147 N. Barranca
West Covina, CA 91791
Parking: Free Lot!
Time: Monday-Friday – 4pm to Close; Saturday & Sunday – ALL Day!
Drink Deals: $3 Large Beers (they were big!) & House Wines; $4 Bellini’s and Italian Margaritas
Food Deals: ½ off Appetizers and Pizzas
Here's something we'll drink to! HHT-regular Booze is starting a new website about doing good work – be it volunteering or donating your goods or money, etc and I’m excited to share more info about it when the site goes live in the new year! Until then, I can tease that we participated in a fun volunteer activity recently working on a Rose Parade float all the way out in Irwindale.
Where is Irwindale, you ask? You know, close to Azusa and West Covina – those suburban LA communities where bigger is better. Seriously, I’ve never seen a 30-screen movie theater before this trip! Anyhow, after a daytime shift at the Rose Parade HQ, we made our way to West Covina for a Happy Hour I’d found on where else – the internet.
The joint is called Johnny Carino’s and I guess the So-Cal chain is best described as a cross between Olive Garden and Maria’s Italian Kitchen – big & roomy like the former, but more home-y and with more vintage decor like the latter. Plus, Johnny C’s has a better Happy Hour than both those restaurants combined (which makes sense because I don’t even think Olive Garden has one :). Although our bartender did tell us that JC’s Happy Hour will be changing soon – the deals are good now: $3 & $4 drinks and ½ off all pizzas and appetizers and this is from 4pm to close on Monday-Friday and ALL Day on the weekends! HH is served in the bar only.
Excited by the prospect of $4 bellinis, we made those our first drink order and oh were they good – especially after a day of light manual labor! I switched out for my 2nd drink, trying a $4 Italian Margarita, which was just a little too sweet & sour for my palate – I wish I’d stuck with the bellini!
I also wish the food menu had a description of the food items instead of just the names. Luckily, I’d done a little research on their website before and decided on the Italian Nachos (ordered without meat) with fried wonton like chips covered in black olives, pepporcinis, roma tomatoes, and 3 cheeses (including an Alfredo Sauce) – $4.50 during Happy Hour. Having started out with a slightly wonky stomach (winter bug?), I might have gone for another appetizer if I’d had the menu to remember the 3 cheeses. As it was, that was a bit decadent for my belly!
Booze fared slightly better with her Shrimp Scampi, deliciously pan-fried shrimp served on Garlic Toast with a white wine butter sauce and roasted tomatoes – $7 during Happy Hour (a deal at $7, not so much at the regular $14 price). Johnny Carino’s also serves complimentary freshly baked bread alongside olive oil infused with roasted minced garlic. Everything was very tasty; I just wish I’d practiced a little more moderation!
The scene was fine – I loved the swingin’ holiday tunes and the high chairs by the bar (though we wished there’d been purse hooks) and overall, it was pretty quiet until we left at 4:30 when several groups of people arrived. I did find it a little strange when the bartender disappeared for a seemingly long stretch, I’m still not sure if she was on break or it was a shift change; you do wish they’d let you know and ask if you need anything else before going, but as we often find on Happy Hour Tours, you can’t win everything!
At least the food & drink prices are so good you might consider making the jaunt to your nearest Johnny Carino’s!
Rating: 4.5 Martinis