The always present line up of cars waiting their turn at the In-N-Out drive thru in Pasadena, California. I recommend the “Double Double”, hold the spread and add mustard and ketchup.
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In-N-Out, which is a small chain with its origins in Southern California and has near cult status when it comes to fast food burgers. People either seem to love them or hate them. They produce a a very distinctive fast food burger that comes off of a flat top (griddle), instead of the usual shredded lettuce and chopped onions the burgers are garnished with fresh whole lettuce leaves, fresh sliced tomato and a fresh sliced disc of onion. They should not be compared to char-broiled (grilled) burgers, totally different animal. I like their Double-Double, double meat and double American cheese; while I take mine with usual onion, tomato and lettuce, I have them hold the “spread” and hold the cheese, to lower the fat, and add mustard and ketchup. Now that is a very satisfying burger when you have a hankering for that genre of burger.
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The original Bob’s Big Boy restaurant opened in Glendale, California in 1939 and was named Bob’s Pantry by it’s owner Bob Wian. The story continues (from the franchisor’s bigboy.com web site):
One night in 1937, a regular customer requested something different for a change. Bob went to work and the first double-decker hamburger was born.
Customers couldn’t get enough of Bob’s new creation. One fan in particular was a chubby six-year-old boy in droopy overalls.
He would often help Bob sweep up in exchange for a free burger. In honor of his young friend, Wian decided to name the better burger the Big Boy®. Another regular customer, a movie studio animator, sketched the now famous character on a napkin.
I had my first Big Boy sometime in the 1950’s at their drive-in restaurant on Van Nuys Boulevard, in Van Nuys, California, which was a major cruising destination. We would order a Big Boy Combo which was the Big Boy double cheeseburger, fries and a salad which consisted of a wedge of iceberg lettuce and their Thousand Island or Blue Cheese dressing. That would be accompanied by one of their thick chocolate shakes that came in a silver goblet and which were so thick, you could turn the goblet upside down and the milkshake would almost stay in the goblet. Instead of a straw we would use a spoon.
Of course those were the “good old days”, and often times things are never the same. When we visited a Bob’s Big Boy franchise a few years ago at a store stamped out by the franchisor the original atmosphere was lost and the food tasted nothing like the memories and was quite disappointing. And this leads to my rendering of their mascot, “Big Boy With Grit”, his face is dirty, or maybe that is a five o’clock shadow he is developing, and the building facade itself is a little dirty because the Big Boy of today does not live up to the ideal from days gone by.