Deep Deuce’s newest eatery, Urban Johnnie, pays homage to late Oklahoma City restaurateur Johnnie Haynes, who founded Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler.
Situated on the ground floor of the Level Deep Deuce Apartments at NE 2 and Walnut, the menu at Urban Johnnies includes Johnnie’s staples like the Theta burger — smothered in hickory sauce and shredded cheese — as well as entrees such as grilled salmon and flat iron steak, plus a full bar.
The inspiration for the restaurant’s decor came from a photograph of Johnnie Haynes that his granddaughter, Kortney Haynes, keeps on her coffee table.
Taken sometime in the 1970s, the photograph shows Johnnie Haynes looking sophisticated yet tough, wearing a white dress shirt, black vest, tie and fedora.
“He kind of resembles the look we were going for,” said Kortney Haynes, communications director for Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler. “When we were trying to think about the concept, we wanted to make a modern, urbanized Johnnie’s that would appeal to the modern business worker downtown.”
Johnnie Haynes began his long career in the restaurant business as a dish washer at Oklahoma City’s famed Split-T at NW 56 and Western Avenue, where he eventually worked his way up to manager. In 1971, Haynes left the Split-T to open the first Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler.
“He was a wonderful man and he instilled a strong work ethic in my father and uncle,” Kortney Haynes said.
Johnnie Haynes’ sons, David and Rick Haynes, still own and operate Johnnie’s five locations in the metro area, as well as Urban Johnnie, and West, at NW 67 and Western Avenue.
A 13-foot-tall, back-lit sculpture on the wall behind the main bar at Urban Johnnie shows Johnnie Haynes in his fedora and tie leaning against the bar enjoying a drink with his fellow patrons.
The interior of the restaurant has an urban feel with exposed concrete columns, Edison bulb light fixtures, and unfinished wood planks.
Taylor Starr, of Bockus Payne Associates Architects, which designed the interior for Urban Johnnie, said it was important to create a space that was more than a typical sports bar.
“The restaurant is great for sports watching, but we also wanted it to be a destination for those who may not be following a team,” Starr said. “We did this by contrasting different materials and creating unique views throughout the space.”