Southern Foodways Alliance, which documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South, stopped by Johnny’s in Homewood, Alabama, the neighborhood staple which serves Southern-style meat-and-three lunches, some time ago. It is a fact that Johnny’s servings have a hefty dose of Greek influence. The hybrid menu is the brainchild of Timothy Hontzas (Hontzopoulos), a hometown boy who has worked in many kitchens in the last 20 years.
Hontzas gets his inspirations for his creations partly from his Greek heritage. He says, “I’m Greek/Southern, and I don’t think I had any choice to do anything but cook.”
Johnny’s is located near the restaurant that Hontzas’s grandfather ran in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Before opening Johnny’s in 2012, Tim worked under several prominent chefs. The name Johnny’s pays homage to his family’s business. Moreover, the design is part of that heritage, but when it comes to the food, it is a different story: “Being a classically trained chef, I wanted to boost the flavors. 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.”