Say goodbye to the Dragonburger.
Johnny B’s Burgers and Shakes, the Southlake mom-and-pop burger joint, announced Tuesday afternoon on Facebook that its is closing immediately after 14 years in business. No specific reason was given.
“When I sold the business in 2015, my hope was this Southlake landmark would continue forever,” says the Facebook post, signed “Johnny B.” “Having employed and served hundreds of local students over the years, it has been a joy for my family to watch them grow and prosper.”
The Southlake love for Johnny B’s was evident when you walked into the place, and that love went worldwide: The walls are festooned with photos of customers holding a Johnny B’s sign at places as diverse as the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China.
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The restaurant returned the love: “Johnny B’s was a family business that believed in giving back to our community,” says the post, which is also on the restaurant’s website. Whether it was our schools, churches, sports, or charities, my family knew it was the right thing to do.”
Johnny B’s was a perennial contender in the Star-Telegram’s Battle of the Burgers, which has taken place every odd-numbered year since 2009. It made the Final Four in 2013; last year, it made the Sweet 16, losing in a very close match-up with Liberty Burger in far north Fort Worth.
It was an old-school place that, even after the 2015 sale, had a family feel — and a small-town one along busy, busy Southlake Boulevard, where lately more restaurants have opened than closed. The fanciest thing on the menu at Johnny B’s was the Dragonburger, a chili-jalapeño burger with a name honoring the Southlake Carroll mascot and some fire-breathing toppings.
And this was a place that knew how to melt the cheese on its thin-patty burgers, served on sweet-sourdough buns. When you ordered a cheeseburger at Johnny B’s, you got a cheeseburger, not something with just a hint of cheese as garnish.
According to Star-Telegram archives, Johnny B’s was founded by Sandy and John Finlayson, who left his job as vice president of a Fortune 500 company to open the shop in 2004. They were following a path set by his father, a former NFL official who opened a burger stand in Missouri.