Big Boy – Where Did They Go?
Bob's Big Boy

The Home of the Original Double-Decker Burger

Much like the freckled, red-haired girl from Wendy’s and the Golden Arches of McDonald’s, Big Boy, the chubby little boy in overalls carrying a hamburger on a plate, is something of an icon. In fact, more than 70 percent of Americans know who you’re talking about by just saying “Big Boy.” This may be because it’s been around since the 1930s. It could also be because BB Burgers founder Bob Wian created the double cheeseburger.

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Big Boy History

Bob Wian sold his coveted DeSoto Roadster in 1936 to open his first hamburger stand in Glendale, California. He named it Bob’s Pantry.

Within six months, he sliced a bun into three sections and added two hamburger patties, thus creating the first double-decker cheeseburger ever. If this creation sounds familiar, it’s probably because this is what inspired Mcdonald’s to create the iconic Big Mac.

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Video: Big Boy Restaurant Commercial 1978

Bob’s newest creation was a huge hit, as customers just couldn’t get enough. Among these fans was Richard Woodruff, a chubby six-year-old who loved the burger. In fact, it was this child who inspired Bob to name it the Big Boy burger, as this was Richard’s nickname. The BB craze that followed prompted Bob to change the name of his stand from Bob’s Pantry to Bob’s Big Boy. He then introduced the infamous mascot.

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The earliest versions of the Big Boy statue were giant, with some as tall as 16 feet but later versions would be as short as 4 feet. Most of the early depictions featured the boy holding the hamburger in his raised right arm. However, later versions would sometimes ditch the burger and show him holding his suspenders with both hands. Today, there’s an entire graveyard of Big Boy Burger statues that have been there since the chain filed for bankruptcy.

Big Boy statue

Even The Beatles Tried Big Boy Burgers

Big Boy was a staple when The Beatles were touring America to promote their album Help! Legend has it that they were interested in what it was like to eat at an authentic American diner, so they stopped at the BB location in Burbank, California. Following their visit, the booth where they sat was appropriately deemed “The Beatles Booth” and is nearly as famous as the chain itself. Big Boy restaurants once said that many Beatles fans came from around the world just to sit in the booth.

Mccartney eating Big Boy

Big Boy Burgers Today

Throughout the years, Big Boy’s has had many owners. It was sold to the current owners in 2018, and though many locations have shuttered, Big Boy Restaurant Group announced in 2020 that they had entered into a partnership with Terrible Herbst to expand to Nevada. Other recent locations that have been opened include one in Wisconsin and Ohio.

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Today, it’s a casual place to grab some famed burgers and Shakes. So, if you see one of the 66 American locations or two in Thailand, remember to stop and enjoy a Big Boy Burger!

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To see the current Big Boy menu, click on the juicy burger below:

Big Boy double burger
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26 responses to “Big Boy – Where Did They Go?”

  1. Larry Avatar

    Any chance of big boys returning to Orange county California? I sure do miss that restaurant!!

    1. Eric James Hartman Avatar

      Unfortunately, they are only in Michigan

      1. Phyllis Avatar

        No there is one in wi and some in Nevada and in another country

      2. Scott Avatar

        Frisch’s Big Boy is alive & well in the Cincinnati,Ohio area !! Their double decker is the Best because of their tarter sauce, the Best in the World !!

      3. Brenda Avatar

        We have 2 still in Cleveland ohio

      4. James Price Avatar
        James Price

        I was a manager at a Bobs Big Boy for 3 years in Diamond Bar Ca. The truth is that Big Boy corporate sold all their corporate restaurants to Marriott 3 years later they shut down all Bobs restaurants, and all that was left was franchises. The owner at the one I was working at in Diamond Bar and the one in Cala Mesa closed down, and the only one he owns now is the one in Norco Ca. That one was built in 2009, but the patty is frozen and NOT fresh. Not same tasting as the fresh patty, and it looks like the Big Boy Jr. Covid had a lot to do with closing down Bobs.

