When Ronn Teitelbaum opened the first Johnny Rockets restaurant on June 6, 1986?on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles?his goal was to create a restaurant where people could escape the stress of everyday life and experience a taste of American dining. The name itself is a nod to this ideal?it combines the star of a heroic American fable, Johnny Appleseed, and the classic, Oldsmobile?s Rocket 88 automobile the global chain now makes itself at home in America's cultural landmarks, including Yankee Stadium and the Flamingo Hotel.
During meals at one of the seven Las Vegas locations, you?ll see signs of simpler times. Cooks and servers hand-dip shakes and cook up a selection of classic American comfort foods, including hamburgers, sandwiches, and American fries served with ketchup smiley faces. Riding sidecar to each meal is a selection of starters that include sweet potato fries, and treats such as hand-made ice cream shakes.
Black bears love strawberries. The bears of Northern California could often be seen wandering through the berry patches surrounding Mt. Shasta, an area favored by travelers since the 19th century because of the charmingly hospitable inns and restaurants found there. Bob and Laurie Manley were inspired to recreate the area’s post–Gold Rush hospitality, and they opened their first restaurant, Black Bear Diner, near those same strawberry patches. Nearly 20 years later, their brand has grown to encompass 50 different locations, each of which retains the founders’ principles of small-town charm and generosity. The menus also preserve the mom-and-pop vibe, with dishes such as secret-recipe sweet-cream pancakes, old-fashioned burgers wrapped in wax paper, and, of course, homemade bear claws. Each location is adorned with a trademark bear sculpture that has been hand-carved by Washington chainsaw artist Ray Schulz, who often grants his works with regional characteristics such as cowboy hats or taxi-hailing skills.