Change of Pace – Johnny’s BBQ Olathe

Johnny's BBQ on Old 56 Hwy in Olathe

The wife and I were feeling BBQ one Friday night and wanted to try something different from our standard place.  We decided on Johnny’s Olathe location 1) because of proximity and 2) because I have eaten at Johnny’s Mission location for lunch quite a few times and it is always pretty tasty.

We walked in to a very spacious dining area and were greeted by the cashier at the counter.  For lunch Johnny’s is a counter/cafeteria style setup and at dinner they are set up for wait staff service.  We grabbed a booth and started to peruse the menu.  We settled on a combo plate (ribs, beef, pulled pork, sausage) for the two of us and our daughter ordered a bowl of chili.  One thing that we noticed as we looked over the menu was that all the prices seemed very reasonable.  On the back the daily lunch specials are listed and are all

Daily lunch specials

around eight bucks and include a side and a drink.  Pretty solid deal in the world of BBQ.

The wait staff was very friendly and accommodating but not all that attentive.  We only got offered drink refills once, and they stayed empty for a decent amount of time. Although the Hot BBQ Sauce which was not on the table was brought to us very quickly when I asked.

Johnny's Combo Plate

My thoughts on the food:

Johnny's ribs

Ribs:  These were part of our combo plate and were HUGE!  They had a lot of meat on them in comparison to other ribs and had a nice smoky flavor.  They were the meat that overall had the most pronounced smoke flavor.

Close up of smoke ring on rib meat

The ribs, like all the meat, were served sauced.  They were not unexpectedly fatty and were both my wife’s and my favorite meat on the plate.

Pulled Pork: This was pretty uneventful.  Not much smoke flavor, not much rub flavor, not much flavor at all until sauce is added.  With sauce it was okay, but pretty unremarkable.

Johnny's Sliced Brisket

Brisket: The brisket had a nice smoke ring and good flavor.  The smoke was there, but not overpowering.  There was a little more fat on it than I prefer, but it is still pretty tasty.

Sausage:  This was also decent but forgettable.  Pretty good flavor and worked well with the spicy sauce.  Overall it was moist and not too fatty.

Johnny's Beans

Sides: Johnny’s fries are easily in my top two favorite fries in the city.  They are thick crinkle cut and crispy as can be.  I don’t know if they are double fried, or they just change their oil every day but they are fantastic.  If you are feeling adventurous try them seasoned.  The BBQ rub is sprinkled over the top right after they are pulled from the fryer.  We also had beans on this visit.  I didn’t love them, but admittedly, I am not a huge fan of BBQ beans in general.  My wife is much more of a bean aficionado than I and she really enjoyed them.  They had a strong flavor of molasses and nice smoke flavor.  Those were the only two sides we had that night, but I have had the coleslaw before and I remember liking it quite a bit.

My daughter had the chili.  Full disclosure, I did not eat any.  My wife and daughter were both in agreement that it was sub par.  They said it lacked any real chili flavor and was nothing more than a bunch of ground beef.  I was going to post a picture, but when I saw it on the computer vs. on the small camera screen I decided it was quite possibly the least appetizing picture of food I have ever seen, so I withheld. (on a side note, since I did not eat any of the chili, I am not factoring it into any of my ratings)


Johnny's Regular Sauce

This was one of those times that critically eating a meal somewhere really hit me.  I have had Johnny’s sauce many times before and never really gave it a second thought.  This time however, while eating with an eye on a rating, I realized the plainness of this sauce.  It was a ketchup base and really was not that far off from ketchup in taste.  The spicy version is cayenne heat as far as I could tell.  It tasted like some cayenne had just been tossed into the regular sauce.  It added some depth, but in the end was still pretty one dimensional and could be too spicy for some.


The Hard Data:

Location: 1375 Old 56 Highway Olathe, KS 66061

Service Type: Lunch: cafeteria Dinner: wait staff

Alcohol Served: Beer on Tap; Boulevard Wheat, Budweiser, Bud Light, Miler Lite, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra

Bottled Beer: Same as on tap plus Boulevard Pilsner, Corona, Budweiser American Ale



Sandwich: $3.99 – $7.89

Plate: $8.49 – $11.19

Slab: $16.99



Jake Rating

Elwood Rating
















Overall Grade




Elwood’s Take:  The scores would appear somewhat underwhelming, but I still enjoy visiting Johnny’s.  I do tend to visit more at lunch time and I usually hit the Mission location and I would probably recommend both of those if choosing a time and a place to visit Johnny’s.  If you didn’t pay real close attention to the price, I’ll mention again: $3.99 for a small sandwich.  That is flat out cheap for BBQ.  Combine that with the daily lunch specials that include a side and a drink and you can get out of Johnny’s with a full lunch that will be about the same as a full sized “value meal” at a fast food joint.  That is remarkable.  Even at dinner I was not put off by the price.  Sure there is BBQ out there that I like better, but Johnny’s is a great place to visit to change up my normal rotation of BBQ haunts or when I am craving their out of this World fries.


Johnnys BBQ Olathe on Urbanspoon

One thought on “Change of Pace – Johnny’s BBQ Olathe

  1. I wasn’t able to attend this dinner, but I have eaten Johnny’s in Mission several times. I always like the food, but thinking about it critically like we have to in the reviews, I can see why Elwood gave it this grade. Johnny’s kind of gets lost in the mix of Kansas City BBQ joints. They aren’t the best but are far from the worst. I see them as a great value, especially for their lunch specials. I typically catch them at lunch and it is consistent. The seasoned fries kick things up a notch and I always order them now. They sprinkle their rub on the fries right before serving them. I recommend giving them a try.

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