July 2017 update: Since writing this there has been a change, I'm happy to report. So many people around the country complained to the Johnny Rockets corporate office that they decided to bring the original Streamliner veggie burger back! Yay! Last week, I stopped into the Ocean Walk location where I've been going for 10 years and got to see Thomas and we enjoyed our favorite veggie burger and fries. A success story! I'm so glad Johnny Rockets listened to their customers and brought the Streamliner back!
We moved to Florida 10.5 years ago now. Around that time, we discovered that there was a Johnny Rockets located in Daytona Beach. We had went to Johnny Rockets before in other states and always liked the veggie burger there. We first started going to the one in Daytona Beach when my son was only six months old. I would carry him into the place in his car seat, while my daughter, who was two at the time, would push her toy stroller with her mallard duck into the restaurant. The regular long term staff got to know us over the years and they watched our children grow. Thomas (pictured above), one of the cooks, first saw our son when he was an infant in the car seat and for 10 years watched him grow, always coming out of the grill area to come over to our table and chat, giving the kids high five's.
We love Johnny Rockets. For a decade, I've told everyone how Johnny Rockets has my favorite veggie burger and fries of anywhere. It was the best! I love it and always looked forward to going there to get it.
Today, my son turned 11 and got to choose where he wanted to go for his lunch since it is his birthday. He choose Johnny Rockets, wanting one of their shakes, and he knew that I love their veggie burger and fries. We always enjoy going there. Until today.
I went to order my usual Streamliner (the veggie burger) only to see that the menu had changed and they no longer had it. In its place, they now offered a gardein black bean burger. Ugh. My heart sank! I about cried. How could they take my favorite meal off the menu? My favorite veggie burger and fries in the whole country? The only thing that I eat at this restaurant, too.
Much to my disappointment, they quietly replaced my favorite veggie burger with a black bean burger. Well, I don't like black bean burgers. I've never had one yet that I can say is good. I reluctantly ordered one to give it a try, because my son still wanted his shake for his birthday (otherwise we would have just left). One bite and I again about cried. It tasted like every black bean burger I've ever tried, which isn't good. But what made me even sadder was the fact that I knew right then that our Johnny Rockets days were over.
A place we've been going to for a decade, and now I can't see us ever going back. Three of the four of us order the veggie burger, and my daughter and I can't stand the new black bean burger. My husband thinks it's just "okay," yet he always loved their Streamliner veggie burger. My son eats the grilled cheese. So with that one little menu change that someone made (someone who probably doesn't even eat the veggie burgers and was swayed by gardein's marketing tactics), one of my favorite restaurants is off the list, my favorite veggie burger and fries is gone, and so too is the fun we had going to the same restaurant for over 10 years, chatting with some of the same people that have been there the entire time.
Not only will we miss the Streamliner veggie burger, but we will also miss seeing Thomas and the other we have gotten to know over the years by being "regulars" in a place filled with tourists. All good things come to an end. Unless they bring the Streamliner back, we sadly have no reason to go back into Johnny Rockets again.