Friday, November 20, 2009

Bob’s Big Boy – Toluca Lake, California

Big Boy is a restaurant chain started in 1936 by Bob Wian, in partnership with Arnold Peterson in Glendale, California. The chain is best known for its trademark chubby boy in red-and-white-checked overalls holding a Big Boy sandwich (double-decker cheeseburger).

The inspiration for Big Boy's name, as well as the model for its mascot, was Richard Woodruff (1936-1986), of Glendale, California. When he was six years old, he walked into the diner Bob's Pantry as Bob Wian was attempting to name his new hamburger. Wian said, "Hello, Big Boy" to Woodruff, and the name stuck.

The Toluca Lake location was built in 1949, and is the oldest remaining Bob's Big Boy in America. It was designed by respected architect Wayne McAllister, incorporating the 1940's transitional design of streamline modern style while anticipating the free-form 50's coffee shop architecture. The towering BOB's sign is an integral part of the building design and its most prominent feature.

Here is a shot of the towering Bob's sign at night. You can see it for several blocks away on Riverside Drive

The restaurant was honored in 1993, receiving the designation as a "State Point of Historical Interest" by the state of California. The current owner (the MacDonald Family) acquired control of the restaurant in 1993 and began to restore it to its past glory.

Here are some close up shots featuring the unique door handles with the “B” script, as well as the "Coffee Shop" sign over the outdoor seating area


For those interested in visiting, the original Bob’s Big Boy, it is located at 4211 W Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505-4146. (818) 843-9334 http://www.bobs.net/

4 comments:

Bruce Jensen said...

Hi, Brett - I remember in Massachusetts that a company named "Abdow's" had the franchise rights for Big Boy restaurants. It appears that Bob's was in many states, but a whole variety of other names appeared in front of "Big Boy" depending on where you might happen to be.

It looks like Shoney's used to be associated with Big Boy until 1984, and now it appears that Abdow's is also discontinuing its association with that chain.

Brett Lucas said...

Correct, the Big boy name was franchised out to several regional franchises. Abdow's had the franchise agreement for Massachusetts and Connecticut. Shoney's was another franchiser that had most of the Southeast. The Bob's franchise included California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Northeastern Ohio, New York, New Jersey, as well as Indiana and Pennsylvania

Jen said...

This was the Bob's I used to go to with my Dad's parents when I would visit them in Glendale. They lived not too far away. My dad has many stories of going here as a teen, too... all very American Graffiti!

RICHARD DIXON said...

ALTHOUGH I LOVE THE TALUCA LAKE BOB'S IT IS REALLY NOT THE "ORIGINAL". THAT WOULD BE ON COLORADO BLVD. IN GLENDALE., IT WAS BUILT IN 1936 AND WAS CALLED "BOB'S PANTRY" IT WAS REBUILT A FEW TIMES ON THE ORIGINAL SITE BUT SADLY WAS TORN DOWN IN, I BELIEVE, THE SEVENTIES. WHEN I WAS GOING TO GLENDALE HIGH SCHOOL IT WAS THE MAJOR HANG OUT ON FRIDAY AND SAT. NIGHT.
GREAT MEMORIES!!