Tim Hontzas: Johnny's Restaurant (Homewood, AL)

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At this point, Chef Tim Hontzas of Johnny’s Restaurant in Homewood, AL is used to mistakenly being called Johnny by folks who don’t know him. His restaurant is proudly named after his grandfather, Johnny, who migrated to New Orleans in 1921 with $17 in his pocket and went on to open three successful restaurants in Mississippi, the last being his namesake. Members of Tim’s family, including his father, opened Nikki's in Birmingham in the spring of 1954, but while it was always evident that restaurant work flowed in young Tim’s veins, he left Alabama to work in other kitchens, including that of past guest and famed Southern chef John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, MS. Tim returned to Homewood to pay homage to his family’s heritage by opening a new iteration of Johnny’s Restaurant in 2012, and he describes it as a Greek meat-and-three. After four years as a Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef: South, this year he’s a finalist for the awards next week in Chicago. The menu at Johnny’s changes daily, the sweet tea is always freshly brewed, and if you don’t get the moon pie banana pudding, don’t tell anyone in Alabama because they’ll stop trusting your judgment.

307 episodes