Steakhouse offers Sinatra-style swank
From the décor to the menu, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse at Village Pointe pays homage to classy supper clubs of the 1940s and 1950s and the celebrity of the Rat Pack. Dark colors, chandeliers and the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. evoke a certain bygone swankiness. Upon entry, guests encounter the glowing neon Blue Bar with marble countertops and velvet-backed chairs. It’s a restaurant that makes the casual diner feel like a VIP.
“Honestly, some customers think, ‘Are we dressed right?’” said general manager Jamie Arnold. “People do get that immediate sense of wow.”
Arnold stresses that despite the luxury, there’s no dress code at the steakhouse. Prices are approachable and menu options are varied — from a soup and salad for lunch to a 22-ounce, bone-in ribeye for dinner. Now in its ninth year of operation in Omaha, the restaurant remains a favorite for its Rat Pack-inspired vibe and unique service philosophy.
The lengthy menu includes classic Italian fare, signature Italian-style dishes unique to the restaurant, and certified Angus beef specialties. Menu favorites sporting the Rat Pack influence include the Veal Sinatra, comprised of veal sautéed with shrimp, crab meat, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and basil in a cream sauce. Named for muse Marilyn Monroe, the Chanel No. 5 dish offers lobster, shrimp, artichokes, prosciutto, garlic cream sauce and ravioli. Also among the many dinner options: the signature steak deburgo, drunken steak marinated in Samuel Adams, filet medallion trio and salmon fiorintino.
Private rooms offer an even more intimate option for groups. The Boardroom seats up to 42 people (naturally, Sinatra is the chairman) and offers Wi-Fi and visual capabilities. The Sammy seats up to 60, but can be split into separate spaces with floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains for the ultimate in privacy. The private spaces attract rehearsal dinners, receptions, anniversary parties and more, Arnold said.
Part of the experience is attentive service. The Des Moines-based restaurant group incorporates a unique philosophy of service based on the idea that staff are like cast members in a play, performing for the benefit of guests. Every day, the stage managers (hosts), culinary maestros (chefs), bartenders (bootleggers) and servers (performers) are working to get that standing ovation from each guest.
The strategy lends itself to a superior experience. Servers particularly are called to “be more than a server — be a performer,” Arnold said. “Exceed the guests’ expectation: That’s the goal.”
Arnold served as a chef for 25 years before taking the helm at Johnny’s as general manager three years ago. The Bellevue native was drawn to the industry because of the instant gratification of creating something special and getting an immediate response. The ultimate compliment, he said, is when guests come back and ask for the same server again and again — a testament to the quality of the staff.
Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse is open daily. The restaurant offers a “Really Happy Happy Hour” Monday – Saturday from 3-6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.-close. An à la carte brunch is served 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays.
Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse
Village Pointe, 305 N. 170th St.