This week, the Southern Foodways Alliance stops by Johnny’s in Homewood, Alabama. This neighborhood staple serves Southern-style meat-and-three lunches with a hefty dose of Greek influence. The hybrid menu is the brainchild of Timothy Hontzas, a hometown boy who has been obsessed with kitchens for over 20 years.
His heritage is a huge source of inspiration for his food. In his own words, “I’m Greek-slash-Southern, and I don’t think I had any choice to do anything but cook.” Johnny’s is based off of the restaurant that Hontzas’s grandfather ran in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It pays homage to his family’s business through the name and the design, but the food has gotten a bit of a facelift: “Being a classically trained chef, I wanted to boost [the food]. A meat and three can be something really special — not just green beans in the middle of a plate that definitely came from a can.”
Check out the video above to hear how Johnny’s Restaurant has changed over the years. This week's film is "Johnny's Greek and Three" and the filmmaker is Ava Lowrey.