2010 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD: Burgers at Bob's Broiler
January 29, 2010
I dig the pop culture.
In 1958 Harvey Ortner and his wife Minnie built The Broiler restaurant on Firestone Blvd. on the site of an old chicken farm in Downey, California. Their architect was Paul B. Clayton who penned a classic example of what would become know as "Googie" style architecture. In Googie, according to www.bobsbigboybroiler.com, elements of space age are melded with neon, river rock and large panels of glass to create buildings that were visual works of art-vertising that so overwhelmed the view, they couldn't help but explore further.
Harvey's was topped by a 60 foot bent arrow shaped sign with 6 foot tall neon letters that could be seen from a mile away.
The place was a hit. And not just for it burgers, fries and shakes, it was a hangout for car clubs through the 1960's and 1970's. And it became a pop culture and car culture landmark. Harvey changed the name to Johnie's in the late 1970's, but he owned the Broiler into the 1980's. The next owner kept the doors open until New Year's Eve 2001.
Soon after that it was a used car dealership and movie filming location rented for such films as Pulp Fiction and Heat. But the building fell into decline and on January 7th, 2007 an illegal demolition of Johnie's. It was soon stopped by the city and concerned citizens, but not before most of Paul B. Clayton's creation lay in ruins.
The people organized. Committees like Friends of Johnie's Broiler and the Coalition to Save and Rebuild Harvey's Broiler were formed. The goal was clear: Save this icon. And they did. The city placed a moratorium on further destruction and in 2008 it was bought be the folks at Bob's Big Boy (another drive in icon) and was reborn as the Bob's Big Boy Broiler, which opened a couple of months ago. They even followed Paul Clayton's original 1958 buleprints.
Last week I took my kids there in our long-term 2010 Volvo XC60. We ate burgers, fries and shakes. You should go.
Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief