Johnny’s – Powder Springs, GA


Johnny’s Steaks and Barbecue has been in Powder Springs longer than we have (twenty eight years, for us), and we haven’t eaten there, ever, that I recall.  They went through a period when they weren’t open and then they were open only on weekends.  But they now seem to be open most every day, in this iteration – Johnny’s Steaks and Barbecue and Collett Country Store.

IMG_8977The “country store” part features pocket knives, camo, guns (“Ask us about discounts on Glocks for police offers and military personnel”) and boots, among other sundries.  Walking through the one-aisle store leads into the restaurant.  I stepped up to the cash register and asked about ordering “to go” and was referred to the counter behind her, around the corner.

Turning that corner, I walked up to the counter and asked for a menu.


Looking the menu over, I asked, “How are your ribs?” In one run-on sentence came the response:

“They’re pretty good – They’re pork ribs – we don’t have beef ribs – My boss says that all the time – You can get ’em by the pound – A whole rack’s about a pound and a half – You can get ’em wet or dry.”

With that declarative statement, I ordered a rib plate with fries and a pork plate with slaw and baked beans.  I sat down and watched the choreography of the kitchen staff and in less than ten minutes, I had two styrofoam containers, and was heading home.


Opening the first container (when I got to the house) the pork (chopped – I don’t recall being asked which way I wanted it) was covered in a sauce that was thicker than the cup of sauce (a sweet, tomato based sauce) that they sent us home with.  Jo graciously shared her pork with me and I made a half sandwich with the top of the hamburger bun in my plate.  This barbecue was fine – similar to dozens of other pork sandwiches I’ve eaten, with most of the flavor coming from the sauce.  Neither the slaw nor the baked beans were anything special.  On to my plate.


These were, with little question, the worst ribs that I’ve paid for in years.  Dry, with a chewy bark and lacking flavor, there wasn’t much to be said for them.  The waitresses description of “pretty good” was a complete attempt at an up-sale.  At least the fries were good.  I don’t think there’s a danger of a return visit in the next twenty-eight years.

Johnny's Steaks & Barbecue on Urbanspoon


  1. this is paulding county bbq for you.. never go here and order bbq.. just like briar patch, merles or happy hawg.. anything else of the menu is so much better.. johnnys actually has a very good hamburger steak or their pork topped baked potato is really good but no not a place for ribs..

    if you want the best ribs in atlanta go to fatt matts on ponce… but take one of those pocket knives you bought at johnnys with ya!

    1. I’ll agree there is very little good bbq in Paulding. Fat Matt’s are good, but the sauce is a little thick and sweet for me. I’m partial to the ribs at Dave Poe’s or Sam’s #1.

  2. I’ve never eaten the ribs there as I don’t eat pork. Their chicken however has it’s on and off days. They change their recipes so many times you never know what you’re really going to get. I personally know two of the cooks there and I specifically ask if Elvis is working..if not..I don’t eat there. Their ranch is homemade and to die for but other than that, they’re not horrid, but they aren’t great.

    1. If I try it again, I’ll check if Elvis is in and order chicken if so.

  3. Those ribs LOOK awful. Apparently they tasted as bad as they looked.

    1. They were indeed awful. I don’t know that I’ve ever paid for ribs that were any worse.

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