Great Burgers at Johnny Rockets in Boracay

Johnny Rockets

Johnny Rockets is an American restaurant franchise whose themed decor is based upon 1950s diner-style restaurants. I’m here to testify, Brothers and Sisters, that great burgers can be found at Johnny Rockets in Boracay.

About Johnny Rockets

Johnny Rockets was founded on June 6, 1986, by Ronn Teitelbaum of Los Angeles, California, and “crafted as a ‘nongimmicky’ recreation of the 1940s-vintage malt shops of his childhood.” The first restaurant was established as a 20-stool counter operation on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Johnny Rockets opened their first outlet in the Philippines in Quezon City, Philippines on Oct. 6, 2009. They currently have a total of four restaurants in the archipelago.

Johnny Rockets operates more than 340 franchise and corporate locations in 26 countries around the world.

Each year, Johnny Rockets serves 17 million Hamburgers, 11.3 million soda pops, 8.3 million Shakes and Malts, 8 million pounds of Fries, 2.1 million orders of Onion Rings and 815,000 gallons of ice cream.

(Source: Johnny Rockets website)

I had never heard of this burger joint before. They do have three locations in Illinois, where I retired from almost seven years ago, but all of them are located near Chicago, about 3 1/2 hours from where I worked in Springfield.

Our hotel in Boracay was located behind Johnny Rockets, making it a convenient place to have a good meal.  The Fifties-style diner decor caught my eye along with the fact that their menu featured burgers and fries.

the crew dining at Johnny Rockets in Boracay

My sister-in-law Marjorie can be seen here on the left, seated next to her daughter, Shaina, who lives with us in Guimaras at our new home in the Philippines.

Though it was around 6 pm, the place wasn’t crowded. Aside from Andok’s, which is extremely crowded at night, most of the eateries we saw in Boracay were not that busy. I was told by Willy, our guide from the Caticlan port, that April and May are the busiest times of the season for this island paradise. Our visit occurred the first of June.

We had breakfast at Andok’s, located at D’Mall in Boracay, one morning at 6 am. My asawa, sister-in-law and niece ordered a typical Filipino breakfast for 69 pesos each, Langgonisa (sausage) with Rice and Egg.

I ordered a chicken filet burger for 79 pesos that took at least 20 minutes to be served. It was horrendous! Only half-cooked and the place wasn’t crowded that early in the morning. Only a couple of tables with customers. It was one of the worst meals I’ve ever been served.

But I didn’t complain about it, as I usually would. Wasn’t worth the aggravation or rise in blood pressure. Plus, my crew wanted to take a swim and check out the mall.

Hanging out at Johnny Rockets Boracay

In the picture above, Marjorie is checking the text messages on her cell phone again, of course. Shaina is checking out the guy on the beach tweaking his nipples.

My lovely asawa at Johnny Rockets in Boracay

My lovely asawa poses by the miniature jukebox which only costs one peso per song. Trouble is, it doesn’t work. Neither does the main jukebox located in front of Johnny Rockets in Boracay. It’s only for display, per the manager.

Johnny Rockets waitresses in Boracay

Speaking of the manager, that’s her in the blue top. When I asked the tall Filipina on the left if I could take some pictures, she had to ask permission from the manager. When the server informed her boss the request came from a “kano,” foreigner, permission was granted. I even got the manager to pose for the photograph. Note the workers peering from behind the counter.

a delicious Original Burger at Johnny Rockets in Boracay

Here’s a look at my “Original Burger” with cheese and fries which cost 280 pesos, six bucks. Absolutely fantastic! A great burger from Johnny Rockets in Boracay and one of the best burgers I have ever tasted in the Philippines. Tasty beef, juicy, cooked to perfection with crispy fries.

Another “kano” with a Western female companion, accompanied by a Filipino couple, walked by and looked inside. I had to walk over and invite the man in. He was from the States and wanted a good burger. I recommended the Original Burger which I had just polished off.

To the delight of the Johnny Rockets staff, the quartet came in. The American ordered the “Original Burger.” Good choice, I told him.

Happy Face ketchup at Johnny Rockets in Manila

Making a smiley face with ketchup on the plate when serving French fries is a Johnny Rockets trademark. I left with a smiley face, too, and a belly full of delicious junk food. My asawa, normally not a big burger fan, enjoyed the Double Bacon Cheeseburger she shared with our niece, Shaina.

Marjorie? She hates burgers and instead ordered a chicken dish.

Really? A chicken dish at a burger joint? But what can I say? Like my asawa, Marjorie also eats pizza with a knife and a fork. That’s almost blasphemy, my friends!

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

36 thoughts on “Great Burgers at Johnny Rockets in Boracay

  1. In the Uk we eat pizza with a knife and fork as well and spaghetti with a spoon and fork, servers here are always puzzled when we ask for a spoon for any pasta dish thinks we’re weird.

