Drinks to Warm You Up This Holiday Season

As the winter months bring more chilly winter days, getting creative and finding new drink recipes is a great way to have fun while staying warm this holiday season! Wither it’s a switch-up on an old classic or you are looking to try something new, there are plenty of drinks that can remind you of the holidays while expanding your drinking pallet and keeping warm. Below are a few ideas for your next round.

Warm Orange Maple Old Fashioned

A drink that earned the name the old fashioned has stood the test of time. An orange maple old fashioned is similar to the beverage, but with a twist. Add boiling water to maple bourbon and combine with muddled sugar and bitters. Complete with a cinnamon stick garnish and an orange peel. This drink is sure to be a holiday hit and warm you up from the inside out!

Holiday Hot Toddy

A hot toddy is a classic drink that everyone should try at some point! For a holiday take on the classic bourbon hot toddy, spice things up by adding any type of holiday spiced liquor such as pumpkin or peppermint. Plus, since this drink is tea based it’s perfect to drink morning, afternoon, or night! We recommend asking your bartender what options they have for the holidays so you can try something new and bold, you will not be disappointed.

Cranberry Gin and Tonic

Grab your classic gin and tonic and add a little bit of holiday cheer by adding come cranberry juice and garnishing with a lime, mint, or rosemary. This drink is perfect for someone who would like a cold drink but does not want anything too sugary or sweet. This beverage is the perfect balance of alcohol and festive seasonal berries so you enjoy the holidays in more ways than one.

Final Thoughts

Have fun this season knowing you don’t have to stick with your typical beer or wine. These holiday cocktails are sure to bring festive flavors and help open doors for many more festive drinks this holiday season! Spice things up while staying warm by trying one of the drinks above at your local bar Johnny’s Bar & Grill.

Popular American Appetizers

Restaurants across North America serve an assortment of appetizers, which begs the question: What appetizers are the most popular on the menu? Well for starters (pun intended), we admit that these small bites are perfect when you want to snack on something before your main dish. From boneless wings to cheesy mozzarella sticks, read more to find out which American appetizers reign supreme!

Boneless Wings

Easy to eat and deliciously flavored, boneless wings are at the top of our appetizer list. You can’t go wrong with savory wings and an ice-cold beer. At American-style restaurants, there are an array of flavors to choose, such as BBQ, hot, mild, and more. This appetizer usually comes with a dipping sauce too, which complements the flavor of the wings.


Although nachos are considered a Mexican dish, this cheesy plate has made its way onto American menus everywhere. Nachos can simply be served with melted cheese, but many restaurants are taking nachos to the extreme. Ground beef, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, sour cream, and salsa are just some of the toppings that are found on top of nachos. They are not a “heavy” appetizer, which is why so many people enjoy nachos!

Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella sticks are definitely an appetizer you can indulge in. They are prepared by breading the outside of a mozzarella cheese stick and deep-fried until golden. This dish is typically served with a side of warm marinara sauce. Mozzarella sticks are a staple appetizer at bars and restaurants because of the fried bits and gooey cheese, making it an optimal choice to pair with beer.


Do you have a favorite appetizer, maybe one that we didn’t mention in this blog? Comment down below!

Gettin’ hungry? We recommend ordering from Johnny’s Bar & Grill for dine-in, takeout, and delivery to try our famous appetizers and entrees. You can find our full menu on DoorDash. Place an order by calling (815) 626-7767. We look forward to serving you soon!

New York vs Chicago Style Pizza

Whether you’re a fan of New York Style pizza or Chicago style, most can agree that pizza is better than no pizza. In this month’s blog post we will compare the two styles to determine how they’re similar, different, and what makes each of them so uniquely great.

New York Style

Those who prefer New York style pizza are fond of its portability and classic simplicity. New York style is defined as having a thin and particularly large crust, so large in fact that locals are known to fold the pizza in half lengthways in order to get a full bite.

The experts have perfected the art of producing hand-tossed pies that are both crispy and pliable enough to fold. A classic New York style pizza is only topped with sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Chicago Style

Lovers of Chicago style pizza enjoy the comfort of sitting down with a fork and knife to enjoy their deep dish pies. A traditional deep dish Chicago style pizza will be an inch or two tall and packed with chunky tomato sauce, cheese and other toppings. Since every slice is usually loaded to the brim with delicious toppings, most can only enjoy a slice, maybe two.

Final Thoughts

Both New York and Chicago style pizza have earned their way to fame and into many happy hearts and bellies. When you’re craving hot, fresh, and delicious pizza with a bit of New York style flare, head to Johnny’s Bar & Grill!

Flavorful Beers to Pair with Your Food

Men’s Journal says it best – “When pairing beer and food, it all comes down to matching the food’s flavors to the flavors of the beers.” Your brew and bite to eat can truly complement each other, but only if you understand how food and drink pairings work. Usually, bold and rich lagers are paired with meats, while light and hoppy ales go well with seafood and pasta. Learn more about the best beer flavors to pair with your meal!

