The long-time haven for mallrats who were too good for the food-court seats (and also loved Jerry Lewis), Johnny Rockets is looking to significantly expand. Under its new Route 66 program, the chain will roll out new pop-ups, drive-thrus, food trucks, and even drive-in movie theaters -- with some of them hitting before the end of 2014.
Since the whole system is called Route 66, the new Johnny Rockets drive-thrus will target "regional travel plazas" situated off highways. They'll range in size from 1,800 to 3,300sqft, and will feature "optimized" menus, which we assume include Buddy Holly holograms. On the flip side, the drive-ins will be a partnership with USA Drive-Ins LLC. The group is looking to pump some life into the dwindling drive-in movie biz by opening 200 new locations with Johnny Rockets Route 66 as the designated concessions stand at each one. Just don't go expecting to eat your burger over grindhouse flicks, 'cause these films will be strictly family fare.
Things get a lot more vague with the pop-ups and food trucks -- the pop-ups will be some sort of theater-mobile restaurant hybrid that promise a retro dinner and a movie, while the food trucks will help current Johnny Rockets franchisees with catering and community events. We'll be standing by for more details as Johnny Rockets figures all those movie snacks out. But in the meantime, you should probably go eat some Wagyu beef sliders at CinéBistro.
Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist, and could probably live at a drive-in movie theater. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.