    1. Hi, Gezel. I do use a fork when eating any pasta dish but never pizza. I guess I’m puzzled why my Filipina wife insists on using a knife and fork to eat pizza, chicken and ribs while she will eat rice and vegetables with her fingers occasionally.

      In the States, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was widely criticized for eating his pizza with a fork, it’s not a common practice in the States, to my knowledge, especially in the Midwest were I’m from. 🙂

  2. Good day.Thanks for the comments,Gezel.Takes me back to the Britain of the seventies.I loved it then,but I hear that now it is crime ridden,and PC crazy.One hundred years ago you guys ruled the world,and now you’re a colony of…an un-named foreign power. Great burger pictures.I wish I could like burgers,but,it’s like my problem with sausages.Thanks,Dave.

    1. Glad you liked the pictures, Joe. Visiting eateries which have great food is something I always enjoy. It’s off to the SM Mall of Asia next month. More opportunities for good eats there as we’re sure to hit the Dairy Queen for one of their popular Blizzards.

    2. Joe, yes that’s why the Brits are voting for freedom on the 23rd of June. Wish us luck. Dave only chicken, ribs and bread is eaten with your fingers with my brit husband but when you go to India thats another story. Cheers!

      1. Interesting, too, if the Brits stay with the EU or not, Gezel. From what I’ve heard the UK might just be better off without the European Union. Sounds like Mr. Cameron is playing both sides of the issue:

        “Leaving Europe would threaten our economic and our national security,” Cameron said.

        Mr Cameron said the UK’s special status agreed upon by the EU last week allows Britain to retain elements of its sovereignty.

        “We’ll never join the Euro,” he said outside his Downing St residence.

        “We’ll never be part of Eurozone bailouts. Never be part of the passport-free no borders area. Or a European army. Or a EU super state.”(Source: abc.net.au/news

        OK, Gezel, chicken, ribs and bread are eaten with your fingers. Derek in Pasig from the UK, eats pizza with his fingers. Thanks for the update.

  3. I have heard of Johnny Rockets, but none in my neck of the country on the east coast of the US, so I have never eaten at one. We have a few Steak and Shakes and just recently a Bojangles was built, I think they may be similar, or Steak and Shake is since its built to resemble an old dinner somewhat. I wish they would get Arby’s in the Philippines, I like them but they have gotten to be kinda pricey here for just a large sandwich is about $6-7.00 now.

    For some reason Kenny Rogers Rosters and Shakeys have succeeded there even though they have long ago disaperaed from here. Good burgers I have not found many of so far in the Philippines, if the hamburger is fresh at S&R, I still have the best luck to make my own at home, although a red tomato is hard to find there also since most eat them green there, and I dont care for crunchy tomatoes like my wife does. We will start a garden if we can find a house to rent that has any kind of yard with it, am taking my rototiller with me when I move, just wish i could also take my small tractor but have been told to forget about that unless I want to pay a huge amount of taxes in order to do so, so it will be sold here I guess.

    Do you have 7-11 in Guimaras, Dave. Until my last trip to Davao, I had never seen one of them but they are popping up now on every block it seems.

    1. Yep, I never even realized we had any Johnny Rockets back in Illinois, Bill S, until I posted this article. I love Arby’s, too, along with Subway. Subway does have some outlets in the Philippines but none near us.

      It is surprising to see all the Kenny Rogers and Shakeys outlets here. We occasionally eat at Shakey’s when we visit the SM Delgado Mall in Iloilo because that’s about the only place to get a decent meal.

      Extremely difficult to find any Big Boy tomatoes in our neck of the woods but we do get some good cheap lettuce from the “Super” wet market in nearby Iloilo. My asawa tried to grow the big tomatoes here and although she has a green thumb, never had any success in doing so. She’s got a ton of peppers in her garden though and some smaller tomato plants.

      Nope, no 7-11 in Guimaras, Bill, but there is a 7-11 in nearby Iloilo. When I hung out overnight at Terminal 3 at NAIA last time I went to the States, I loved the 7-11 there.

      1. Your wife and mine have that much in common, they both love to have gardens. I have taken quite a few tomato varieties over there and we tried growing them at the farm and also in containers, some do better than others and cherry tomatoes do great, but are pretty much only good for salads. The really large Beefsteak varieties we have had no luck getting them the size I can grow here in to 2-2 1/2 lb size. I know your wife likes to use manure if she dosent already use it, suggest to her to try chicken manure on the tomatoes, its high in nitrogen and it might help some, will also make flowers grow well, far better than cow manure alone will do, just dont go crazy with it, it can burn the soil if you use too much of it.

        Davao is a big city, but I would guess there is far better than 50- 7-11’s that have been built in less than a year there, just driving around I see new ones being started everywhere. They have Icee machines, unfortunately they never work or they dont have any cups if the machines are working.

