On the south side of College Street is a small restaurant called Johnny’s. Though it’s not as large as other fast food restaurants, Johnny’s has a long history with APSU students and the rest of Clarksville.
Justin Meeks, current owner of the restaurant, inherited the establishment from his uncle, Johnny Meeks.
“This year, we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary,” Meeks said.
The restaurant recently made Thirllist.com’s top 10 burger locations in the state of Tennessee, and Meeks attributes this recognition to his team’s hard work.
“Our meat is freshly delivered every day,” Meeks said. “We only serve what’s fresh.”
A number of APSU students often go to the restaurant as part of the college life. Freshman communication major Julia Summers went to Johnny’s for the first time last summer.
Summers said her favorite menu item is the bun and cream, a baked honey bun with ice cream.
Meeks emphasized Johnny’s role as a local mainstay. “I see a lot of dads and moms with their children, and then those children will bring their children,” Meeks said. “It’s a tradition that just keeps on going.”
On top of this, Johnny’s continues to embrace new methods of advertising, from website promotion to ads at local sporting events.
“These are things my uncle just didn’t have back when he started,” Meeks said.
When asked about his plans for the restaurant, Meeks said, “Not to sound over-zealous, but I’d really like to one-up the big guys.” He pointed to larger corporate companies that “pay the company first in California or New York, while we at Johnny’s pay the employees, which ends up supporting the community as a whole.”
Meeks said one advantage Johnny’s has over larger companies is their method of cooking food.
“We serve completely fresh and cooked food every day, not stuff you can freeze months in advance and then microwave when the customers ask for it,” Meeks said. “That’s where, I think, we stand out, and I want to continue that.”
For those interested in checking out this restaurant for themselves, it is located just across College Street, opposite the Browning Building. Johnny’s is open Monday through Saturday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.