Johnie’s Broiler > Bob’s Big Boy

Johnie’s Broiler Neon

(But we’ll take what we can get)

Downey has a few cultural landmarks–funnily enough, all of them related to fast food. Oldest McDonalds? Yep. First Taco Bell? Yep.

But our pride and joy has always been Johnie’s Broiler, a 1950s Googie-style diner located at 7447 Firestone Blvd.

Having grown up in Downey, Johnie’s has been a fixture in my life since as far back as I can remember. Every time it appeared in movies (License to Drive! Heat!), it was a cue to go get a milkshake.

When The Broiler’s illegal demolition began back in 2007, residents and preservationists called police and halted the bulldozers. Since then, The Broiler’s future has been uncertain.

Car-hoppers rejoice! Hot rodders, start your engines! According to Downey’s local paper, Johnie’s current owner and reps from Bob’s Big Boy have reached a tentative lease agreement. Under the agreement, the architecture will be restored, the diner will be fully-functional, and the weekend car-hops will continue.

Photo by Wiki user Astroluxe under a CC license.

4 Replies to “Johnie’s Broiler > Bob’s Big Boy”

  1. Is Lilly Tomlin still working the counter?

    Will Michael Douglas come in and ask for a ride from his helltrip in Mexico?

    So many unanswered questions!

  2. As a Downey lifer, I’m cautiously optimistic about the deal. I really hope Bob’s goes through with the plan, because I don’t have any faith in the current owner for letting the historic diner get turned into a used car lot. (As if we really need more used car lots in the city?)

    And I’m convinced the Downey City Council wouldn’t know the Parthenon was a historical property even if it landed on them À la the Wizard of Oz.

  3. I moved to Tucson some years ago but having worked for Watson & being close to the Bell Family, it would truly be sad if Johnie’s went too. Larry and Glen both passed last year … Some things should be worth saving? (wish I’d saved all of those old Chevy’s lol ;-)

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