Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bob's Big Boy | Burbank, CA

On a cold afternoon in February 1964, hundreds of screaming teens and young folks crowded the tarmac to New York's John F. Kennedy airport to be among those to witness an event that would become synonymous with rock-n-rock history, a moment that was much anticipated ever since disc jockeys began broadcasting their songs over the airwaves. In fact, they already conquered most of Europe with perennial hits as "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do" as well as a freshmen turn as the backup band to Tony Sheridan's "My Bonnie." But what happened after that day not only had an immediate impact on American music, but the Lads from Liverpool would arguably change the face of music and the recording arts as a whole. The Beatles had finally arrived on U.S. soil.

Now, being a huge follower of The Beatles, I'd like to think that once they got past their first press conference in the U.S., they got right back on the plane and headed west to Los Angeles. And shortly after landing, they made a bee-line to Burbank, California, and climbed into a booth at Bob's Big Boy, where they proceeded to order up four double-deckers and crispy fries. That would have been something, but we all know that didn't happen. Rather, their visit to the restaurant didn't happen until much later, and years after that, I find myself getting chills whenever the opportunity to sit in the booth that has been dedicated to them comes up.

But I'm straying from the real task at hand, and that's telling you about one of our favorite burger destinations whenever we visit Los Angeles. Originally coined Bob's Pantry in 1935, founder Bob Wian opened his first hamburger stand in Glendale, California. Business was moderate to start, and its potential was yet to materialize as two very fateful things needed to happen before Wian's iconic path was set in motion.

The first occurred one night in 1937, when, according to those who recall, a regular customer felt a little more hungry than usual. Not one to disappoint and let his customer leave unsatisfied, Wian asked whether or not doubling the size of his cheeseburger would fill the bill. It did, and Bob's signature double-decker, featuring two patties with American cheese, lettuce, and their famous special sauce on a sesame seed bun, was born.

The second was when Wian was introduced to a portly six-year-old boy dressed in overalls. The boy was a fan of Wian's hamburger stand, and the two became inseparable friends whenever the boy stopped in with his parents. Soon, the youngster began helping out around the stand by sweeping up the floors. In return for his hard work, he was rewarded with a free hamburger during each visit. But Wian's honor went one step further when he chose to name his signature burger the Big Boy. It wasn't long after that regulars of Bob's Pantry began calling the stand Bob's Big Boy. The name stuck, and the rest became history.

Now, for those of you who have not yet visited, Bob's Big Boy offers All-American fare. Breakfasts include everything under the rising sun from omlettes and various off-the-griddle favorites to speciality combos that include chicken fried steak and eggs or corned beef hash and eggs. Their packed lunch menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, the aforementioned original Big Boy burger, and the Super Big Boy. And their dinners will keep you warm and well-fed with items that include chicken, beef, seafood, pasta, and house favorites like oven roasted tri-tip, sauteed tilapia, and their classic chili spaghetti.

There are approximately 248 locations across America, and as I mentioned above, when we are in Los Angeles, we try to stop by our favorite located in Burbank, which is less than ten miles north of downtown Los Angeles. Built in 1949 by local residents Scott MacDonald and Ward Albert, this location is considered the oldest Bob's Big Boy in the states. And with its unique architectural design, it is known for its towering Bob's Big Boy sign and its life-sized smiling character figurine as it is for its food and friendly staff.

And the Beatles aren't the only celebrities who have walked through the doors at this Bob's location. Talk show host and car enthusiast, Jay Leno, frequently stops by during Bob's Friday "Classic Car Hop" night to meet fans. Director, David Lynch, was once said to claim a spot at one of the booths as he mulled over story ideas and people watch. And with Disney Studios a mere two minutes away, their cache of young stars from Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and members of the High School Musical clan have all come in for a bite. If you're into "star" gazing, you're chances here are certainly as good as any other in tinseltown.

So, the next time you are feeling a bit nostalgic and are looking for a non-expensive alternative for wholesome American fare, look no further than a Bob's Big Boy. With over 70 years of tradition and history behind the restaurants, you won't be left disappointed or be left hungry.

Bob's Big Boy
4211 W. Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA 91505

Out of the Kitchen Los Angeles restaurants

1 comment:

  1. I've just watched the program about Bob's Big Boy in Travel and liveing chanel now... I wish I live there :)