The hamburger, America’s national meal, has always been served during Independence Day cookouts and the competitive-eating portion of presidential debates. Wrap your hands around an American tradition with today's Groupon: for $7, you get $15 worth of burgers, shakes, and diner fare at Johnny Rockets, redeemable at locations in Birmingham and Hoover.
Johnny Rockets, founded by fashion retailer Ronn Teitelbaum in 1986, harkens back to America's culinary past with mammoth, juicy burgers, hand-dipped milkshakes, and malts blended with real powder. Chefs hand press a third pound of seasoned beef into each savory hamburger, including the Smokehouse with cheddar cheese and barbecue ranch sauce, which slaloms down stratas of thick-cut bacon and onion rings ($5.99). Glistening plates of cheese french fries ($3.69) sport an optional protective layer of chili to shield potato slivers from farmers who want to put them back in the ground. Streamliner burgers ($5.59) curb vegetarian cravings with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, and cooks blanket Nathan's hot dogs in all-meat chili, chopped onions, and slivers of fresh grated cheese ($4.49). Bow-tied servers concoct creamy milkshakes in such lip-smacking flavors as strawberry, Oreo, and chocolate peanut butter, and hot-fudge sundaes ornament two scoops of ice cream with hot fudge, whipped cream, and toasted almonds ($4.19).
When Ronn Teitelbaum opened the first Johnny Rockets location in 1986, his goal was to create a restaurant where people could escape the postmodern blues of everyday life and experience a taste of time-honored Americana. The name itself is a nod to this ideal—it combines the star of a classic American fable, Johnny Appleseed, and a classic car, Oldsmobile’s beefy Rocket 88. The chain now makes itself at home in America's cultural landmarks, including Yankee Stadium and the Flamingo Hotel.
During dinners at the famous burger joints, you’ll see signs of simpler times, starting with the cooks and servers—dressed head to toe in white, including white paper hats, they look like they’ve fallen out of a wormhole from the 1950s ready to sling shakes and cook up some eats. Behind a stainless-steel bar lined with red leather stools they tend to their traditional diner fare, including burgers and melts with sides such as chili-cheese fries and onion rings. Riding sidecar to each meal is a collection of hand-dipped and hand-spun floats, shakes, and malts topped with whipped cream.