        1. Yes, Bill S, my wife does love to garden. She often starts gardening at 5:30 am and will work for a few hours. In the afternoon, she starts around 3 pm and has been working until 7 pm. In between her gardening, she cooks, runs errands for our workers buying supplies, goes to the market to buy fish and vegetables and helps out with the laundry.

          My asawa thought it might be helpful to plant her tomatoes in individual pots now, Bill, as she does with her pepper plants. The peppers are doing great. We both miss the Big Boy tomatoes, however.

          My spouse is still using cow manure but we have a shortage of chickens, Bill. With our new fence completely surrounding our property, our three dogs are free to roam. Our Belgian Shepard, “Killer,” has dispatched six chickens in the past week. I figure if the neighbors don’t want to keep their chickens roaming around “free range” and they cross over into our property, they’re fair game for our dogs.

          Never been to Davao, though with incoming President Duterte making it the new hub of the Philippines, I see that many more people are visiting there. Davao is fortunate to have so many 7-11’s. Be nice to have one in Guimaras.

    1. Amen to that, Roger. Too bad our little island province of Guimaras doesn’t have a good burger joint. But one of my specialties is a Cuban-inspired burger from a Bobby Flay recipe that is pretty tasty. Just have to get my brother-in-law to build that new BBQ pit for us. 🙂

  4. Dave,

    Didn’t know they had Johnny Rockets in the Philippines. My older brother said they used to have one in the Toledo area, but it closed. Now if they would get a Red Robin w/unlimited fries, Square One Burgers and Five Guy’s Burgers there that would be great. My older brother is communicating with a Filipina in Butuan and is getting pretty serious. He is planning a trip there in March with possibly retiring there in 6 years if all works out.

    1. I never had the pleasure of visiting a Red Robin (unlimited fries? that’s my kind of place!) nor have I been to a Five Guy’s. But honestly, any place that serves a good burger is a place I would visit in a heartbeat.

      Good luck to your brother, Papa Duck. I’m sure you’ve advised your brother to have the Filipina obtain a CENOMAR she can present to him. A CENOMAR, as you know, is a certification issued by the NSO, National Statistic Office of the Philippines, stating that a person has not contracted any marriage. Also called a certificate of No Record of Marriage or Certificate of Singleness. The NSO will mail the document and it can be requested by anyone.

    2. We were in Butuan last Dec. One of my brother in laws lives there. During this trip we were scouting places to retire in 4 years and 16 days. Who’s counting? We really liked the Butuan city as it is small but a bit progressive compared to some others we have been to. I was kind of set on it until Dave here made Guimares sound so good. Now on our next trip we may have to see if it is the real deal. Half the fun is in the planning and adventure. Good luck to your brother.

      1. Didn’t know much about Butuan, located in northern Mindanao, until I looked it up in Wikipedia, Mike. Does sound like a very progressive place. Wikipedia states that Butuan is a highly urbanized city and the regional center of the Caraga region. Butuan has also been called the “Timber City of the South”. I always encourage my readers to check out different places to live in the Philippines before settling on one.

        Guimaras is a sleepy little province, fairly quiet, depending on where you live and if a fiesta is going on. The number one drug pusher on the island was killed in a gunfight recently with an undercover cop, which is in line with incoming President Duterte’s plan to kill any drug pushers that try to resist arrest.

        Guimaras, however, lacks any major shopping malls, though rumors of SM building a store on the island have been rampant for years.

  5. Hi Dave, yeah we eat spaghetti with a fork and spoon but pizzas only by hand,
    I’m guessing gezel is from southern England lol a bit posher than the north,
    I love burgers but it’s hard finding good ones even in Manila can’t say I’ve ever seen
    Johnny rockets here you mention there is one in Quezon City will have to google it ,
    Had a burger at brothers burger wasn’t bad but not a patch on Texas Joe in Subic
    Derek in pasig.

    1. Thanks for the info, Derek. I’ll have to check with my British friends in Guimaras to see how they eat their pizza. Gezel is certainly more refined than I am, since I do come from a redneck portion of South Central Illinois where we called a “soda” a “sodie.”

      Derek, according to the Johnny Rockets website, they have three locations in Q-City:

      Ayala Fairview Terraces Mall
      U076, 1st Level, Grnd Floor, Maligaya Drive
      Quezon City, Philippines

      Eastwood Mall
      Ground Floor Eastwood Mall, Veranda Libis
      Quezon City, Philippines
      (632) 470-2117

      Tomas Morato
      No. 205, JR 1 Building, Tomas Morato Ave, beside CKB Center Bldg.
      Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City, Philippines
      (632) 352-0693

      1. Guys, if Derek is from the north we came from the South, East Surrey to be precise till we come home to Bacolod City last year to settle for good I do miss England though I truly loved the place. Cameron is a joke very toxic Leave campaign is gaining hopefully it will be a home run on the 23rd of June.

