While the Upstate isn’t lacking in cuisine from other countries, there is a lack of places that serve food from other parts of our own country. There’s plenty of places that do Mexican, Chinese, Colombian, Thai, Indian and almost any other ethnic food type that you can think of. But how many places in Greenville serve strictly foods and styles that come from say, California or Washington state? There’s no where that specializes in Texas style barbecue which, as Lewis Barbecue in Charleston proves, is a hit in mustard and vinegar based sauce country. Or what about Chicago? With their hot dogs, deep dish pizza, and Italian beef how can there not be somewhere to fulfill that craving? This is where Johnny F’s Chicago Style steps in.
Johnny F’s opened off of Old Spartanburg Road in late 2016. The storefront is nondescript with a simple sign adorning the brick facade. However, once you step inside, it’s pure Chicago.
Photographs of Chicago landmarks adorn the walls along with White Sox, Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls paraphernalia. The main colors of the interior are the blue, white, and red of the Chicago city flag. The space is small, with only 14 or so seats. It feels like any corner store in Chicago that would sell the exact same food as Johnny F’s. They offer Vienna Beef Hot Dogs steamed or grilled Chicago Style or with your choice of toppings, Italian Beef, Polish and Italian Sausage, all Chicago staples among other choices.
Having been to Chicago multiple times, some mainly for food, I couldn’t wait to see if Johnny F’s was on par with my favorite places up there. I was hoping to have a little slice of Chicago just minutes from my house, there to satisfy my craving for something that I normally would have to fly 2 hours for.
I got the Italian beef dipped in au jus and topped with sweet peppers and spicy giardiniera. The sandwich met all of my expectations. The beef was cooked right and seasoned well. The sweet peppers and the spice from the giardiniera helped to accentuate the beef flavor from both the actual beef and the au jus that the bun had been dipped in. The hot dog was just as good. Done Chicago Style (steamed and topped with mustard, neon green relish, tomato wedges, sport peppers, chopped onion, cucumber wedges, a pickle wedge, and celery salt in a poppy seed bun) it was just as good, or better, as any dog I’ve had at Portillo’s. The Vienna Beef dog had a great snap and flavor to it. All of the vinegar from the peppers and pickle met with the sweetness of the bun, relish, tomatoes, and cucumber to create a perfect bite. The fries were no slouch either. Natural cut, they ride the line of crisp and soggy that made me want to eat handful after handful.
Johnny F’s Chicago Style fills a much needed niche in the Upstate. With all of its traditional Chicago offerings along with their other food, they’re giving the area a taste of the Windy City and doing it properly all at very affordable prices. On Wednesdays, they offer two for one hot dogs, which is a deal that’s hard to beat. Even though American just announced that they’ll be adding non-stop flights from GSP to Chicago soon, you don’t have to buy a ticket to get the Chicago experience, you just need to take a drive to Johnny F’s. Now if only there was somewhere to fill my need of deep dish pizza…
Johnny F’s Chicago Style
2113 Old Spartanburg Road in Hudson Corners
Greer, SC 29650