Johnny Cross Italian American Restaurant was a mainstay along Route 73, in operation for over thirty years from the late 60’s until the turn of the century.
I stumbled across the website for this relic, closed for almost a decade, loaded with pictures and the last menu they served. The pictures give a glimpse at a restaurant that was designed in the late 60’s and never changed until it closed fairly suddenly in 2000. Presumably because the clientele, photographed below, are no longer alive and they failed to get new clients as the old ones shuffled off to the big restaurant in the sky.
I have two memories of this restaurant I can share.
First, my family had dinner there after my sister and I celebrated our Confirmation in 5th grade. I remember I ordered lobster for the first time in my life. I didn’t try it again for a good fifteen years. A 5th grade’s palette is much different then an adults.
Second, I remember on the occasions I ate there as an adult (which were not frequent) I got the London Broil. It was always on the lunch menu for $7.00. On the dinner menu it was a bit more but it was the best London Broil I’ve ever had.
The bar was a red leather and dark wood haven. You could picture talking about the Flyers just winning the cup or Nixon’s big win in ’72 at that bar.
The dining rooms were plain and meant for function not aesthetics.
In it’s final decade, Johnny Cross hosted the WOGL Oldies 98 dance party every Friday and Saturday night. It was PACKED. The parking lot was sizable and it was overflowing with vehicles parked by the cougars and dirty old men who packed the place each weekend to dance, drink and….well…do other things I guess.
Johnny Cross closed down around 2000, sat dormant for a few years, reopened as The Savory Grill after millions were spent on the renovation and then barely lasted two years.
It sat dormant again for a while before reopening once again after yet another renovation – as a Japanese/Korean restaurant.
You can visit the old website (still up seven years after the restaurant closed) here: www.johnnycrossrestaurant.com