Early Los Angeles Drive-in Restaurants

Background

In the 1930’s the world went Deco-crazy, and the American drive-in reached its pinnacle. Swirling, modernistic, futurific lines and colors dominated. Drive-ins became fantastical, even outlandish: some were octagonal or cylindrical; others were imbued with silly themes (like windmills or airplanes).  Women became valued workers, often clad in campy uniforms and roller skates. Menus were expanded to include fish, vegetables, and desserts. So popular were drive-ins that at one point there were over 200 in greater Los Angeles alone! ++

 

Carpenter's Drive-in (Sunset and Vine)

 
(1932)^^#* - Carpenter’s Drive-in Restaurant, located on Sunset Boulevard just east of Vine Street in Hollywood. Photo by ‘Dick’ Whittington   

 

Historical Notes

The Carpenter’s Sandwiches Drive-in seen above was located at 6265 Sunset Boulevard between Vine Street and Argyle Avenue in Hollywood. For 30 cents you could enjoy a hamburger and wash it down with a cup of beer while sitting behind the wheel of your car (5 cents more for the premium beer).

 

 

 
(1933)* - Carhops pose for the camera in front of Carpenter's Sandwich Drive-in restaurant, located near the NE corner of Sunset and Vine.  

 

Historical Notes

Harry B. Carpenter founded the Carpenter's chain with his brother Charles and operated many locations in Los Angeles including: Sunset and Vine, Wilshire and Western, Wilshire and La Cienega, Wilshire and Vine, Pico and Vermont, Silver Lake and Glendale and Sunset and Virgil.*

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^^ - View of Carpenter's Drive-in showing two carhops standing by the counter while another to the right appears to be serving food.  

 

 

 

 
(1936)#* - Carpenters Sandwiches, Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street.  Note the change in style of carhop uniforms.  

 

Historical Notes

Originally located near the northeast corner of Sunset and Vine (6265 Sunset Blvd), Carpenter’s would be torn down to make room for the new NBC Radio City building, constructed in 1938. Shortly thereafter, Carpenter’s was reincarnated across the street on the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine (6290 Sunset Blvd).

 

 
(1930s)^^^^* – Nighttime view of Carpenter’s Sandwich located at on the north side of Sunset between Vine and Argyle. Signs read:  Ben Hur Delicious Drip Coffee, Sirloin Steak Sandwich - 25 Cents, Fried Oyster Sandwich - 20 Cents, Hot Fudge Sundae - 25 Cents, and “A Real Hamburger Sandwich” - 15 Cents.  

 

 

Carpenter's Drive-in (Wilshire and Western)

 
(1938)#* - View of the stylish Carpenter's Sandwich drive-in located at Wilshire and Western. The art deco style Wilshire Professional Building stands in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Harry B. Carpenter founded the Carpenter's chain with his brother Charles and operated many locations in Los Angeles including: Sunset and Vine, Wilshire and Western, Wilshire and La Cienega, Wilshire and Vine, Pico and Vermont, Silver Lake and Glendale and Sunset and Virgil.*

 

 

Carpenter's Drive-in (606 E. Colorado)

 
(ca. 1938)* - According to signage, this Carpenter's drive-in restaurant features fried chicken, sandwiches, year round fresh fruit pies, breakfast, hamburgers and fountain service, but no cocktails. The Rite Spot Cafe pylon is seen in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1936, after separating from his brother, Charles E. Carpenter opened three Carpenter's Cafes. A transitional project Carpenter's Village (606 E. Colorado) combined a Rite Spot Cafe and Carpenter's Drive-in. Next he opened the Rite Spot Cafe in Pasadena, located at 1500 West Colorado Street (now considered Eagle Rock) and the Santa Anitan Cafe at Huntington and Colorado.*

 

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Harry Carpenter's Drive-in (Sunset and Vine, SE Corner)

 
(ca. 1938)^** – View looking south showing the newly built Carpenter’s Drive-in Restaurant located on the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood.  

 

Historical Notes

This Carpenter's Drive-in replaced the one located near the northeast corner of Sunset and Vine (6265 Sunset Blvd), which was torn down in 1938 to make room for the new NBC Radio City building.

