Breakfast is one of the most difficult meals to accommodate for those traveling while managing food allergies. For instance, our son is allergic to eggs. This pretty much takes out pancakes, waffles, omelettes, muffins, etc. However, when you find a place that has taken the time to find ways to accommodate customers with such dietary restrictions, you consider that place a “gem”! That’s exactly how we felt after having breakfast at Johnny’s D’s Waffle and Benedicts during our Myrtle Beach adventure! Curious to find out why? (Warning – there are photos ahead that may very well induce the intense sensation of extreme hunger).
This is a sponsored post in partnership with Johnny D’s Waffles and Benedicts. However, trust me ~ the opinion I share is 100% mine and mine alone (and my family’s)! This post does contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Johnny D’s ~ One of The Best Breakfast Spots in Myrtle Beach
Since its opening in 2014, Johnny D’s has been a favorite “go-to” for breakfast among both the locals and visiting tourists. With an expansive menu that includes omelettes, skillets, Benedicts, waffles and more, anyone sitting down to dine at the restaurant is sure to find something to satisfy the strongest of “hanger” pains.
But making a delicious meal is not the only focus of owners Johnny D and daughter Chef Jamie Daskalis. They not only want people to enjoy hearty, creative plates full of flavor, they are determined to give customers the feeling that they are dining among friends, family even. They aim to create a community feel within the restaurant and, even more, the opportunity for customers to connect with them personally. It is not uncommon for Johnny D or Chef Jamie to walk the room, greeting guests, grinning from ear to ear. It’s just who they are and what they want their values to reflect.
Our Sunday Arrival
We walked into the restaurant at 9 am sharp on a Sunday. The restaurant was already packed with chatter and absolutely smelled delicious. We were warmly greeted by the hostess, who then directed us to the General Manager, Danielle. Danielle had such a welcoming smile on her face and was ready to take care of us. The plan had been to meet Chef Jamie, but family matters required her to be away from the restaurant for the moment.
Family always comes first.
Danielle walked us over to our seat and a natural conversation began. It came that easy!
She shared a little of the restaurant’s history, the story behind the menu and Chef Jamie’s dedication to the community at large. Danielle herself has been the General Manager of Johnny D’s for approximately two years and her face showed just how much she enjoys being there.
**Check out what else we did while visiting Myrtle Beach: Leaving Footprints in Myrtle Beach
Let’s Talk About Chef Jamie for a second…
Chef Jamie Daskalis got her start young. Her father had four restaurants in New York and it was typical for her to spend time in at least one of them. Going into the culinary arts just seemed like a natural course to take. However, she directed herself more towards mastering pastries and baking. Over time, she actually realized how much she actually loved cooking and found a way to utilize her skills to create menus that involved both specialties.
When her father moved to Myrtle Beach and opened Johnny D’s, it wasn’t too long after that Jamie followed with her son. She began working on a creative menu for the restaurant that would attract crowds from far and wide. From red velvet waffles and hearty skillets to the most creative Benedicts, Chef Jamie designed a menu that made it next to impossible to not find something to enjoy.
That even goes for the dietary restricted community.
For those who are vegan, gluten-free or have severe, life-threatening food allergies, Chef Jamie has worked diligently to create options and a safe space where these meals can be prepared. A dedicated chef on duty takes the reins when an order needs special attention. The order is safely prepared and delivered separately from other meals in order to prevent cross contamination.
NOTE TO FOOD ALLERGY FAMILIES: While the staff at Johnny D’s does all they can to create a safe environment and prepare special request meals free of allergens, they do have allergens in-house. Eggs are a primary ingredient in many of their meals and there are plates that include various forms of tree nuts (pecans, for one). Dairy and gluten are also used in a majority of the menu items. First and foremost – ALWAYS HAVE EPINEPHRINE ON HAND!! My son never eats outside the house without knowing his auto-injector is close by. We felt very comfortable and safe during our visit, but were prepared for an accidental emergency. You know your medical situation better than anyone. It is up to you to make wise and safe decisions that will enable you to continue experiencing your best life.
Meeting Johnny D
At one point during our visit, a young gentleman came popping over to see how everything was going. At first, he did not introduce himself and we figured he was just a kind-hearted man who happened to work in management. He remained smiling, cheerful and genuinely interested in how we were doing. After chatting with us for a minute or two, he moved himself around the dining room. He engaged in conversation with as many customers as possible.
