Bob’s Big Boy
I have no idea why that title makes sense, but it does. A brief nostalgic waxing from an old, L.A.-raised boomer…me.
This is not about women or men and how their images, roles, or clothing compared to the good old days. Nor about the accepted androgyny of today. Hell, no – it’s about a hamburger – a Bob’s Big Boy hamburger!
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention a staple found at Bob’s Big Boy not on the menu: the car hops.
At our BBB in Canoga Park in the 60’s, the car lot was behind the restaurant, covered like a car port, and sporting menu stands just outside each car’s window…kind of like Sonic today. But instead of an intercom to place your orders, there was a plethora of what seemed like cloned car hops cavorting too and fro on rollers skates! Yes, roller skates – and carrying full trays of food to boot! They would take your order in person, then deliver it to your car window with the precarious skills of a juggler…hanging the tray on (usually) the driver’s side window. That was a regular dinner scenario with the Hansen Family. Of course, you could go inside if you wanted, but we really enjoyed the in-car dining. Besides, no dress up required. Thus, the popularity of the “drive-in”.
Back to the Big Boy Hamburger. This particular incarnation of a self-proclaimed American icon began modestly in the late 30’s and flourished through the 70’s. Bob’s Big Boy…the old, time-honored version of how we oldsters remember BBB.
Sure, all things change with time, especially prices. The Big Boy Hamburger – two patties of freshly ground beef on a sesame seed toasted 3-piece bun, with shredded lettuce, American cheese, and topped with a special relish-like dressing, set you back 45 cents in the 60’s! If you splurged (like most of us did) you got the Bob’s Big Boy Combination Plate that included the double burger, french fries, and hearts of lettuce salad with either BBB’s 1000 Island or Blue Cheese dressing…75 cents. Of course, if you wanted a beverage you had to cough up another 15 cents. Check out some of the other menu items and prices that included a modest breakfast menu as well…milk shakes for 30 cents, hot fudge sundaes for 35 cents, pies, sandwiches, and several other standard diner items. A true diner menu, from which Bob’s Big Boy was born.
A quick thanks to one of my high school “buddies” (Canoga Park High Class of ’67) Bari Bentley, she posted this BBB diner photo recently and it jogged my memory as one of the places from my childhood that still provides fond memories.
We all had our favorite “hang out” places – this was one of ours. Ours meaning we, us, classmates from CPHS.
The oldest, original design Bob’s Big Boy is in Burbank, at the east end of the my beloved, iconic San Fernando Valley – I grew up in the west end, Canoga Park.
Today, one might say, “It’s just an old hamburger joint”. But to us…it was THE hamburger joint.