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)^** – Life Magazine photo showing a carhop carrying a tray of food at Carpenter's Drive-in, with a 1936 Ford coupe seen on the left.  In the distance, across Sunset Boulevard, stands the recently completed NBC Radio Studios.  

 

Historical Notes

Carpenter’s was a chain of drive-in restaurants —there were six or seven locations—but this was probably the best known because it sat on the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, which put it across the street from the iconic NBC Radio Studios.

 

 

 

 
(1940s)##^* – Night view showing cars parked at the beautiful saucer-shaped Harry Carpenter's Drive-in, on the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine, 6290 Sunset Boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

Between 1931 and 1961, three different drive-in restaurants occupied the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine:
•    1931 the Pig Stand BBQ Sandwich Drive-in restaurant goes up.
•    1937 Sept. Carpenter’s demolishes their existing building across the street, builds a new Carpenter's here
•    1951 Carpenter’s becomes a Stan's Drive-in
•    1961 Drive-in demolished for 20-story Sunset Vine Tower

 

 

 

 
(1940s)##^* – View looking northwest toward the intersection of Sunset and Vine from the front of Carpenter’s Drive-in Restaurant located on the SE corner.   NBC Radio City is across the street to the right (NE corner) while Wallichs Music City is seen on the left (NW corner).  

 

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McDonnell's Drive-in (Sunset and La Brea)

 
(1930s)* - View showing McDonnell's Drive-in located on the northwest corner of Sunset and La Brea ( (Not to be confused with McDonald's fast food restaurants of today). Tiny Naylor's Dirve-in would be built on this corner in the 1940s.  

 

Historical Notes

"Rusty" McDonnell operated a chain of drive-ins in the Los Angeles area during the 30s and 40s, long before the fast food behemoth McDonalds came on the scene. His restaurants, designed by the revered architect Wayne McAllister, were fabulously kitsch and garish and customers could spot their huge neon signs from miles away.++^

 

 

 

 

 
(1930s)#**# - Close-up view showing cars parked at McDonnell's Drive-in at Sunset and La Brea, NW corner.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930s)#*#* – Night view showing a carhop serving food at the Sunset and La Brea McDonnell's Drive-in.  

 

 

McDonnell's Ever Eat Drive-in (Beverly and La Brea)

 
(1931)*^^ - The staff of the McDonnell’s Ever Eat Drive-in at Beverly and La Brea stand at attention, waiting for customers.  

 

Historical Notes

McDonnell employed a local artist to sketch whimsical interpretations of the car-hops or waiters that served cokes, hamburgers and fries to customers for its menus.++^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)^*# – Close-up view showing Mc Donnell’s Drive-in on the corner of Beverly and La Brea.  Sign above the counter reads:  “17 Other Places to Serve You”.  

 

Historical Notes

McDonnell's "Drive-ins" were located at Beverly Boulevard & Western Avenue, Wilshire and Robertson Boulevards, Yucca Street and Cahuenga Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, and Sunset Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. The McDonnell's restaurants throughout Los Angeles were: McDonnell's Monterey (7312 Robertson Boulevard); McDonnell's Wilshire (Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue); McDonnell's Fairfax (Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard); McDonnell's Gates Hotel (Sixth and Figueroa streets); McDonnell's Hill Street (454 S. Hill Street); McDonnell's Figueroa (4012 S. Figueroa Street); McDonnell's Adams and Figueroa (2626 S. Figueroa Street); and McDonnell's Pico Street (Pico and Hope streets).*

 

 

 

 
(1935)##+ - View showing cars parked in front of McDonnell's Drive-in. Large sign reads: EAT IN CAR - Fried Chickn, Mc Donnells Style 40 cents - with Shoestring Potatoes, Honey & Toast; Chicken Broth with Noodles - Cup 10 cents, Bowl 15 cents.  

 

Historical Notes

The restaurant served some of the best fried chicken in the state, raising its own chickens on a 200 acre ranch at Daggett, California. McDonnell's survived until the 50s before sadly closing down. ++^

 

 

 

 
(1936)#++ - View showing a carhop picking up tray from driver of auto.  

