I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is at Johnson’s Corner in Johnstown, Colorado.
Greeting from Johnstown, Colorado!
N 40° 21.777’ W 104° 58.908’ Elev. 4976’
When I was growing up my Mom used to say that if you wanted good food go to a truck stop. Well, it’s a myth. The truth is that the truckers eat there for one simple reason: They can park! Thus, the number of trucks at a truck stop has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the food but rather the size of the parking lot.
As a rule, if you want to find good food ferreted out by truckers, look for trucks parked in unlikely places. It usually turns out that the greater the effort they expended to park, the better the food.
But there are truly notable exceptions. And since it was just a few miles out of my way I decided to go have lunch at Johnson’s Corner (2842 SE Frontage Rd.).
I hadn’t been here for eight years or so. I used to stop here all the time as the food was always really good and fairly reasonably priced. I also liked the fact that it was such a funky, clean-but-rundown place. It had so much class that you had to sit in the well-worn “ass-dentations” in the seats of the booths just right to get comfortable.
It turned out the food was as good as ever but, much to my dismay, they remodeled a couple of years ago and got rid of all the funk. And it was funky.
Originally built in 1952, Johnson’s Corner was a landmark place as it was located in the middle of nowhere roughly halfway between Denver and Cheyenne. A couple of years later the Interstate was built and, voila, instant gold mine. Of course, it also helped that there was nothing else around.
They’re supposedly most famous for their homemade cinnamon rolls. As I’m not a cinnamon-roll fan I’ve never had one. But you can’t miss them when they serve them: they measure (conservatively) 6-inches square and about 4-inches high. They could be fairly characterized as “big.”
But what’s really good there, and often overlooked, I think, is the soups. They’re all made from scratch and now they have a cook who’s rather inventive, according to the waitress. I kind of had to agree.
I got Chili Blanca with my meal. They called it a soup but it wasn’t soupy at all. It was made with white beans, chicken and some sort of chili pepper; judging by the color and flavor I’m thinking it was those real long semi-hot banana peppers, definitely not jalapeño. Needless to say, it was really, really good, flavorful with enough bite to make it interesting.
For the entree I ordered Meatloaf ($11.99 w/tax) and, although I was technically a little early for them, a baked potato. I’d had the meatloaf before and remembered really liking it, and wasn’t disappointed this time. It has big pieces of onion and bell pepper in it and, I think, stewed tomatoes. It was good and it was a lot. Two meals!
While all of their food is really good, another standout meal there is their Roast Beef. Why they call it “roast beef” is beyond me as it’s actually shredded pot roast, piled high on white bread, with brown gravy. And if you get mashed potatoes with it they serve them old school: A scoop of smashed taters on a piece of white bread smothered in gravy. Seriously, how can you go wrong with starch on starch smothered in gravy thickened with starch?
Though I didn’t order any, they also have great desserts, especially the pies. Everything is made in-house from scratch and the portions are extremely generous.
I guess this place has been featured on the Travel Channel, Food Network, et al. Nevertheless, I highly recommend Johnson’s Corner. Although it’s not as funky/charming as it used to be, the food is still great. And the view of the Rockies ain’t bad either.
And so we roll.
Johnson’s Corner - 2842 SE Frontage Road. Johnstown, CO 80534
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.