Pizza/All Beer

When it comes to a cheesy dish, almost any beer pairs well. From cheesy breads to pan-dish pizzas, you don’t have to worry about which beer to choose. If you are ordering a light dish, such as a thin-crust pizza, lighter beers like ales or pale lagers are perfect.  

Seafood/Blonde Ales

Chicken and seafood dishes can have a lot of flavor; therefore, you don’t want to overpower the flavors with a heavy beer. Instead, opt for a beer that is lighter. Anything from a Belgian Blonde ale and German Hefeweizen to a Blue Moon can complement your fish or chicken. For richer creams and sauces, it makes sense to go for a heavier beer.

Burgers/Fuller Porter/Stouts

The best pairing for a burger or steak dish is with a dark stout. Brown ales and lagers are also great choices. Matt Simpson from The Beer Sommelier comments, “The idea is to balance the sweet malt and bitter aromatic hops. Any big robust beef or meaty food should include a beer that is big and bold enough to stand up to roasted meat like a darker, fuller porter or stout.”


Visit our sports bar to order a handcrafted beer from Johnny’s Bar & Grill. We have imported and domestic beers that pair well with our delicious meals. Browse our menu to order your favorite beer and bites today!

Pool Table Etiquette

Playing pool at a bar or a billiard is a great opportunity to have fun with friends and show off your skills. Such a game can go from a friendly match to a competitive game depending on who you are playing with and their skill level. Whether you are new to the game, or have experience, you must know a few rules of etiquette to have an enjoyable game while showing your opponent some respect. Read along as we discuss a few of these rules!

Give Your Opponent Space

It is a common mistake to hover over your opponent or grab some chalk while it is their turn. This is bad pool etiquette. If it’s your opponents turn, sit back and watch. Staying in their point of view, or even grabbing chalk while their trying to focus can be very distracting, stay classy and give them their space as you’d like your space too.

No Drinks on the Table

Don’t do it! Do not put drinks or any food on the pool table, place them in their designated area. The last thing you want to do is spill your drink on the table, ruining everyone’s time, it’s considered a big party foul!

Do Not Distract Your Opponent On Purpose

It is against the official pool association rules to stand behind an opponent’s shot. If you are playing with friends, these rules are a lot more lenient, but when playing a serious match, be respectful and don’t stand in the direction they are aiming.

Conclusion Next time you go to a bar or billiard to play pool keep these rules in mind. If you are playing with a stranger spark up a conversation to understand their level of seriousness for the game. Proper pool etiquette is important for a fun and safe game. The more you play pool the better you’ll come to understand these rules. Enjoy a game of pool and delicious food here at Johnny’s Bar & Grill in Sterling, IL!

The Best Pizza Topping Combinations

A simple pie needs just a couple of basic ingredients like bread, sauce, and cheese. However, pizza connoisseurs know that there are more ingredients needed to make the perfect pizza. With so many different toppings to choose from, it’s no wonder why classic combinations, such as pepperoni and cheese, have a permanent place on restaurant menus. Read more about which pizza topping combinations are customer favorites at Johnny’s!


Even though this topping combination is a controversial topic for some pizza eaters, it still holds its own on the menu. Cooked with fresh pineapple and Canadian bacon, Hawaiian pizza offers a savory and sweet taste. Spizzico Italian Kitchen adds, “there are so many possibilities with pineapple. It makes a great standalone topping, but it also tastes great with other pizza toppings. Ham and pineapple are the classic duo, although pineapple also pairs well with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, chicken, olives and more.”

BBQ Chicken

With hints of smoky and tangy notes, BBQ pizza is reminiscent of summer pastimes on the grill. This combination uses BBQ sauce as a base with grilled chicken breast, mushroom, onion, and mozzarella cheese. It may not have traditional pizza sauce as a base, but its BBQ sauce replacement is just as good and definitely complements the rest of the ingredients!


This pizza has all of the delicious toppings a vegetarian can enjoy, without the meat of course! A hearty vegetarian pizza consists of fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and black olives. Of course, there are options to add more veggies, but those important decisions are left up to the customer.

Our Thoughts

At Johnny’s Bar & Grill, we are the masters at cooking the best hand-made, freshly baked pizza. Our menu consists of many pizza topping combinations to satisfy your hunger. We have the classic combos, Hawaiian and BBQ Chicken, as well as our own creations, Johnny’s Special and Mama Mia, and much more. Browse our full menu online and place an order today!

The Best Summer Mocktails

When the weather starts warming up and parties begin to happen, having a menu on non-alcoholic drinks is essential! Whether you are new to the mocktail scene or you simply are looking for ways to improve the flavor of your juice or water, continue reading this month’s blog to learn the best recipes!


One of the best ingredients to have around during the summer is something citrus. You can use the peel to create a fancy topper or decoration and then squeeze the juice to give your drink flavor. Adding some citrus to your water can help motivate you to stay hydrated while also giving you the added health benefits of citrus. If you’re looking to make your citrus water even more fancy, add some juice, sugar and club soda to your citrus juice!

