L.A.’s Greatest Landmarks: Bob’s Big Boy

I took this photo of Big Boy in 2006

From the towering neon sign to the statue of the rotund boy in his distinctive red and white checked overalls to the 1950’s coffee shop architecture, Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank is undoubtedly one of L.A.’s most well-known and beloved landmarks. In 1993, this oldest remaining restaurant in the national chain was restored to its 1949 glory and designated a “California Point of Historical Interest.” At that time, the sign was repaired, the dining room was remodeled, and an outdoor patio was added. Car-hop service was also re-established on Saturday and Sunday nights. Every Friday night, a classic car show is held in the ample parking lot, which fills with shiny hot rods and cruisers from the 1950s and 60s.

I discovered Bob’s Big Boy shortly after moving to L.A. in 1994. We could walk to it from our apartment and more importantly, discovered we could do so 24 hours a day! While we can still walk to Bob’s from our current home, it does take quite a bit longer. Much more frequently, we take advantage of the hours and catch a bite to eat after a concert or movie. It’s become our go-to place after Halloween festivities because the place is packed with other costumed people and the party seems to continue.

If you’re looking for a gourmet meal, Bob’s will not be your first choice, but they do serve up decent, affordable diner fare. You can get breakfast and homemade milk shakes around the clock. The staff is friendly and we recognize other regular customers, as well as the occasional celebrity, when we eat there. I’ll admit that we do go to Bob’s about once a week, often on a particular night to see some friends who have a regular meet up at the restaurant.

Bob’s Big Boy is located at 4211 W Riverside Dr. in Burbank/Toluca Lake. You only have a couple of hours to catch the classic cars, but you have all night to grab a burger or some chili spaghetti.

A full list of the posts in our L.A.’s Great Landmarks series can be found here.

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.