Johnie’s Broiler illegally torn down

Norma Palacios

Johnie’s Broiler, a 1960s landmark was demolished on Jan. 7 and Downey residents expressed outrage over the event that took away a restaurant that has been used for movies and music video shoots according to the Long Beach Press Telegram. The restaurant, which opened in 1958, was known as Harvey ‘s Broiler named after Harvey Ortner but the name was changed to Johnie’s Broiler in 1966 after Smyrniotis purchased it. Legend has it that the restaurant’s sign could only fit one “N,” thus the unusual spelling of “Johnie.” The lot was being used as a used car dealership since 2002. Located at 7447 Firestone Blvd. in Downey the restaurant had made a locale for movie sets and music videos.

Among the films that were shot at Johnie’s Broiler were:

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In addition, the restaurant was also featured in an episode of the television series the X-Files.

Franky Mendoza, mechanics major, said that he was unaware that the restaurant was torn down.

“My dad and I used to go there all the time,” he said, “but we liked to see the car shows that were held there.”

As for the people who were responsible for the demolition of Johnie’s Broiler, Mendoza said that they should be shot for what they did.

He said now that he is aware that the restaurant is longer at its location he would read up on it.

Michelle Podany, manager of the Elbow Room, said that she first heard about the restaurant being torn down while watching the news and her first reaction was that it is sad that it is no longer there.

“My sister and I used to go to the restaurant all the time,” she said, “because she lived in Bell at the time.”

She added that the city of Downey should have proclaimed Johnie’s Broiler a national landmark like the first McDonald’s that is also in Downey was.

Furthermore, what she also enjoyed was the opportunity of going to car shows. “If McDonald’s was good enough to become a landmark why wasn’t Johnie’s Broiler good enough?” However, it is not known who is responsible for the demolition of the landmarks and the person or persons responsible can face up to six months in prison and an undisclosed amount of fines. Following the removal of the restaurant there was a Downey City Council meeting last Wednesday where residents and officials expressed outrage over the removal of a city landmark.

Podany said that she wasn’t surprised by the reaction of the citizens. “The restaurant was just a cool place to go to.”