 

 

McDonnell's Sandwiches Drive-in (Beverly and Western)

 
(ca. 1935)^** – View showing McDonnell’s Drive-in located on the corner of Beverly & Western, Walter Wetzel in foreground on way to work as dishwasher. (Wetzel family collection)  

 

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Simon's Drive-in (Wilshire and Fairfax, NW Corner)

 
(1939)^^ - View showing Simon's Drive-in Restaurant on the northwest corner of Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.  This is an engineering notebook photoprint taken from top deck of Wilshire Boulevard Bus.  

 

Historical Notes

Simon's Drive-In Restaurant was built in 1935 and looks very similar to many of the other drive-ins built in the 1930s. That's because so many of these futuristic looking drive-ins were designed by architect Wayne McAllister.

Wayne McAllister was a Los Angeles-based architect who was a leader in the Googie style of architecture that embraced the automobile and the Space Age. Inspired by tail fins and gleaming chrome, he elevated the drive-in restaurant to futuristic works of art. He created iconic circular drive-in restaurants in Southern California, including Simon's, Herbert's, Robert's, and McDonnell's in the 1930s.*^

 

 

 
(1939)* - A daytime view of Simon's Drive-In Restaurant located on the northwest corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. Through the glass floor-to-ceiling windows, patrons can be seen sitting at the circular counter having their meals. "Spaghetti", "Chili", "Fountain", "Hamburgers" and "Barbecue" can be seen above the windows. A carhop is standing at front, holding food in her hand.
 

 

Historical Notes

At one time Simon's Drive-Ins dominated the Southern California drive-in restaurant craze. The Simon brothers had operated a chain of successful dairy lunch counters in downtown Los Angeles, and in 1935 decided to capitalize on the growing car culture of Los Angeles by opening auto friendly locations in the emerging commercial centers of Wilshire Boulevard, Sunset and Ventura Boulevards.^##

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)##** - Night view of Simon's drive-in located on the northwest corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. The Streamline Moderne style ciruclar structure was designed by renowned architect Wayne McAllister.  

 

Historical Notes

This is the same corner where the 1950s Johnie's Coffee Shop now stands. Across the street is the old May Company Building which is now a part of LACMA/the Hollywood Museum.

Going back even further, the DeMille Airfield No.2 (later Rogers Airport) was located at this same Fairfax/Wilshire site in the early 1920s.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1948)#* - Couple of jitter-bugs down at Simon's Drive-In wowing the waitress with their tiger-stripe upholstery. Ah, those were the days!  

 

 

 

Simon's Drive-in (El Monte)

 
(1940s)^^#* – View showing the Simon’s Drive-in Restaurant in El Monte. Photo by Doug White of SCE  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1930s, Wayne McAllister, the originator of the circular drive-in, designed circular Simon's Drive-in Restaurants in the Streamline Moderne style with a three-layer roof and neon advertising pylon; this style was copied throughout the country.*

 

 

 

 
(1939)^^#* - Nighttime view of Simon’s drive-in with customers sitting at counter and others in their car. Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

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Scrivner's Drive-in (Cahuenga and Sunset, NE Corner)

 
(1940s)^^ – View looking at the northeast corner of Cahuenga and Sunset boulevards showing the circular Scrivner's Drive-in Restaurant with cars parked around it.  

 

Historical Notes

Art Laboe made a name for himself as a young disc jockey "by hauling his bulky radio equipment for live afternoon broadcasts" at this drive-in. He also did shows from another Scrivner's on Imperial Highway and Western. The old Scrivner's spot is now occupied by a Jack in the Box, but not for long: a hotel to replace it is in the works. Click HERE for contemporary view. #*#*

 

 

 
(1950s)^^^ – View showing disc jockey Art Laboe (behind the mic) surrounded by teenage fans in the parking lot of Scrivener’s Drive-in at Sunset and Chauenga.  

 

Historical Notes

Art Laboe’s most popular remote location, and one that he would occupy for eight years from 1951 to 1959, was in the parking lot of Scrivener’s Drive-In at the corner of Sunset and Cahuenga in Hollywood.

The runaway popularity of the Scrivener’s broadcasts created traffic jams around the drive-in.

