Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Rate-A-Restaurant #236: Bob's Big Boy Broiler

Restaurant: Bob's Big Boy Broiler

Location: 7447 Firestone Blvd. (Downey)

Type of restaurant: Diner/Coffee Shop

We stipulated: I've been looking to visit the Broiler ever since it sprang back to life in 2008. For the uninitiated: The Downey institution began life as Harvey's Broiler in 1958. The diner, designed by architect Paul B. Clayton in the popular "Googie" fashion of the day, eventually became known as "Johnie's Broiler." The location served its last meal in 2001, turning into a used car dealership after that.

The building, which had been home to Hollywood shoots like "Pulp Fiction," fell into disrepair. And then, in 2007, the used car dealership illegally began bulldozing the building.

The L.A. Conservancy's Modern Committee, among others, rushed into action. New owner Jim Louder rebuilt the building per Clayton's blueprints, and turned it into a Bob's Big Boy location.

They stipulated: Bob's Big Boy Broiler keeps up the car hop tradition, offering car service from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

What we ordered: Maria -- BBQ Jack (bacon, pepperjack cheese, BBQ sauce and onion ring) $8.99

Evan -- kids' pancakes $4.99

Mike -- omelette with pepperjack cheese, mushrooms, green peppers and tomatoes (and egg beaters). $8.99

Inside -- love the space age light fixtures.

History of the revived Broiler is explained on a plaque by the front door.

High point: The building, of course. Beautifully restored to its glory days. It's a treat being inside.

Low point: Well, you don't really go to this Big Boy for the food. It's typical Big Boy diner fare.

The Big Boy out front.

Above, the original "Johnie's" mascot still gets a home.

Overall impression: I wouldn't generally hit a Big Boy -- there are too many other great breakfast places out there. But the environment makes it a win.

Chance we'll go back: It could be a tourist spot the next time my parents are in town; it's also a great spot if we ever do another "Amazing Race" style event.

Meanwhile, remember when I tried to I.D. the diner scene in the most recent "Mad Men" season finale? It's absolutely Bob's Big Boy Broiler. Check out the scene from the show:

And here's how it looks from our visit:

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