        1. OK, Gezel, so you folks are on different sides of the spectrum much like a Yankee who doesn’t have that much in common with a Southerner back in the States.

          I’m not a fan of the EU, Gezel, and hope that the UK does leave the union. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of Cameron, either.

  6. Good day.Funny about Kenny Rogers eatery.Never took off here in Canada.Probably because of the huge number of Swiss Chalet outlets.Any Swiss Chalet in the USA or England?Can’t remember seeing any,but I haven’t been to either country in many years.I REALLY wish I could like burgers….Joe.

    1. Haven’t heard of Swiss Chalet, Joe. From their website, it looks like they are only located in Canada.

      And burgers? It’s my Number #1 Favorite Food with pizza, baby back ribs, and my asawa’s egg rolls close behind. Sorry, you can’t have partake of any burgers, Joe.

  7. I will have to see if there are any Johnny Rockets close to me in Manila, I am always up for a good hamburger. And good hamburgers are not easy to find in the Philippines.

    I did find a really good one recently at The Handlebar Bar in Makati. Very very good hamburger and fries can be had there.

    Sometimes I will eat a pizza with a fork, but usually only in the Philippines. I am American so we basically dig in and just eat it with our hands.

    1. Well, Todd, Handlebar’s does have a cool looking website. Looks like a great place to watch sports and hear some live bands. According to Google (which is always right) the bar is less than an hour away from the Mall of Asia where we are going to in July.

      Are you following that old cliche, Todd, when you use a fork…”when in Rome…?” But anyway, a good pizza tastes great no matter how you eat it.

      1. No, I don’t follow the When In Rome deal but maybe I should. I just cannot get myself to eat with mainly a spoon, like so many filipinos do. As far as the pizza with a fork, only sometimes.

        As far as The Handlebar…I really like the place and it is very popular with foreigners. Pretty tame crowd. Good bunch of guys and gals.

        Ruby and I watch the Pacquiao fights there and I watch a lot of America football (real football and the only one that matters. Joke) there.

        And as I said before, pretty good hamburgers. Yes, from MOA it is probably 30 to 45 minutes unless you are facing holiday traffic. A warning…it is not far from ummm…ummm….one of the most famous red light districts in the Philippines. Just to let you know.

        1. There was a rowdy bunch at a sports bar in Boracay, Todd, and they were watching something I also refuse to call “football.” No offense to my British, Aussie and Kiwi friends, but Todd is right. American football is the real “football.” 🙂 I have Aussie friends on the island that pay extra to get their games televised here and they wouldn’t miss a match for anything.

          The Handlebar sounds a bit tamer than the redneck bar I used to frequent years before I met Melinda. Every Saturday night you could be guaranteed a fight or two would break out. There were beer stains and blood stains on the joint’s dirty carpeting. But the beer was cheap and it was crowded every Friday and Saturday.

  8. Good day.Gezel,have you heard of Gravesend?That where I stayed many moons ago with friends,who have since passed away.Good memories and sad ones too.Always be an England…I love Arby’s,and I think there is one in Manila.Joe.

    1. I love Arby’s, too, Joe. Couldn’t find an Arby’s in Manila when I did a search of the Arby’s website. Wikipedia states that they closed their Arby’s stores in the Philippines during the 90’s. Too bad, I love Arby’s Roast Beef.

      1. My goodness! If there were an Arby’s here I would live there. LOL. I love Arby’s and I am totally addicted to their roast beef sandwiches.

        I will say as far as places like that…Subway, the ones that I have gone to here in Makati, are pretty solid. Very much like in America. Slight differences but not major.

  9. Gezel,the EU is a modern version of the empire of Karl the Great,or Charlemagne,as the French call him.England wasn’t part of that one either,so don’t get fooled by the unionists.You guys are of the same race as Karl(well,most of you anyway),but you’ve always gone your own way politically.Good on ya!Joe.

    1. Thanks for the insight, Joe. Though I personally don’t have any stake in what the UK decides to do, as an American, I’m kind of independent, and hope the Brits decide to drop out of the EU. 🙂

      1. Dave
        Pat and I are desperately praying for the Leave campaign to win, it will be scary as we who live outside the UK will be the hardest hit when the pound dives but it’s the sacrifice worth taking.
        Joe
        I’ve only heard of Gravesend through the news, and it was not good news sorry.
        Cheers

        1. I hope the Leave campaign wins, Gezel. The pound has already taken a beating according to one of my British friends on the island who moved to Guimaras years ago. Let’s hope it doesn’t suffer too much if the campaign to leave is successful. Good luck!

Leave a Reply