It might be hard to believe, with so many locations scattered across the metro area, that Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler is a mom-and-pop business.
Well, maybe it's only a pop business, since brothers Rick and David Haynes inherited the Oklahoma burger empire (and its name) from their father, Johnnie.
"It all started in 1971, when my dad opened up the first Johnnie,s Charcoal Broiler at Military and Britton Road," Rick Haynes said.
That location lasted eight years, until the elder Haynes moved down the road to 2652 W Britton — now their flagship location.
Nearly 40 years after it began, Johnnie's now has seven locations serving lunch and dinner, including three Johnnie's Express stores that serve breakfast. But at the heart of the operation, the old ways are still the best.
Haynes said they use fresh ground beef to make their burgers, which are cooked over a gas-fueled charcoal grill to give even heat and a rich, smoky flavor. Workers cut up potatoes for fresh French fries and chips and slice and bread onions every day for onion rings.
It's the quality that keeps customers coming back in, Rick Haynes said.
"If you walk into one of our stores at lunch, you'll see businessmen in suits and ties next to families with little kids and construction workers taking a break," he said. "We're open to anybody and everybody so nobody feels uncomfortable."
Haynes considers higher-end eateries competition. Prices for a Johnnie's burger are $4 to $5, with an order of fries starting at $2 and onion rings at $2.60.
Though hamburgers and fries are 75 percent of the business, Haynes said, Johnnie's has expanded its menu in recent years so that no one feels left out. Vegetable and chicken and noodle soups are made fresh every day and Johnnie's has added salads, sandwiches and even veggie burgers to cater to a more health-conscious crowd.
Another addition is Giovanni Gelato, an Italian-style ice cream shop next door to the flagship store.
"Giovanni is Italian for Johnnie," Haynes said. "And we do it all authentic there. We brought in the equipment and even some of our ingredients from Italy."
Though the business has changed through the years, Haynes said it all comes back to the kinds of burgers his dad started serving in 1971. Though with seven locations serving between 500 and 1,500 customers per day per store, Johnnie's is providing meals to nearly 2.5 million people a year — a few more, perhaps, than Johnnie could handle when he started out.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Sunday