Back In Action

Recent changes at Johnny’s Lunch might be reminding you of the past.

The changes are happening because the Calamunci family is once again operating the famous hot dog stand. Recently, Dianne and Gust Calamunci took back control of the business that is located at 966 Fairmount Ave.

For a while, the Calamuncis had contracted with a business known as SW Acquisitions to expand the business nationally and internationally. The company had been handling the day-to-day operations of the restaurant during the planned expansion. However, plans started to fall apart when one of the heads of SW Acquisitions suddenly passed away, Dianne said.

As time passed, the Calamuncis said their beloved family-created business was not being operated in the way they would’ve liked. Dianne said that is when the couple thought it was time to take back Johnny’s Lunch.

“The customers were not getting T-L-C,” Dianne said. “The customers, we call them friends, they’re so happy to see us back.”

Dianne said the first change they made, once in control again, was to do away with a computerized cash register that was slowing the quick-service restaurant down.

“That was the first thing out the door,” she said about the computerized cash register.

Now back in the Calamunci-Colera family, Johnny’s has four generations of the family working at the restaurant. Dianne said she and Gust learned from her parents, Johnny and Minnie Colera, who opened the first Johnny’s Lunch in 1936 in Brooklyn Square. When urban renewal redeveloped the area in the early 1970s, the family moved the restaurant to its current location, which opened its doors in 1974. Since the beginning, the family restaurant has prided itself on offering decent food at a reasonable price.

In 1975, Johnny passed on control of the restaurant to Dianne and Gust. Dianne said her father still worked at the restaurant, and still had valuable advice about operating the hot dog stand. Even after Johnny hung up his apron, Dianne said they would talk every afternoon over a cup of coffee.

“The best advice he ever told me was about being fair to the customers,” Dianne said about her father. “He said, ‘A fast nickel is better than a slow dime.’ That was one of the many pieces of business advice he gave me.”

Johnny’s Lunch is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-7:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 664-2881.