John’s Restaurant has been a local tradition since 1964. Known for being one of southwestern Ontario’s busiest family restaurants, it’s the great food, great people and great value that keep customers coming back. While they're famous for their breakfast, and the Canadian peameal they serve with it, breakfast isn’t the only meal on the menu. “People think of John’s as a breakfast place but we run full service all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” explains Leo Stathakis, owner of John’s Restaurant.
In addition to their signature classic dishes like pork schnitzel, roast turkey dinners, Greek specialties and signature clubhouse sandwiches with peameal bacon, John’s is also known for new classics like Korean bowls, stir frys and premium salads. The extensive menu has something for everyone and the restaurant boasts seating for over 200 people with a private room and a covered patio.
The focus at John’s is on serving food that is homemade, including soups and gravies from scratch. “We have a simple menu of fresh, wholesome food and great value. If we picked it up at the Farmer’s Market in the morning, there is a good chance it will be in that evening’s special.”
John’s has undergone many changes since they opened their doors nearly 60 years ago. In 1964, John Stathakis put a small sign out by the road that said ‘EAT’ and started feeding whoever stopped by for a bite. John quickly turned the small house into a busy restaurant. The restaurant was a hit with travellers and truckers alike. It sat on what was then the Chicago-to-Toronto Traffic Corridor in an area known as the Golden Mile. With a growing reputation, the restaurant quickly outgrew the house. “The current building was built in the 1970’s and the original house demolished for parking,” Stathakis explains. John had emigrated from Greece before starting his own business. When the restaurant became too busy for John and his wife Tassia, he invited two of his nephews from Greece, George and Louie Perdikis, to join them. Both have been at John’s for more than fifty years.
When Highway 402 was built in the 1970s, the traffic flow slowed considerably. “It was devastating to the area. A lot of businesses closed and hotels suffered. John’s was an exception; it became a destination. People from Sarnia came, of course, and John’s continued to grow its loyal following throughout southwestern Ontario.”
John’s has continued to expand over the years, and today boasts a covered patio with seating for 80, a growing catering business and a large selection of local craft beers. While some things may have changed, the loyal customers and great people who work there are what make John’s unique. “Our loyal guests help spread the word but the secret ingredient is really the great staff. We have people that have been working from ten to fifty years. We know the real secret to our success is our people and why people continue to say, ‘I’ll meet you at John’s.’”