Another great drink to make during the warm months of summer is whipped lemonade. Lemonde is a classic, but adding some ice and whipping it up in a blender can take it to the next level. It will feel like you are on vacation and enjoying a desert instead of simply staying hydrated with lemonade!

Another great way to stay hydrated with a mocktail is by adding slices of fruit to your water and allowing it to sit. When you add cucumber, mint, strawberries, lemon, and other flavorful fruits, you are essentially creating a hydrating detox. You are staying hydrated with the water while also getting the health benefits from the added pieces of fruit. The flavor will be amazing and you will see the benefits after!


Having a menu ready for those who are interested in a hydrating mocktail during the warm summer months is a must! For any additional professional mocktail ideas, be sure to head on down to Johnny’s Bar & Grill!

How to Support Local Restaurants During COVID-19

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, several state governments have mandated the closure of small businesses such as nail salons, restaurants, and bars. Through these trying times, many businesses such as Johnny’s Bar and Grill have been able to remain open while implementing steps to help combat the virus. Going out to dine at a restaurant might not be the same as it was before, but the support that one can provide to their favorite local restaurants is a lot. Read along as we list a few ways in which you can support your local restaurants during this pandemic.

Order Take-out

You might not be able to dine at your favorite places to eat, but you can still enjoy them in the comfort of your home! Restaurants such as ours are offering curbside pickup or delivery to help flatten the curve while remaining efficient. Call your order ahead of time or order online and have it ready to go by the time you get there. If you don’t want to leave the house at all, order through a food delivery service, they too are adapting to the changes and some are even taking it a step further by offering contactless delivery. Just remember to tip your driver!

Tip Your Server

Truth is, we are all experiencing this pandemic together. And while some have been laid-off or furloughed, other’s such as our wonderful team are still coming in to work to provide our customers with their favorites. Recognize their hard work and make their day a bit brighter by leaving them a tip!  

Leave a Positive Review

Virtual appreciation goes a long way! This a quick and easy way to show your appreciation for your favorite local restaurants, and needless to say, it is also free! Froom Google to Yelp and Facebook, there are plenty of platforms where you can share your positive comments. This will not only put a smile on their face, but it will also grab viewers’ attention and convince them to try that place out too!

Repost, Like, and Share!

With everyone staying at home and being more socially active online, it has made it easier for small business owners to connect with their fan base. If you are following a restaurant or any other small business online, make sure to like or share their content!

We hope that these ideas have motivated you to show your support to the local businesses around you. If you are in the Sterling, IL area, feel free to order some delicious American food from our restaurant! We are offering curbside pick. Learn more about our local restaurant and updates by following us on Facebook!

Don’t Wing It, Here’s a Recipe Instead!

Appetizers and snacks are what we’re all about at Johnny’s Bar & Grill! In order to satisfy your hunger, we thought we would share a recipe that anyone can make from home. With just a few simple ingredients, you can make your own baked buffalo wings. These are easy to bake in your oven without having the mess of a fryer. Just add a side of celery sticks and ranch and you’ve got yourself a delicious homemade meal. Continue reading to find out what you need for this spicy snack!

Ingredient Checklist:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 20 chicken wings
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot)


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Add the chicken wings, seal, and toss until well coated with the flour mixture. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place into the refrigerator. It’s recommended to refrigerate at least 1 hour before baking!
  3. Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl. Dip the wings into the butter mixture, and place back on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and crispy on the outside. Cook for about 45 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

Share Your Wings on Social Media

Follow us on our social media pages and post a picture to show us your wing meal! We would love to see how your wings turned out. Our customers can also place an order for curbside pickup for wings, burgers, and more. Call us at (815) 626-7767 or visit our website today!

How to Grill Like a Pro

When you sit down to eat at a restaurant, your expectations of a great burger is juicy, tender, and grilled right? Seeing those appetizing grill marks on a burger makes all the difference. Of course, it comes down to the person standing in front of the grill making your food. If you want to learn how to become a grill master yourself, here are a few tips and tricks to get started.

Basic Rules to Follow

Cooking on the grill is an American pastime and an honored position whether you’re hosting a party or preparing a meal for the family. In order to practice good grilling habits, you will want to begin by cleaning the grate to prevent your meat from sticking. Next, you will need to reserve some time for your grill to heat up. You want it to be hot enough to get your burger cooked all the way through, even if it’s just medium-rare. Depending on if you’re working with a gas or charcoal grill, you will want to keep an eye on your food. Some grilling items may need a lower temperature to cook, like your fish, chicken, and vegetables. If you’re cooking a burger, it’s best to use a medium heat for a gas grill. Flip when necessary to get an even grill on both sides of the meat. It’s also important to have the right tools to flip the meat and have them nearby at a moment’s notice. One tip that grillers should always follow is to not step away from the grill for too long; the last thing you want to happen is for your perfectly marinated burger to burn!


Grilling burgers is what we do best at Johnny’s Bar & Grill. We have our seasoned chefs and cooks on the line to grill your burger to perfection. Whether you want to enjoy a drink and game at our bar, you can always count on us for a delicious burger. Be ready to order when you visit our restaurant by checking out our menu online. We can’t wait to serve you!

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