Johnny's Atlantic Beach Club, an Aquidneck Island institution since the late 1920's (the exact date is lost to history), began it's long and storied journey as a simple roadside stand, opened by Johnny Kallas ad his uncle. During Prohibition , Johnny's Middletown Spa and it's three secluded booths ( with curtains drawn for privacy) quickly became a favorite for bathers, businessmen, sweethearts, as well as the occasional bootlegger.
Newport was in it's heyday, a virtual summer paradise for both wealthy and commoners alike, its magnificent beaches lined with boardwalks, merry-go-rounds, carousels, and picnic grottos. Thousands of vacationers arrived daily-by bus, train trolley and excursion boat-from such faraway places as New York, and Fall River- to enjoy Newport's glittering attractions, famous the world over.
Then, on September 21st 1938, the face of Newport and Aquidneck Island was forever changed.
Roaring in on the high tide, with an advance warning, the infamous 1938 Hurricane destroyed all that was once the Newport seashore. Packing winds in excess of 120mph and preceded by a powerful tidal wave, the hurricane pounded the beaches and low-lying areas for over two hours, devastating almost everything in its path. Johnny's Middle town Spa was swept off its foundation, eventually commit to rest over 500 feet away-in the middle of the reservoir across the street. .
Rhode Island and Johnny began the long and costly job of rebuilding and, in the late 1938, Johnny's reopened for business featuring 13 booths, a counter and a small kitchen. The grand Newport boardwalk was never replaced but visitors and locals continued to flock to Johnny's- a place for friends to meet.
On August 31st 1954, Newport and Johnny's once again experienced the unthinkable. Hurricane Carol, with a a force rivaling the 1938 storm, came ashore with a massive surge and winds of 115 mph. In one hour, Carol destroyed 3,800 homes, sank or damaged 2,000 boats and yachts, and leveled almost all of the island's powered and telephone lines. The hurricane left in its wake over $200 million in property damage in Rhode Island alone, and electrical service was cut off for over six days. Johnny's was totally demolished, with some sections swept almost a half-mile up the road.
After another arduous reconstruction project, Johnny's opened again for business with a brand-new structure, this time anchored to a solid 5 foot think foundation, designed to withstand the strongest storm.
In 1960, the old Middletown Spa became known as Johnny's House of Seafood in recognition of the plentiful seafood dinners and homemade quahog (clam) chowder for which it was famous.
On September 12th 1960, Hurricane Donna arrived as an unwelcomed guest, attempting to disrupt operations with its 90+ mph winds, but this time Johnny's weathered the storm and Aquidneck Island escaped with only moderate damage to boats, piers , trees and rooftops.
Peter and Harry Kyriakedes bought Johnny's House of Seafood from John Kallias in October 1977 with a a commitment to continue the tradition of excellent food served in a friendly atmosphere.
In September of 1985, Hurricane Gloria knocked downs the Johnny's signs, a Newport landmark, but the restaurant experienced little damage. Hurricane Bob raced up the Eastern Seaboard in August 1991, depositing 2 1/2 feet of water, sand and debris on the dining room floors but Johnny's reopened for business five days later, never missing a beat!
In 1992, Peter an Harry purchased the property adjacent to Johnny's, an old watering hole formerly known as " The 7 Seas Restaurant & Lounge". The building was quickly transformed into an American-style restaurant named The Atlantic Beach Club which became a favorite of discriminating diners.
Within two years, it became obvious that our valued patrons would be best served by combining both restaurant into one newly renovated facility. The aptly renamed Johnny's Atlantic Beach Club opened in 1996.
We continued our quality of service and now opened our doors to an increasing number of special events. Our patrons now could host weddings, corporate parties and other special events at a reasonably price venue that would compete with the charm and elegance of famed Newport Mansions.
In January 2001, Peter and Harry decided to level the existing building and create a two story facility which would now house a larger banquet facility to accommodate over 250 people.
In May 2002, after only four and a half months of intense construction, all new state of the art restaurant and "Pavilion" opened for business.
We now proudly welcome you to Johnny's Atlantic Beach Club and Pavilion as we pledge our continuing effort to provide great food excellent service, and of course, our breathtaking view!
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you, and we hope you will return often-