R.I.P, Johnny Raizian
  • R.I.P, Johnny Raizian
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The big revolving sign outside Johnny's R Restaurant at 2611 El Cajon Boulevard has stopped spinning. The inexpensive family restaurant, originated by Johnny Raizian, had a run of more than 30 years in North Park. Raizian died on April 26, 2011.

In recent months, the restaurant has not been busy. From reading a number of reviews at yelp.com, customers of late said the service was still good but the food quality had gone downhill.

While I was taking photos on June 19, property owner Manny Hagopian happened to come by. Hogopian said he will be leasing the property, not selling it (due to the depressed real estate market). He said he'd had some interest already from potential lessees.

The restaurant site is located on a street dotted with eateries. Denny's is a block west, while across the street are Taco Bell and Coco's Bakery Restaurant. San Diego Chicken Pie Shop is just east of Johnny's R. Further east on El Cajon Boulevard are several fast-food outlets.

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Ken Harrison June 20, 2012 @ 1:31 p.m.

I sure hope whoever leases the place understands the power of that Johnny R character on the sign. They'd be foolish to change the name.


dwbat June 20, 2012 @ 4:29 p.m.

I admit I know nothing about the restaurant business. But it's a sign of the times as mom 'n' pop restaurants (and stores) continue to disappear across the country. They simply cannot compete anymore with the regional and national chain operations. The restaurant operator (who took over from "Johnny R") could not make it work. I think they would be foolish to KEEP the name if the site remains a restaurant, as it doesn't have the panache needed. It is too dated. Midrange, stylish restaurants seem to be what diners want now. Not high price, but not fast food either. Like Pita Jungle, which now occupies an old space.in Hillcrest,


SanCarlosGuy June 20, 2012 @ 5:58 p.m.

I think Dwbat is absolutly correct. Change the name, and move in a stylish, mid-price range restaurant serving quality fresh food and maybe alchohol. There are many cutomers within walking or short drive distance to this location.


dwbat Aug. 24, 2012 @ 7:23 p.m.

It looks like that is happening. According to the Facebook page for Brians' American Eatery: "So to put any rumors to rest: Brians' American Eatery on Washington will not be re-opening. Instead we are moving to Lil B's at 2611 El Cajon Blvd. Yes, it is the former location of Johnny's R Family Restaurant."


dwbat Aug. 25, 2012 @ 11:51 a.m.

I went by today for a look, and the renovations are going fast. The owner (Brian) was there, and said their opening should be around Sept. 9. The employees at the old Brians' are all coming aboard too, he said. [Yes, Brians' is spelled correctly because there were two Brians at the now-closed restaurant.]



dwbat Oct. 10, 2012 @ 8:18 p.m.

I went by today and Lil B's is now open. Will try it out soon.


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