The Johnny Rebs’ History
Larry and Cheryl Carter began Johnny Rebs’ in 1984. They were homesick for authentically prepared Southern foods, smoked long and slow over hardwood coals, catfish and hushpuppies, fried okra, peach cobbler and pecan pie. Most of all, they missed the unique hospitality of Southern folks.
✪ With plans to open their own Southern restaurant, Cheryl embarked on a culinary pilgrimage, starting in North Carolina where she was introduced to John Ingle, one of Larry’s high school buddies and a “Quail and Grits” true Southern restaurateur. She cooked and trained in kitchens around the countryside learning what she could from some of the best teachers in the South—stoking fires at 3:00 am in joints such as Snook’s in Advance, N.C., Lexington BBQ with legendary Wayne Monk, and hand rolled 1,500 buttermilk biscuits on a Saturday morning in Stone Mountain, Georgia. While she learned and mastered the traditional techniques, John researched recipes for barbecue sauce, cobblers, collard greens, key lime pie, and countless other Johnny Rebs’ menu items. ✪ They were passionate about their mission— to be authentically Southern.
✪ Back in Long Beach, California, Larry found a 1920’s boarded-up beer bar that had never been a restaurant and decided this was just the place to start their True South dream. Cheryl oversaw the entire building process— tearing it down to a skeleton and building it back up again, meanwhile cleaning out gambling paraphernalia from the basement and removing Hell’s Angels’ bullets from the walls. She added new electrical, plumbing, a kitchen, and down home seating for 80 guests. And finally, it was finished…a Southern restaurant that was more Southern than if it had been in the South, down to the dirt parking lot.
✪ Today, Johnny Rebs’ True South is a genuinely rural Southern Roadhouse. The history is real. The people are real. The heritage is real. And the food is most certainly, real good! The warm, friendly staff, eclectic roadhouse interior, and aroma of authentic down-home cooking underscore a special culture of sincere hospitality that has made Johnny Rebs’ an institution and inspires our work daily. Welcome!