent many years living south of the river before moving to Ellenbrook, and my parents still live in Huntingdale so anything close by is always handy for a family meal. This weekend was my mum’s birthday so we headed down to the recently opened Johnny’s Burgers for a celebratory Saturday lunch.

Johnny’s Burgers is located at the Vale shopping centre, and had its origins as the token cafe inside the Vale itself, but has now moved to its own premises on the other side of the car park (just down from Nando’s, if you’re familiar with the area). It’s simply fitted out, but perfectly functional and what more do you need from a casual burger joint? It’s also wheelchair friendly with a disabled parking spot right outside.

Johnny’s Burgers is open from 11am Tuesday to Sunday, and food can be ordered to eat-in or take away.

Starting with some sides, here’s a serving of fries ($6.90). I would have liked these a bit crispier, although I’m not a big fan of fries so what would I know? Next time I’ll try the chili cheese fries ($9.90), a dish that is hard to find in Perth for some reason.

Deep fried cheese is one of my favourite things, and it makes me sad how hard it is to find a simple mozzarella stick. I was excited to see them on the menu here, although using the American staple Monterey Jack cheese instead ($6.90). They didn’t disappoint, although I prefer the taste (and stringiness) of mozzarella. And something to dip them in would have been nice . Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers.

I love onion rings, and these were awesome ($6.90) – light, crispy and not greasy. Great stuff. They also sell spicy buffalo wings with ranch dressing in quantities of 6 ($9.90), 12 ($15.90) and 24 ($24.90).

American Milkshakes are available for $7.90. The flavour selection is a little limited – chocolate, vanilla, banana, strawberry, chocolate banana and bubblegum. I’m usually a caramel guy when it comes to shakes, but I’m happy to try anything – well, perhaps not the bubblegum. They also sell a root beer float ($5.90).

You can tell a shake is going to be thick when the person making it has to repeatedly bash it with a big plastic fork so it can be blended, and these shakes didn’t disappoint. we tried chocolate and banana, and there was certainly no skimping on the flavourings or dairy products.

The hardest bit about dining at Johnny’s Burgers is deciding what to order. You can see the whole menu on their Facebook page, and it’s well worth a read. Some of their  interesting creations include:

  • Magic Mushroom ($12.90) – beef patty, American cheese, grilled mushroom & garlic mayo
  • The Big Buffalo ($14.90) – deep fried chicken tossed in hot sauce, American cheese, cream cheese & coleslaw (this sounds awesome!)
  • The Cure ($15.90) – 200g of bacon, 200g of bacon-infused beef patty, American cheese, onion rings & special “cure” sauce!
  • Honolulu Lulu ($14.90) – beef patty, American cheese, grilled pineapple, teriyaki beef, lettuce & tomato.
  • Ching Chong Burger ($12.90) – beef patty, fried egg, Sriracha hot sauce, mayo, lettuce, tomato & coriander.

If you fancy something in a different shape bun there’s a classic hot dog ($6.90), Chicago Chili Dog ($9.90), Philly Cheese Steak ($11.90) and Pulled Pork & Slaw ($11.90). There’s also a vegetarian burger ($12.90) and some smaller items suitable for kids.

So down to business. Mum chose “The Troublemaker” ($11.90), a relatively “simple” cheeseburger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard & mayo (and pickles on the side).

The “secret recipe” patties used in all burgers were really tasty and juicy, certainly up there with other “gourmet” burgers around town. The bun they use is spot on, lightly toasted and firm enough to hold everything together and keep the juices in, but also soft on the inside.

Renay chose the “Down Undaaahhhh!!!!” ($13.90) which adds beetroot, a fried egg and barbecue sauce. Yes, this was huge.

Dad chose the “Good Ol’ Chicken” ($13.90) with a grilled chicken breast, pineapple, cheese, lettuce, tomato and herbed mayo. The quality of the chicken was a highlight here.

Of course I went for the chili-laced creation, the “Chili Chili Bang Bang” ($14.90), which adds fresh onion, jalapenos and secret “Chevy Sauce” to the basic cheeseburger. This was a great burger, the creamy sauce had a real kick and the serving of jalapenos was very generous.

There are two “challenge burgers” on the menu – the Burgerzilla ($49.90, to be ordered a day in advance) with 1kg of beef, stacks of bacon, salad & two serves of fries, and the Demon’s Revenge ($24.90) with double beef patties, American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and secret “HOLY S**T” sauce. Had I not recently had stomach surgery I would have definitely tried the “Demon’s Revenge”, but I didn’t feel like ending up in hospital so I resisted. Maybe one day…

Show your love for Johnny’s Burgers by buying a shirt.

We arrived as the roller door flipped up on a Saturday morning, and had no issues with the service although the arrival of the food was a little staggered, and I wonder how they go when the place is packed – there are quite a few complaints on Urbanspoon and Facebook about long waits in the evening, hopefully these are just teething problems and will be sorted out soon.

Based on our experience today, we’d all be more than happy to go back – next time I’ll be trying the Chicago Chili Dog or The Big Buffalo burger. It’s also great to see a place like this in the suburbs, and you can even pop across the road to The Roastery for a coffee afterwards.