Curtis Anderson

Bongo Johnny’s: Now with a View

After suffering a fire in March of 2018, the ebullient eatery has triumphantly returned to the PS stage, although its owner eschews the spotlight. “I don’t really do interviews, so I’m not really good at talking about myself.” Robb Wirt is endearingly humble, but his zeal for hospitality drives him forward. “For me, Bongo Johnny’s was my choice for an end-of-life career. I used to work in the pharmaceutical industry, so coming to a customer service industry was kind of scary, but I figure I like people, so what could go wrong, right?”

Wirt’s optimism spilleth over as he recounts the wildly casual way in which he began his foray into the restaurant industry. “Bongo Johnny’s has been there for about 15 years now and I bought it four years ago, kind of on a whim. I got laid off from my job in Orange County after being there for 20 years. So, I was just sitting at Bongo Johnny’s and I jokingly said to the server, ‘Is this place for sale?’ because I needed to buy myself a job, and it was for sale so I bought it!” To put a finer point on this chaotic crossroads, Wirt exclaims, “I had never worked in a restaurant before in my life. It was a risk!”

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