John Jelinek, owner of PB Johnny’s, had been working in the corporate world for years when his company suddenly downsized and he decided it was time for a life change. After talking with friends about various kinds of businesses, he settled on opening a food truck with a unique offering. The smaller size of the business appealed to John.
“I wanted to do something different and decided on selling sandwiches with nut butters, which is a fresh concept in Omaha. Sandwiches featuring nut butters is a new idea here,” explains John.
John initially designed creative sandwiches around three types of nut butters: peanut, almond and walnut. PB Johnny’s has since added cashew butter offerings as well. The sandwiches are offered cold but can also be grilled.
John says he had assistance coming up with the initial menu from a friend of his who is a chef. John’s friend worked for three months to select the different flavors that make up PB Johnny’s standard sandwiches.
Top sellers include the Triple S (Sweet, Spicy and Sexy), with peanut butter, jalapeño jam, cream cheese and bacon on challah bread, and the Modified Elvis, which has peanut butter, Nutella, Fluff (marshmallow topping) and banana on white bread. When grilled, the Modified Elvis is reminiscent of a s’more.
John gets his bread—white, wheat, challah and whole wheat ciabatta—from locally owned Rotella’s Italian Bakery, and all of the butters are prepared at the kitchen of Cupcake! Omaha. Provisions by the Grey Plume makes pâté, jalapeño jam and fig jam just for PB Johnny’s. The Havarti, goat and Brie cheeses all come from Jisa’s Farmstead Cheese in Brainard, Nebraska.
“We are excited to have four local chefs who are working with us to design their own special sandwiches throughout the year. Each will be offered for a limited time,” says John. First up was Chef Paul Kulik of the Boiler Room and La Bouillon. Paul’s sandwich featured sunflower butter and braised pork.
PB Johnny’s truck is parked in front of Scriptown Brewery in Omaha’s Blackstone District Thursday through Saturday nights. You can order from the truck and have the food delivered inside. Catering menus are also available. More information is available online at PBJohnnys.com.
—Story and photo by Cheril Lee