Johnny Dee’s Lounge in Parkville is a welcome antidote to all the trendiness and foodism that goes on in the restaurant world. I went there for the first time on Friday night and loved the throw-back simplicity of it all.
The place was hopping (or as much as it can "hop" with an older crowd) the night I was there. I’m not going to make snide Peppermill jokes, but it has a similar clientele. And everyone was having fun.
The restaurant, which has been around for more than 50 years, is in the back of Loch Ridge shopping center near Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Loch Raven Boulevard to give you some placement. (Remember when that area used to be called Baynesville?) The address is 1706 Joan Ave.; phone, 410-665-7000.
Johnny Dee’s is known for its shrimp salad, so I ordered the platter ($11.50), which includes a side. I had the coleslaw (decent, though a little mayonnaisey); my friend, french fries. It also comes with buttered sandwich bread (which reminded me of my grandmother's meals).
The shrimp salad deserves its reputation, featuring fat pieces of shrimp, celery, and minimal mayonnaise to bind it. We sat in the lounge section with vinyl-covered couches and chairs reminiscent of someone’s ’60s rec room and low-slung coffee tables. There is a mirrored dining room in the back and a bar to the side.
The waitresses hustle and have a "hon" element. Our waitress brought us extra fries later because she thought we hadn’t received enough originally. Everyone seems to know each other, and a cheerful Johnny Dee (or so I was told) mingles with the diners.
It’s definitely an old Baltimore tradition to enjoy while it’s still around.
I also made another discovery while I was there—Towson Oriental Market, on the Willow Oak side of the shopping center.
I went back the next day to explore the store. It's filled with Asian products, including fresh produce and unusual frozen meats and seafood. There were numerous shoppers there on a Saturday afternoon. The staff seemed friendly. It’s nice to add this place to my shopping roster.