It wasn’t until a few minutes later that Danielle returned to our table. When she did, she informed me that the gentleman was indeed Johnny D himself! My jaw dropped and I admit I was a little embarrassed. I wish I had known! However, Danielle and I quickly turned the conversation into a rundown of his accomplishments, his role at the restaurant and the role of family. Before we left for our journey home, I was even able to snag a picture with Johnny D. He selected this backdrop as this is a one of his favorite parts of the restaurant.
Breakfast Is Served!
When our meals arrived, we were ready to dig in – but not until after pictures, of course. My poor boys (all three of them!!). The presentation was fantastic and I had to capture everything in front of them on film.
Once they had permission to dig in, they were all over it.
The middle teen had the Brisket Skillet, which consisted of braised BBQ brisket served on top of seasoned home fries. It also came with house-pickled jalapeños and baby bell mushrooms, all topped with smoked Gouda cheese. He also had two eggs served over medium and an English muffin. Yup – that was a hearty skillet for a growing teenage boy!
Hubby chose the Waffle Platter under the He-Man Breakfast menu. He substituted the regular Belgian waffle with a specialty red velvet waffle (upcharge for those who choose this, but worth it) and was glad he did! That red velvet Belgian waffle tasted so sweet (yes, he gave me a bite)! Along with the housemade waffle, his plate included two eggs & a choice of bacon or sausage (he chose bacon).
What was on my plate?
I am a HUGE eggs Benedict fan, so I had to go with one of the special Benedict plates. Since Danielle told me that the hash was made in-house, I had to give it a try. So, an Irish Benedict it was for me! My entree also came with a side of grits, which is not something I would typically order. With the honey butter melting in the center, though, it was sooooo good!
Something else that was unique about my Benedict was how it was served. I am used to having my Benedict served on an English muffin. Well, Danielle convinced me to try it on a biscuit. When in Rome, right? I admit, I still love my English muffin, but this was VERY good and I would have it this way again the next time I visit.
Food Allergy Accommodations
Rewind to the beginning of the post. I mentioned up there how difficult it is for those with an egg allergy to eat breakfast in a restaurant. Well, Chef Jamie loves to create comfortable environments for those who often find themselves in uncomfortable situations. Her team follows the same practice. Since the kitchen is designed to provide for the vegan community, the chef in back was able to create a plate for our son that was completely free and safe from eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. Talk about a task!
Separately delivered, of course, our son’s plate consisted of vegan banana chocolate chip pancakes topped with strawberries. Danielle had even gone back to check on the ingredient label for the chocolate chips. She wanted to ensure they were safe for him (without disclaimers!). His entree came with his own serving of pure maple syrup, along with some ham and sausage on the side. The ham and sausage had both been prepared in a separate skillet, away from the other meats. Our son’s eyes lit up like Christmas tree lights ~ and he devoured nearly every single bite. The only thing stopping him was the fact that his stomach had reached max capacity before the last few bites!
We didn’t want to say goodbye
The time came for us to wipe the corner of our mouths with our napkin for the last time and take the final sip from our coffee cup. I confess ~ I actually felt a little sad. Danielle and Johnny D had genuinely treated us as though we were family. I really didn’t want the conversation with Danielle to end. Needless to say, we know we have a favorite spot for breakfast any time our family visits Myrtle Beach. I highly recommend that you and your family give it a try, too!!
**NOTE: During peak vacation seasons, this venue is popular. Plan ahead, if you can!!!
Oh, wait!! There’s more – keep reading!!
BONUS: Chef Jamie’s compassion and heart go far beyond food allergy accommodation. As she has a young son with autism, Jamie desires to bring awareness and understanding to the struggles and beauty of people with autism. Through organizations such as SOS Health Care and Champion Autism Network, Chef Jamie has become an integral part of a community working towards making Myrtle Beach an autism-friendly travel and living destination.
She also has her own line of Make It Delicious spices and is working on a cookbook with the same name. A limited number of cookbooks will be available for purchase in December, with full availability come January 2020.
Huge thanks to Chef Jamie, Danielle, Johnny D and the rest of the team at Johnny D’s Waffles and Benedicts for a breakfast memory we will never forget! Until next time….
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