My next door neighbors moved to Groton when I was in elementary school, but we never made that many trips to visit them after that. I remember once going up there and having my first exposure to De La Soul’s 3 Feet High And Rising. This time I was just looking for food and a Bada-Bing Cherry Chip cone was a nice bonus.
Johnson’s existed back then, and this was where they went for ice cream whenever a trip to Kimball’s wasn’t in order. In 1991, this place was sold to current owner Richard Santiano, who made a few modifications to the shoppe, but kept things in place much as they had always been. This classic roadside drive-in restaurant doubles as an ice cream parlor when the temperatures rise.
I haven’t found many places with the amount of seating options that Johnson’s offers. For the cone seeker, there are two outdoor windows and a parking lot that provides some nice views of the nearby fields. But if it is views that you are looking for, I recommend that you climb to the third tier of seating on the opposite side of the store. There are four distinct seating sections here that keep rising and rising. While there are some umbrellas to deflect the results of any bad weather, there is also a counter indoors with a full seating section of finished benches and tables as well.
I wasn’t really looking for ice cream when I found this spot while driving along 119, but there is something about the words dairy bar that stir this impulse in my left foot to hit the brakes. In truth, I started with a meal, but I made it back to my car before I walked back over to the window. I sampled the Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip, but despite the name, the chocolates were far more milky than dark.
Pop culture naming of flavors is usually a novelty, but since Ben and Jerry’s has been satisfied with naming their variant after a deceased Deadhead, riffing on The Sopranos for bada-bing cherry chip seemed perfectly ok. While cherrys always seem to bring out a few ice crystals around the fruit, this ice cream did a great job of wiping out that as an issue with a very creamy and smooth scoop. The chocolate pieces were everywhere, in thin layers that kept suprising long after chips every do.
Initially, I went inside and sat for a Chicken Cutlet Club sandwich. It came as a wonderful double-decker held together with those long toothpicks, quartered and covered in a mound of french fries. Something about the combination of fresh chicken cutlets, bacon, and tomatoes just sends me head over heels.
Cone – kids $? medium $? large $?
Sundae – small $? large $?
Frappe $4.65 extrathick $4.95
Johnson’s Drive-In Restaurant & Dairy Bar
164 Boston Rd, Groton, MA 01450
Open year round