Johnnys Burgers Canning Vale
The following is a transcript of an interview between thefoodiehub.com.au and Johnny Wong, owner operator of possibly the best Burger Bar in Western Australia, Johnnys Burgers in Canning Vale.
Johnnys Burgers Joint Canning Vale | Perth Western Australia
John Wong Owner/Operator of Johnny’s Burgers Canning Vale talks passionately about his Burgers In This 10 Min Video..
Johnny: Hi! My name’s Johnny. I run Johnny’s Burger Joint. I’ve been doing this for about almost 2 years now. The main goal when I started this burger place was I was looking for something great to eat, like a solid real hamburger, and I just couldn’t get one. There’s a lot of burger place out there but it’s all gourmet. It’s all fancy. You get that fancy lettuce, you get that fancy patty, the organic stuff, the gluten-free stuff, but sometimes you just want to get down and dirty with a real solid hamburger. So I told myself I’m done. I’m just going to try it. Mum used to run a little café in the shopping center. Mum still run a little café in the shopping center. She closes at 4:00 because it’s just a regular café. And I told myself why not let me try from 4:00 to 8:00, just let me run the burger joint and see how it goes. If it goes well, it goes well. If not then at least I tried. From that day on, I designed my beef. I designed my beef patty. I designed my own buns, my own sauces, everything. There’s so much trial and error to make the perfect hamburger and one day I did. I created the perfect hamburger for me. And I designed a menu. When I designed a menu, I didn’t want a regular boring menu like cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, chiliburger. It’s so boring. It’s so everywhere. So I told myself why not try something new. Cheeseburger, people think cheese, they think of problems, so they cause a lot of trouble – troublemaker. So then I was like wow, I can really, really have a lot of fun with making my menu. And then that start pouring in – troublemaker for my cheeseburger, double trouble for my double cheeseburger, chili-chili bang-bang it’s a spicy burger and it’s one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. Chili-chili bang-bang is one of my favorite shows when I was a kid and I was like chili-chili bang-bang it’s hot and it hits you. The sauce hits you. The chili hits you. The sauce hits you. The onions hit you.
And I was like that’s a good thing, and I started creating burgers, creating names for it, and I designed a menu for it. And then 6 months in, mom decided to give me the whole café to run as a burger place and I told myself I’m not going to run burgers in the morning as well. I want to do something different in the morning, so I designed a diner menu. So let’s say we got chili cheese fries, sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, chili dogs. We sell awesome chili dogs here. And I designed another menu. And in that shop there was a lot of trial and error. It’s very messy. But a lot of the customers come in and they get a little bit confused but then I come out and explain to them what’s happening and everything, they understand and they’re like alright cool, I understand. I told myself I really need to change this and during some nights I get lines until outside the shopping center because I couldn’t accommodate that many people in such a small shop. And I told myself I need to move out. I need to upgrade. I need to upgrade, not for myself but for my customers so they get the best food, the best accommodation in here, and the best service. And that’s what it’s all about – food, best service. You enjoy the atmosphere, you enjoy the food, and you enjoy the company that you have. You bring friends, you can always meet new people, and that’s what I think food is all about. It’s fun. You meet people, you socialize. If you come alone, you can talk to the guys in the next table and start new conversation. You never know you might be best friends. And this is what I want. There’s so much potential in this business. I’m not just selling burgers, it sounds bad but selling friendship, selling experience and that’s priceless, if you came up with a price for it.
A year and a half in I started scouting for a spot and we were just looking everywhere for a good spot, and we look at the city and stuff like that, but I say no. It’s alright but I want to open in the suburb where I am from, because at the end of the day these guys, my locals, help me succeed. If I move to the city they have to drive to the city. There’s so much places in the city but there’s nothing in the suburb. There’s nothing to eat in Canning Vale or anywhere. There’s nothing to eat. There’s always fast-food. It’s all fast-food. That’s it. So I was no, I’m not going to neglect these guys that helped me out so much. I said I’m not going to move far. I want to be in Canning Vale. If ever I want to do it in the city, I’ll consider opening a new one hopefully in 2 years or a year time, hopefully I can branch out to another store that I can control in the city as part of that. But at the meantime I love Canning Vale. That’s where I’m from, so I’m not going to move anywhere. Our customers travel far away just for this food, and like with you guys. You have to come from mainland and I thank every customer that come in because it’s not…let’s say you come from Hillarys, it’s not near. I say it’s about 40 minutes here and 40 minutes back. It’s a long time. Imagine if you don’t have good food. Imagine if the burgers are shit. That means you wasted so…that’s so much time wasted.
The Foodie Hub: Why do you think they drive so far to your burgers? I know you know the reason.
Johnny: Our customers come in so far because my burgers are big.
The Foodie Hub: You got crazy burgers.
Johnny: Yup. I don’t use frozen meat. It’s fresh beef all day every day; none of that frozen stuff. I don’t deal with it. I hate it. We make our own sauces here; none of that bottle stuff straight away into our burger. I hate that shit. I don’t do that. I hate that stuff. Fresh produce every day, I got fresh produce really, really good. Local as well, so is my meat. I get my meat locally. My buns are custom made to me locally. Everything is custom made to me, for me, and by me. I design them. Let’s say I want my buns this size, I get them this size. I don’t get them any smaller. Every burger that goes out has the same size. If it’s not the same size, I don’t accept it. Same goes with the beef. If it’s not my style, I do not accept it because I know how my meats look and how I design it. Same goes with my sides. We make our own onion rings here. Our fries we get them from Canada, so does our curly fries. Cheese sticks, our Monterey Jack cheese sticks. I’m the only store west…south of [7:04] that actually sells Monterey Jack cheese sticks. It’s a really, really amazing cheese stick I managed to sort. I actually gave up finding Monterey Jack cheese because it’s such a rare cheese in Perth. Actually it’s such a rare cheese because it comes from America. 2 weeks before I opened, I managed to find a supplier from eastern states, from Sydney, and he told me “yeah I can bring it to you but you have to give me 2 weeks because it’s frozen produce” I say don’t worry about it. I need that cheese. Give it to me. And I managed to get it. I get a lot of American customers. 40% of my customer base is American. They come in here for my cheeseburgers. We make our own ketchup here, designed by me as well. Everything is designed by me, the ketchup.
The Foodie Hub: How about the chicken wings?
Johnny: The chicken wings.
The Foodie Hub: That’s a nice sauce.
Johnny: The hot sauce that I use is the same hot sauce used back in Buffalo, New York to make the first Buffalo wings. It’s all about authenticity, nothing less. I do not mess around with the ingredients. If it’s Buffalo wings, if that’s how it’s supposed to make, that is how it’s supposed to be made. None of that I’m just going to try to change this. Let’s put this hot sauce in. I’m not going to use celery sticks. I’m going to use carrot sticks. I’m not going to use ranch sauce. I’m going to use aioli. None of that. You’re going to get that celery sticks. You’re going to get that ranch dressing. You’re going to get that hot wings with the right sauce, and that’s all about authenticity, nothing less.