Johnny’s grill reopens: grill fires up after an eight-week search for cook



photo by Michael Hsu

Calvin students can now grab a hot meal at Johnny’s grill — a favorite dining option on campus.

The grill officially reopened on Oct. 26 after being out of operation for nearly eight weeks. Currently operating with limited hours, Johnny’s will again serve made-to-order hot food including burgers and sandwiches. The grill is open on Monday through Thursday from 4-7 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, customers are encouraged to wait for their meals in the Johnny’s dining area, where employees will hand deliver their meals. 

Although the bodega-style store has been open since the start of the year selling snacks, drinks and cold foods, the grill was closed because dining services was unable to find a cook that fit the position until now. 

Marvale Jones, marketing manager for dining services, said that Johnny’s needed a cook who was organized, a team player and could lead and teach students well.

Once a cook was hired, the scramble to hire student employees began. Johnny’s is predominantly student run and about 20 students were hired to help run the grill and help with extra sanitation protocols. “Without student employees we wouldn’t have been able to open Johnny’s,” Jones said. “We’ve hired about 30 students this semester between Johnny’s, Concessions and the Marketplace.”

Papa Kwesi Sterlin is a returning employee who Jones said was an essential part of allowing the grill to come back. Sterlin is in his third year of working with dining services and said he continues because of the people. “I’ve built a strong connection with dining services,” he said. “They work with my schedule and they’re all very nice people.” The return of hot food at Johnny’s moves dining services toward their ultimate goal and theme for the year: reuniting food and community. “Since we weren’t able to dine before, we were able to bring people back together and help them in their ‘food journey’,” Sterlin said.