Courtesy of Mike Petrone
When Johnny's Downtown
first opened in the Warehouse District on June 3, 1993, local pianist Mike Petrone sat at the piano and performed. Now, nearly 29 years later, Petrone is set to give his 6,000th performance at the restaurant and bar.
He’ll mark that milestone on Friday, May 6.
Dinner reservations can be made, and there will also be an invitation-only VIP reception on Thursday, May 5, to raise money for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
Petrone celebrated his 5,000th performance at Johnny’s on Nov. 17, 2017, and though Covid-19 forced Johnny's to close its doors for several months, Petrone has resumed performing ever since Johnny’s reopened.
Petrine initially began playing Johnny's on a whim.
"At the last minute, I had a bass player friend who worked as a server at Johnny's Bar on Fulton,” says Petrone in a press release. “He called me the night before Johnny's Downtown opened and asked if I was available the next day. It was a Tuesday, I think. I showed up and played the first night. Afterwards, [owner] Joe [Santosousso] asked me if I could supply him piano players going forward. I was happy to oblige. For the first six or seven years, I played there one or two nights a week. Then, in 2000, I became a regular employee and took five nights a week. The rest is history. I did not see 29 years coming."
Petrone says he’s aiming for 7,000 performances.
"I'm certainly game to try," he says. "Hopefully, the boss is willing and isn't too sick of me. Stay tuned! We will find out.”