Johnny Kresimir, Hootenany Promoter Extraordinaire…and Restaurateur?!

Johnny Kresimir has one of the most important jobs in Orange County: he's the promoter for Hootenany, the annual rockabilly-punk soiree that's a rite of passage for North and Central OC kids (with a couple of South County and coastal wimps thrown in). But what most of those 'billies probably don't know is that Kresimir is also a restaurateur. Can a punk cook a mean steak? This one can.

Johnny's Saloon
began as an outlaw country bar and steakhouse in Hemet in 1982, run by
his father, Johnny, Sr.. “My dad was passionate about food. Our
specialty was our prime rib, lobster, and crab,” Kresimir said. “My dad
sold prime rib for $6.99 every night.”

Kresimir grew up in
Orange County and went to high school in Fullerton. He developed a love
for punk rock that never left him. When he worked at his father's
saloon, he set up concerts after dinner. “We had a line out the door
four nights a week.”
Johnny Sr. died in 1997.
Johnny took over the restaurant, despite the fact that he lived in
Orange County. He would commute every week by spending a few nights in
Hemet and a few nights at home.  In 2003, Kresimir moved the saloon to
its current home in Huntington Beach off Beach and Slater.
the new location came a few changes, but the heart of the business
stayed true. “It started as an outlaw country saloon and steakhouse. I
grew up loving punk rock and so I added that to it.”

“Hemet was more of a rough biker atmosphere. I call it the Wild Wild West. Huntington is just as fun. It has a great, laid back beach

The new Johnny's doesn't have a kitchen or a stage, but the large
lit sign advertises “Live Music” and “Prime Rib” on the back wall pays
tribute to their past. He traded in his stage for a punk rock juke box.
“We don't have live music here because you can go every night and not
have to hear a band you don't like. You don't have to sit through some
reggae band. Instead, we have a punk rock jukebox,” Kresimir said.
“We're the place you go on the nights you aren't at a show.”

After walking through thick black
curtains you're greeted by two life size Oompaa Loompaa dolls tattooing
each other in the corner. The bar is darkened by black walls and lit by a
red glow and candles that float and descend from the ceiling a la The
Haunted Mansion. One of Kresimir's latest additions to decor is the
infamous “Dirty Donald”: a coin-operated children ride often found in
front of grocery stores of Donald Duck. You ride Donald's belly while
his bill is in a suggestive place. According to Kresimir, the ride was
actually made by Disney but soon after discontinued for obvious reasons.

“I'm into décor a lot. I don't paint well, but I do funny quirky things,” he said.

there's the drinks. “Every bar has the same product,” he says. “I don't see a reason to charge $9
a drink. We come from a blue-collar background. I want you to have a
good time and still leave with money in your pocket.” Cocktails are
stiff and run about $5. There are no beers on tap, but
they have plans to put Jameson on tap soon. Kresimir's
brother, Bruno Nosic, created many of their signature drinks in what they call the candy
cocktail collection. Swedish Fish and Gummy Bear martinis have candies
at the bottom or the Pop My Cherry has a Pop Rocks rim. Others are named after rock icons such as the Iggy Pop,
Joe Strummer, Hank and Coke, and Loretta Lynn. Their latest creation is
the Killer Klown: a cocktail poured over dry ice and cotton candy in a
martini glass,  bubbling and fizzing-ly sweet. Bruno
also infuses his own vodkas with flavors from Hot Tamales to cucumber.

warnings to Johnny Cash haters, hippies and Beatles lovers that hang
on the wall, Johnny's is actually a welcoming place. “Everybody is
always friendly, even though it may not look like it at first glance. We
have a Cheers vibe. We call ourselves the Twisted Cheers of OC. It's a
neighborhood spot where everyone knows your name. Everyone is welcome no
matter what you look like or the music you're into.”

certain nights, guests get treated to a spectical when Johnny Cash's
“Ring of Fire” comes on. The bartenders will throw some liquor on the bar
and fire it up for the duration of the song.[
The Ring of Fire
Thursday nights Johnny's hosts the Kogi BBQ truck and the BaconMANia
truck on Saturdays. Thursdays are their big nights. They bring in a
magician, an acoustic act, and a local painter, Gordo, who paints live
in the parking lot.

