Frank Speziale Photo
NORWICH – After months of renovating what was formerly the location of local-fixtures Millie's Diner and the Caboose, new local restaurant Johnny B's is open for business as of Tuesday, July 4.
Johnny B's – specializing in serving made-to-order burritos and tacos – was created by business partners and local couple Abigail Caputo and Chris Cevasco after they saw a window of opportunity in the vacant Caboose building.
“[Chris] had suggested we do a burrito/taco food truck several years ago and I just kind of brushed the idea off,” said Caputo. “Mexi-Cali flavors are something Chris and I both love, so last summer we looked at the Caboose and decided to buy it and turn it into a burrito/taco place.”
Caputo said that since the couple first bought what is now-Johnny B's in the fall of 2016, more work was warranted than they had first expected, but she says all the renovations made were necessary.
“I absolutely need to give a shout-out to my family and amazing friends that helped with this project from start to finish,” said Caputo. “The Caboose transformation wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for countless hours and long nights of hard work from all the people who helped.”
What they are left with now isn't too far off from Cevasco's initial inspiration years ago.
“My idea for [the location] is simple: I think of it as a walk-in food truck,” said Caputo.
As for the name Johnny B's, Caputo says it's a tribute to her late father, Ed Caputo, whose nickname was “Johnny Bullhead.” A beloved member of the community, a portrait of Ed now adorns the restaurant named in his honor.
Since the restaurant's opening on the Fourth of July, Caputo says the response from the public has been great.
“We've had a great response from the community which is amazing, and I am so happy to be a part of something new to Norwich,” Caputo said.
Asked if Johnny B's foresees expanding its menu to include other options in addition to burritos and tacos, Caputo said it's a possibility in the future.
“Burritos and tacos are our main focus for now, but we plan on adding different items in the near future once we find our routine,” Caputo said. “I've spent some time on my recipes and I'm very happy with the flavors. All of our ingredients are fresh and homemade: We make all the marinades, salsas, and sauces in house daily.”
With the Norwich Gus Macker taking place this Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9, Caputo says she and her staff are expecting a 'crazy' weekend at Johnny B's, but at the same time, she is excited to offer quality burritos, tacos, and tunes to the crowd.
Johnny B's hours are from noon to 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Although typically closed on Sundays, Johnny B's will be open to the public all weekend to accommodate Macker-goers.
“And we're definitely going to extend our hours in the future,” said Caputo.
Johnny B's is located at 26 East Main Street in downtown Norwich.