      5. Sleepy Brown Avatar
        Sleepy Brown

        The one in the picture is on Riverside Drive in Burbank, it’s still there and thriving.

    2. Denise Avatar

      There’s one in Downey and out towards Riverside.

  2. Mary Jo Sedgwick Avatar
    Mary Jo Sedgwick

    Bring a Big Boy or 2 Restaurant to Pennsylvania. Ate at one in Michigan and it was awesome! I even bought a Big Boy Bank (which is adorable).

  3. Jessie Barraza Avatar
    Jessie Barraza

    Love Bob’s Big Boy. Have so many happy memories. So do miss eating there.

    1. Steven Avatar

      There was one in Corydon Indiana. I loved to go there for breakfast and dinner. They shut down all the sudden, but people in town say they couldn’t get any help.

  4. terry fetters Avatar
    terry fetters

    Having sold to restaurants since 1972 I know a little bit about this restaurant franchise. When you see a Big Boy in front of a restaurant it could be one of many different names but they are paying for the Big Boy name. Some of my customers told me about visiting the original one back in the 1950’s

  5. terry fetters Avatar
    terry fetters

    There are still a lot of Big Boy restaurants. My wife and eat at one every week

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  7. Lafils gilbert Avatar
    Lafils gilbert

    Bring them back!! Need one o fl/ga line!!!

  8. Joanne Vetere Avatar
    Joanne Vetere

    I worked at Big Boy in the ‘80’s, in london Ontario Canada.
    We had so much fun working there.
    I went to dining manager, handling the teenagers, with all there issues.
    We ran a tight ship, and was very successful.
    I made good friends, still have today!

    1. Robert Bishop Avatar
      Robert Bishop

      The Big Boy platter was a real treat. I miss the Big Boy restaurant. They tried to make a comeback in Indiana back in the nineties, but they just couldn’t make it.

  9. Kelly Avatar

    I remember the Big Boy back in the day in western PA at Eat n’ Park.

  10. Michael roberts Avatar

    Texas needs a real Big Boy!

  11. […] factors contributed to the chain’s demise, including competition from other fast-food chains and changing consumer […]

  12. Bud Miller Avatar
    Bud Miller

    Back in the 40,s..&..50,s…the .”Hot Set Up”.at Toluca Lake (Burbank, Cal.)….was the ..Big Boy Condo…a Big Boy Double Sandwich…Fries…and a…Chocolate a Silver Metal flask…that kept…the Shake..Cold.

  13. David Owens Avatar
    David Owens

    We have 7 Frisch’s Big Boys operating in the Dayton Metro area here in Ohio. Wife and I eat at the one in Englewood several times a month. Still good, still going strong.

  14. Douglas Edward Brown Avatar
    Douglas Edward Brown

    Never should of been left to go down the tubes best double burger ever, the Mighty Mo, even better then a Big Mac. The Hot fudge Sunday was awesome and the orange freeze was unreal! If Arby’s lasted this long Bob’s should of still been here makes no scince. By the way the Old Pappy Parkers Fried Chicken was quite the Item also, we shared many special moments together!

  15. Bonnie Avatar

    Loved the hot fudge cake!

    1. Bethany Avatar

      In the southeast, the Big Boy name was used by Shoney’s. They began to phase out the Big Boy to just become Shoney’s in the early 80s. The burgers were never as good again, but they added a breakfast buffet that was to die for! Then Shoney’s began to close restaurants and now only one remains in the metro Atlanta area – in Acworth GA. They’ve turned it into a buffet and bar, so it’s really not the same.

      The one in my hometown was closed long ago, and even the building is gone. There used to be a Shoney’s Inn chain that was great, with always a Shoney’s restaurant next door, but that has gone away, too.

  16. Lisa Meyers Avatar
    Lisa Meyers

    I sure do miss big boy restaurants im Columbus Ohio. We have one om Grove city ohio but they did away with the one on Hilliard Ohio. Nothing like food tasting home made

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