Big Boy Restaurants & Statues (page 1)

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The history of Bob's Big Boy and Big Boy restaurants can be traced back to 1936 when Bob Wian bought a local Glendale restaurant and named it Bob's Pantry. Wian supposedly originated the double-decker hamburger and came up with the Big Boy character. Bob's Big Boy became a California chain and began franchising in the 1940s. Unlike other chains like McDonald's, Wian did not require uniformity. Franchise owners were free to name their restaurants whatever they wanted. The restaurants were known as Frisch's Big Boy and Manners Big Boy in Ohio. Frisch's and Manners Big Boy restaurants used the same skinnier, running boy as their mascot. In the late 1970s, Manners locations became Bob's Big Boy restaurants.

The restaurants were known as Elias Brothers Big Boy restaurants in Michigan, Northeastern Ohio, and Ontario. The Elias brothers had their own restaurants before becoming a Big Boy franchisee in 1952. The company kept the Elias name and added the Big Boy character and "Home of the Big Boy" to their signs and advertising. In 1987, they acquired the Big Boy chain's franchise rights from Marriott Corp. Big Boy is now Michigan-based and has about 450 restaurants in California, Arizona, Hawaii, North Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

former Bob's Big Boy
Los Angeles, CA
This former Bob's Big Boy housed the Panang Restaurant when this photo was taken in 2012. The building now houses Thai Coconut. It was originally known as the Hinky Dick restaurant. It became a Bob's Big Boy in 1937. It closed in the mid-1970s. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Bob's Big Boy
Burbank, CA
This Bob's Big Boy was designed by Wayne McAllister and built in 1949. It is the oldest restaurant left in the chain. The building was saved in the early 1990s and restored to its original design. It is now the top revenue-producing Big Boy in the country. The Big Boy statues were produced by International Fiberglass in the 1960s. In the early 1980s, Big Boy had FAST of Sparta, WI produce about 100 new statues. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. [map]

former Bob's Big Boy
Glendale, CA
This former Bob's Big Boy was the third location built in the chain. I believe it was built in 1953. It is believed to have been designed by Armet & Davis. The building now houses the Bright Start Child Development Center. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

former Kip's Big Boy
El Paso, TX


This former Kip's Big Boy opened in 1962. The "Coffee Shop" sign on the building and the now-adapted pole sign are from then. The pole sign looked very similar to the one in Burbank shown above. The "Pancakes" sign was probably added when the "Clock" sign was added to the building around 1964 when the building began housing The Clock Family Restaurant. By the 1970s, the name had been changed to the New Clock Family Restaurant. In 2011, the freestanding sign's circular panel was replaced with a clock graphic. [map]

former Big Boy [gone]
Farmington, MI
This Big Boy restaurant was built in 1968. There was a Big Boy statue in front of the building. The old sign had been replaced with a modern, plastic one when these photos were taken in 2005. This location has since closed and the building was still vacant in 2015. In 2016, the building had been demolished.

former Big Boy [gone]
Wayne, MI


This former Big Boy restaurant has been vacant since at least 2005. I believe Beehive Family Dining was the last occupant. The interior has been gutted. The building was still vacant in 2014. By 2016, the building had been demolished.

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