Bob's Big Boy, California 1940s
Bob's Big Boy, California 1938 Menu

Bob's Big Boy, California 1940s

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Product Description

Bob’s Big Boy was founded in 1936 in Southern California by Bob Wian, creator of the double-deck cheeseburger, which went on to be the inspiration for the Big Mac.

 When band members from Chuck Foster’s orchestra jokingly came in one night and asked for ‘something different’, Wian split a hamburger bun twice through the middle, creating a middle bun, and added two burger patties. The novel hamburger was an instant success.

Wian was a laid-back former Glendale High School pupil who was voted ‘most unlikely to succeed’ by his classmates and when his father’s furniture business went bankrupt during The Great Depression (1929 -1939), he had to wash dishes in the school cafeteria in exchange for lunch.

After graduation in 1933, Wian worked night shifts as a dishwasher in a White Log Coffee Shop in Los Angeles, was promoted to fry cook and then manager. He gained further experience at a Rite Spot and at a Pig Stand.

In 1936, Wian sold his DeSoto Roadster for $350 and opened his own ten-stool lunch stand Bob’s Pantry. Six months later the double-deck hamburger was born. The inspiration for the Big Boy was Richard Woodruff, a chubby schoolboy who did odd jobs in exchange for free hamburgers. Bob forgot his name one day, calling out  ‘hey, big boy,’ and the restaurant’s name was changed. Richard was also the inspiration for the famous statue that became one of the iconic elements of Bob’s Big Boy.

Wian opened further drive-ins and after WWII, began licensing his business. Franchisees were required to sell the Big Boy hamburger, using their own names and not Bob’s. For example, we also have a 1954 Manners Big Boy menu from Cleveland, Ohio, in our collection.

Marriott bought the company in 1967 and sold it twenty years later. As Big Boy was passed on to other owners, the number of restaurants declined.

Today the Big Boy Restaurant Group is the primary trademark owner and franchise holder and four locations remain in Burbank, Downey, Norco and Northridge.

The Burbank location, built in 1949 by renowned architect Wayne McAllister who also designed early Las Vegas hotels like El Rancho and The Sands, is owned by the MacDonald family which has lovingly restored the restaurant to its original glory as an icon of Mid-Century Modernism.

Bob Wian died in Long Beach, California, in 1992. This menu, which offered the Big Boy hamburger for 35c, is probably dated in the 1940s because it showed three locations at Burbank, Glendale and Eagle Rock. 

Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.

Each order includes a print of the interior menu.

All printed in USA.

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