Sunday, December 1, 2013

Reliving the Past at Bob's in Burbank

Bob's Big Boy
4211 W. Riverside Dr.
Burbank, CA 91505

Katie and I have been together for coming up on five years now. Yes, we are moving towards a few momentous occasions within the year, but those announcements will come at a later date. There are of course many wonderful things I could say about Katie, but I do not want to bore you, and I am not really the mushy type. One thing I do love is that she has a very large family, and of course an even bigger extended family. I come from a family of four, have just one uncle that we see on a regular basis, and a couple of cousins that make an appearance every now and then. So becoming part of Katie's extended family has a real appeal to me. As an added plus, most of her extended family live in the Burbank area, and that's where we were headed on a recent Friday. We were going to her cousin Sean's wedding, but we wanted to beat the traffic, so we got up there about three hours early. Just enough time to check into our hotel and grab a bite to eat at one of my favorite places, Bob's Big Boy.

Bob's holds a very special place in my heart. It was one restaurant that we visited with great regularity when I was growing up. I can remember how we would climb all over the Bob statue while waiting for our table, reading the Big Boy comic book while waiting for our dinner, then of course having my own double decker hamburger, and if we were good we got to split a hot fudge cake for dessert. This was back when there were lots of Bob's around. There are now no Bob's in OC, and only a handful left in Southern California. My first restaurant review for this blog was my review of the now departed Bob's Big Boy that was in Orange. I miss having a Bob's close by, but it just makes it much more special when we get the rare chance to experience Big Boy, like on this day.

This was my first visit to this location of Bob's Big Boy. I did not know it, but this is a special Big Boy. It is the oldest operating Bob's still in business, opened in 1949. The restaurant was designed by renowned architect, Wayne McAllister, who designed this Bob's incorporating 40's modern style, while anticipating the free form of the 50's diner. No, I am not a student of architecture, I got this off of the plaque that is in front of the restaurant, which also proclaims that this restaurant, as of 1993, is an official point of historical interest in the state of California.

The restaurant is not the only historical part of this Bob's Big Boy. As luck would have it, we were here on a Friday afternoon, and the parking lot was already filling up with classic cars for their weekly car shows. These classic autos take over the parking lot every Friday from 5 to 11 PM. With all of these cars, and their car hop service, it's almost like you are living on the set of American Graffiti. or Happy Days. If you do not know these shows, go ask your parents about them.  Since we were pulling up in Katie's 2007 Hyundai, we were really here for the food inside. We got a booth right next to the famous Beatles Booth, where the guys from Liverpool ate during their 1965 US tour. Let's see if the food is as good as it was yesterday, (Beatles reference, if you did not catch it).

I was pretty hungry from our drive up from OC, so I could not wait to dig into my Dinner Salad before snapping a picture. Of course I ordered the Super Big Boy Combo, which includes a dinner salad to start. Bob's is known for their blue cheese dressing, which is still sold in stores. The salad is very standard, but the inclusion of the thick blue cheese dressing elevates this rather boring salad. Be advised that they are very liberal when adding dressing here, but that's the way I like my salads.

Bob's has a lot of things on their menu. I hear good things about the Pappy Parker's Fried Chicken, the Chili Spaghetti, and the Onion Rings, but when I come to Bob's, I always get the same thing, a Super Big Boy Combo ($9.49). This combo came with the aforementioned salad, a super big boy, which has double the cheese and 50 percent more meat than the original big boy burger, and of course fries. This burger is a classic. Sesame seed bun, topped with two patties, two slices of American cheese, shredded lettuce, mayo, and their special red relish. The middle bun is an integral part of the sandwich, as it soaks up a lot of the grease from the burger. The patties are not thick, and the lettuce can be easily discarded here, but this is one of my favorite burgers because it all comes together so nicely. I like their version of mayo, which is a little sweeter and thinner than regular mayonnaise. The red relish adds a nice little tang to the burger. The french fries, while frozen, are okay, but nothing above average.

We were going to be sitting through a wedding ceremony, so we were still about four or more hours away from the food at the reception, so dessert was definitely in order. When at Bob's there is nothing on their dessert menu to order, other than their famous Hot Fudge Cake ($4.29). Part cake and part sundae, this is the obvious choice so you do not have to choose between cake and ice cream. I really enjoy the rich vanilla ice cream that they use here, the thicker than usual hot fudge, and the sturdy chocolate cake. For the three of you that read this blog on a regular basis, you know one of my biggest pet peeves about desserts in restaurants is the small portions of ice cream that usually come to the table. This is not the case at Bob's. Not only is this dessert swimming in hot fudge, but there is no need to spoon fight over the ice cream when splitting this. A very good end to this meal.

Bob's Big Boy is one of my favorites because it reminds me of my childhood. I know that these burgers are not like the gourmet burgers that have popped up all over the place in the last few years. They are not using Wagyu or Kobe beef. There are not exotic toppings on them, like jalapenos, Gouda, peanut butter, or pesto. This is just a basic burger that works. Nothing fancy here. Maybe I am biased by my love of this restaurant. It is kind of like when you are dating a girl, and your friends can all see she is no good for you, but you have blinders on. Bob's is kind of like that. Someone that did not grow up with Big Boy's may think this is just average food, but in my eyes it is better than that. Bob's makes coming all the way to Burbank for a wedding on a Friday afternoon worth it. Wish there were some closer to OC, but it just makes our less frequent trips that much better.

Out of five nuggets, (which for you hard core Big Boy fans will remember as Big boy's dog in the comic books given out at the front counter), five being best to zero being worst, Bob's Big Boy gets 3 nuggets

For more information about this location of Bob's Big Boy, go to their website here:

Bob's Big Boy on Urbanspoon


  1. Love, Love Bob's Big Boy. Like you mentioned, going there was an event. I try to take my family out to the one in Diamond Bar every few months. I only get the Big Boy Combo. Your description of the burger was right on. All ingredients on their own are pretty pedestrian, but combined they make a delicious burger. Thanks for bringing some good memories. Congratulations on five years.


  2. You've been giving out lots 3 ratings recently. Just an observation

  3. Cupie - Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Glad I could bring back some great memories for you. It got me hungry just writing this article.

    Anonymous - I have not been blown away by a place ina long time, but there is a four star review coming up very soon. A great burger spot that really made me a happy guy. Keep an eye out for it. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog.