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Forget everything you thought you knew about John's Restaurant. Well, maybe you shouldn't forget everything...

Be sure to remember that John's has been one of southwestern Ontario's favourite restaurants for nearly 45 years. And don't forget that word of mouth about John's spread far enough to bring in big stars like Carlos Santana and David Lee Roth during their stays in town.

What the many long term customers from far and wide realize is there is more to John's than breakfast. You might not know that John's is one of the few places in town to still prepare the majority of its food from scratch.

"Our kitchen starts cooking at 4:00 a.m." says Leo Stathakis, John's Restaurant, "and we're preparing specials, soups, sauces and gravies from scratch." Our core values have remained the same for over 40 years, Great Home Cooking, Fast Friendly Service and Great Value.

People really appreciate the extra effort, it's why people come to John's from all over the region. Stathakis says that more and more people are impressed to discover that John's is much more just than a place to get breakfast.

But don't be fooled, breakfast is still a big deal at John's. You can still get the classic eggs and bacon, but that's far from all. New items include Spinach Omelets and the Breakfast Skillet featuring ham, cheese, mushroom, onion and scrambled eggs served over finely grated potato. And for all breakfasts, you can substitute tomato or fruit salad for your potatoes.

If you love peameal bacon, John's is still the place for you. It was even recognized as the largest inde- pendent buyer of Canadian peameal in all of Canada. And all eggs are purchased locally from Noppen farms.

It's this commitment to the community that has made John's part of the fabric of Sarnia-Lambton, and truly a Canadian icon.

"You just have to look at our menu to realize that this isn't your average diner," Stathakis says.

The menu still features the John's classics you remember. John's Original Pork Tenderloin is famously breaded and smothered in John's homemade gravy.

"It's a classic here," Stathakis says. "It's something that people might not think to order but once they do, they never go back."

Another classic is John's liver and onions, known throughout the town and beyond. Stathakis says he knows people who drive from London just to have this signature item.

But did you know about the Lemon Tilapia? This mild filet topped with lemon seasoning, and one of the newest favourites on John's menu. Or how about John's barbecue ribs, lake pickerel and the famous Cranberry Kick Salad. Something you won't find at just any diner.

As if the over 50 items on the dinner menu weren't enough, John's also offers unique specials every single night. Prime Rib is available on the weekends, and the Daily Wrap of the Day will keep you coming back. Home style Cabbage Rolls on Fridays, Chicken Stir Fry Thursdays, Meatloaf Wednesday and daily Spaghetti with John's special recipe sauce are some of the many specials you'll find.

John's also offers an evening of Mediterranean cuisine with Greek Nights every month. But perhaps the most famous of John's specialties is something you simply can't order many other places - turkey. Hot Turkey Mondays are tremendously popular among regulars and casual visitors alike and is only 8.99 every Monday.

"There's always something a little different going on," Stathakis says, "you never know what to expect."

The popularity of Greek night led Stathakis to start Greek Night Catering Services, where customers can go online and order a Greek Night party at for their own home. John's also features Cuban Nights, Hawaiin Nights and coming soon, Italian and Indian Nights.

But if you decide to come into John's, there will be plenty of room. New renovations have expanded the seating to over 220 people, including a brand new meeting room with its own unique menu for all kinds of gatherings. All these things have sustained John's since 1964, and made it a local landmark, and a staple of Sarnian diets.

"It's a classic diner, and family restaurant where you can be sitting for dinner, dressed in a suit, going to a special occasion, or just on an evening out where you don't feel like cooking," Stathakis says, "You're always welcome."

By Daniel Punch