It’s safe to say that most Canadians have never heard of Bob’s Big Boy. The chain of restaurants was founded in 1936, and at it’s peak 25 years ago, had over 240 locations. But none north of the 49th parallel. It’s one of the original drive-in restaurants, and the Big Bog burger (two patties, three buns) predates the Big Mac.

The most interesting location is the Bob’s Big Boy on Riverside Dr. in Burbank, California. It’s the oldest remaining Bob’s in the US, originally built in 1949 in 1940s ‘streamline moderne’ style, often referred to as ‘Googie architecture‘.

The building features a curved window expansive roof overhangs, cantilevered roof, and tall display signs. The towering Bob’s sign the most prominent feature, along with the restaurant’s influential circular drive-through design.

The restaurant was recognized as a historic landmark in the 90’s due to its unique architecture. But really, its impact on car culture deserves to be remembered too.

For decades, Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank has been a meeting place for gearheads to show off their cars, arrange street races, and brag about cubic inches. Since the 50’s, the restaurant has hosted a car show on Friday nights, from 4:00 pm to 10:00pm, and folks line up hours in advance to get a prime spot in the parking lot to show off their ride. It’s a free form show, without restrictions of era or brand, but classic American muscle certainly dominates the scene.

We can’t tell you about the inside of the restaurant, or about Booth #6 where the Beatles sat and ate back in 1965, because there was more than an hour wait for a table when the Demaras family arrived. We enjoyed the show, then hopped in our ride at sunset and cruised downtown like the good old days.

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