2010, Kresimir ventured back into the food business with three business
partners; Wendie Huffman, Jamie Fischer and Kevin Johnson (who he met
at Johnny's). “We had this concept of a restaurant/ art gallery fusion.
We want to provide a creative atmosphere for art and artists.”

2nd Floor,
located upstairs on Main Street in Huntington Beach, combines gourmet
food, fun cocktails and edgy art. Chef Huffman was the executive chef at
the House of Blues Anaheim and the Honda Center. The kitchen is “99% scratch.” she said. “A lot of integrity
goes in to our food. It's not processed. We make all of our own seasons
and sauces and cut all of our own meat.”

“We have amazing food created by Chef Wendie,” Kresimir says. “I want to share her
creative recipes with downtown Huntington Beach and do something
different down here. There are a lot of great places here, so why do the
same thing as everyone else?”

Carrying the theme of Johnny's, many of their dishes
are named after rock icons like the James Brownie and the
Greens Day salad. One of their better appetizers are the Zepplin
Poppers: jalapenos stuffed with shrimp and cream cheese, bacon-wrapped
and fried and served with raspberry chipotle dipping sauce. Huffman said
that their best selling dish is their Spicy Orange Chicken served over
brown rice and Thai green beans.

But their biggest
attraction is their Colossal Burgers. “We have the biggest burgers in downtown. Maybe even OC,” Kresmir said. Huffman suggests the Tatoo (c.q) Lou, is a
Thanksgiving-style feast: a chicken-fried burger, onion rings, mashed
potatoes, pickled onions, sausage gravy, Buffalo sauce, cheese sauce
between a potato bun. Other Colossal Burgers have hot dogs, teriyaki
pork, fried egg, sour cream or sauerkraut. [

Southern Man Colossal Burger

just insane. Clearly, we've lost our minds. They're 8 oz burgers, and
weigh 2 lbs,” Huffman said. “We put a sample of our colossal burgers on
the sidewalk, and it really stops people in their tracks. We call it the
Stop Sign Burger.”
Huffman left her job at the House of
Blues restaurant to start 2nd Floor. “We left stable jobs to pursue
something we were passionate about,” she adds. “It was a leap of faith; none of us
knew. For the first month we worked fourty hours straight but right off
the bat we found success and we are so thankful.” She added that the
risk was worth it. “I won the culinary lotto. I get to do what I want to
do everyday.”

2nd Floor host a variety of events from
Classical Carnage on Wednesdays which features a collection of live
musicians that play rock and roll in the classical style. They also host
monthy art shows. All of the art that hangs on their walls are for sale
and 100% of the profits goes to the artists. They
plan to expand the company and open more locations locally, to “challenge ourselves,” Kresmir said. Though no locations are
set in stone, he expects deals to go through any day now.
“I want to go to areas that have a need for this kind concept.”

And as if running a bar and restaurant isn't enough, Kresimir and the 2nd floor also cater local music festivals such as MusInk music and tattoo festival in Costa Mesa and the upcoming The Hootenanny rockabilly
festival on July 2 in Irvine. They will be serving the bands and the
VIP section, which is open to anyone in the public that wants to front
the $100 price tag. They get free food from 2nd Floor and free drinks
from Johnny's all day. “I got 15 cases of Sailor Jerry's to start,” Kresimir says. “We're
going to serve Sailor and Lemonade,” among other Johnny's specials. Behind the bar they're going to set up an 8' by 8' wall and have
Gordo paint live as well.

Johnny's Saloon, 17428 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 848-0676; 2nd Floor, 126 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 969-9000;

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