With this new school year comes everything I know you look forward to in college: new syllabi, professors, textbooks, parking tickets and, did I me tion, alcohol? Lots and lots of it.
Last week alone saw the sale of nearly 500 Natural Light cases and 700 cans of the recently popular caffeinated alcohol drink Four Loko, and that’s just what Johnny’s Campus Deli sold to the Miami University student population.
For the unfortunately unaware and inexperienced, Johnny’s is the place where an average college kid’s dreams can come true, a must-go place where you can find the most necessary college survival merchandise: food, beer, wine, chips, cigarettes and … Hustler magazines? And they’ll even deliver it all right to your front door.
Built in the 1940’s by a gentleman by the name of Peter Knox, Johnny’s was once known as Knox Deli. The sandwich joint went through some name transitions, none of which stuck (Mike’s, P.A. Hoagies and others), until finally the building was leased to a very vague figure by the name of Johnny Brown.
Sitting on the corner of Sycamore and North Campus Avenue, the little deli was finally dubbed Johnny’s.
If you’ve ever wondered who the cartoony dude carrying the six-pack and sub on the sign is, well, it’s a cartoon version of Johnny Brown’s son, of course.
Johnny’s general manager and Miami University graduate Tim Nichols said although Johnny’s was originally more known for being a deli, it’s now more recognized for its very broad range of alcohol stock.
Though they can’t sell full-proof liquors due to Ohio’s state liquor laws, Johnny’s holds over 160 different types of beers ranging from your average Bud Light to your more obscure Hoegaarden along with a variety of award-winning wines like Barefoot and Yellow Tail and campus favorite liquors like Parrot Bay and Malibu Rum.
Then, with the different seasons come your typical seasonal beers, like Oktoberfest.
Another trend that you’ll unfortunately see is the rising price of Miami’s most beloved beer, Natural Light.
“When I was in college, cases of Natty were $8.99,” Nichols said. “Now they’re at $13.99, but in the next month that price is going to go up another dollar.”
When alcohol trends like Natty prices change, Johnny’s tries to keep up with them.
“Every year, there’s something new,” Nichols said. “We have to keep up with what people ask for.”
For Nichols, keeping up with what people want and getting to know them is one of the best parts of the job.
“The long hours are bad, but the best part is the friendly people,” Nichols said.
“There are lots of regulars, like the same people who come in and buy the same box of cigarettes every day.”
And finally, a little-known fact about Johnny’s …
“We’re on Facebook,” laughs Nichols. “Come see us.”