|Bob's Big Boy Broiler - Downey, CA|
In the heart of Downey, CA now stands a monument to true "California Cuisine," namely, Bob's Big Boy Broiler. Bob's "Big Boy" hamburger was the creation of Glendale's own Bob Wian in 1936. After changing hands a few times over the years, the Big Boy corporate headquarters are now located in Michigan. Bob's Big Boy restaurants are franchised, but the owners of the Downey location have done it right by acknowledging the history of the chain and the history of it's location - including all of the brilliant neon!
The BBB Broiler originally opened in 1958 as Harvey's Broiler. In the 60's, the restaurant was sold and became the original Johnie's Broiler (subsequent Johnie Jr.'s opened around Southern California).
Compare this late 50's view of "The Broiler" to the new image at the
end of the post; they truly did a thorough and thoughtful restoration.
In a nod to the restaurant's past, BBB has saved the Johnie
from the sign and has it displayed at the entrance to the parking lot.
For decades, the iconic broiler signage heralded both savory and sweet delights for drivers on Firestone Boulevard. In sadder days, the building languished as a car dealership and eventually, was partially demolished by an unscrupulous landowner before preservationists and concerned citizens intervened to save the landmark. Fortunately, the BBB corporation stepped up and did a faithful recreation/expansion of the original building. We're happy because the finishes are attractive, comfortable, and steer away from the ubiquitous red/white or magenta/aqua color combinations that plagued "retro" diners for so many years.
|Beautiful signs abound!|
|The California landscape surrounding the restaurant is |
beautiful but clearly, they need to do some weeding.
|One of the early BBB uniforms.|
In my opinion, the atmosphere could only be helped
by having the wait staff wear these again.
|I love those cantilevered, button-tufted barstools|
almost as much as I love terrazzo floors!
|Cool light fixtures|
|Mr. Tiny is still on his crummy diet, so you'll have to be satisfied|
with a picture of Mary attacking her monster burger!
In terms of the food, Mary thought it was better than the Burbank location. The soda fountain treats must've been delicious because EVERY table in the whole joint ordered a brownie, fudge sundae (with the one exception ordering a banana split)!
|BBB did a great job at restoring the broiler |
building and maintaining the period details.
Heck, even the litter outside is old-timey!
Our Downey adventure didn't begin or end with Bob's, we decided to drive throught the surrounding neighborhoods and check out more of what Downey had to offer. After our New Year's experience, with the people and the parade float of Downey, it should not have come as any surprise that I liked what I saw.
|We also caught a glimpse of this mid-century modern house that was painted|
the most golden of goldenrod hues. The garden was a beautiful mix of
tropicals and succulents.
|In our travels we came across some sweet civic art in the City of Paramount.|
I am a sucker for primary colors, but the undulating form of skewered pennants
is what really sold me.