 

 

Scrivner's Drive-in (Imperial Hwy and Western Ave)

 
(ca. 1952)#+ – Scrivner’s Drive-In, on the corner of Imperial Hwy and Western Ave.  Back of Photo reads: "Scrivners, where I spent all my time from 1952 on."  

 

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Herbert's Drive-in (Beverly and Fairfax, SE Corner)

 
(ca. 1940)* - The exterior of Herbert's Drive-In is built so that customers in cars can park all around it. Waiters/waitresses are seen serving food for people to eat in their cars. It was located at the southeast corner of Beverly Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. Gilmore Stadium is in view behind the restaurant, on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

L.A. restauranteur Sydney Hoedemaker opened Herbert's Drive-In in the early 1930s. It was designed by architect Wayne McAllister in circular Streamline Moderne style with a neon-ringed roofline and advertising pylon.*

 

 

 
(ca. 1945)##+ – View looking at the southeast corner of Fairfax and Beverly showing Herbert’s Drive-in restaurant.  Three carhops are seen standing at center-left.  Gilmore Stadium can be seen in the distance (on the right).  

 

Historical Notes

Today, CBS Television City (built in 1952) stands at this site. Click HERE to see contemporary view.

 

 

 
(1945)^^^^ – View of Herbert's Drive-in, located on the southeast corner of Beverly and Fairfax.  Photo by Nina Leen  

 

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Melody Lane Drive-in (Wilshire and Western, SW Corner)

 
(ca. 1940s)* - Aerial view showing Melody Lane Drive-in located on the southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue. Cars are parked around the circular coffee shop area, as well as in the large parking lot at bottom and at above left. The vertical Melody Lane sign is visible on top of building at right.  

 

Historical Notes

Architect Wayne McAllister designed the Melody Lane, at Wilshire and Western, for restaurateur Sidney Hoedemaker for who he had designed several Herbert’s drive-ins.  Besides car service and the familiar circular drive-in, Melody Lane included a dining room, coffee shop, and cocktail lounge in a complex that flowed off the drive-in. #^

 

 

 
(1940s)* – View showing the entrance to the Starlite Room cocktail lounge which is attached to the Melody Lane Drive-in seen in the background. Cars are parked under the McCallister-designed circular canopy with vertical Melody Lane sign extending up from its roof.  

 

Historical Notes

The Starlite Room cocktail lounge revaled the the sophistication of McAllister’s dinner house designs, with a zodia-themed motif featuring clocked silk-rayon wall coverings and peach-colored mirrors. #^

 

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Roberts Drive-in (Burbank)

 
(ca. 1948) * – View showing cars parked at Roberts Drive-in Restaurant at Olive Avenue and Victory Boulevard in Burbank  

 

Historical Notes

Wayne McAllister was the architect of this circular, Streamline Moderne drive-in. It has a neon-trimmed roofline and advertising pylon and neon rings around the underside/overhang of the roof. A whimsical ball and neon detail are on top of the pylon.

 

 

 
(1940)^** – Atmospheric shot of the Roberts Drive-in diner in Burbank located on the corner of Olive Ave and Victory Blvd.  

 

Historical Notes

Roberts Drive-in became Van De Kamps in 1968 and later Biff Naylor’s Gristmill in 1979. (Biff Naylor is the son of noted California restaurateur Tiny Naylor and purchased the Du-par’s chain in 2004.) ^**

 

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Guinn’s Coffee Shop and Drive-in

 
(1940s)^^* – View showing Guinn’s Coffee Shop and Drive-in located at 2915 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena.  

 

Historical Notes

Gwinn’s Drive-in was designed by Harold J. Bissner and Harold B. Zook.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1947)**# – Gwinn’s Coffee Shop and Drive-in, 2915 E. Colorado Blvd. (U. S. 66) Pasadena.  

 

Historical Notes

Guinn's Drive-in was demolished around 1992.

 

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Tam O' Shanter (Los Feliz and Boyce, SE Corner)

 
(1930)##^* – View looking toward the southeast corner of Los Feliz Boulevard and Boyce Avenue showing the Tam O’ Shanter, advertising Malted Milk for 15 cents. Full car service can be seen at center-left, next to the umbrella. Although it is not Art Deco, the Tam O' Shanter is historically significant since it is considered to be one of the first drive-in restaurants in LA.  

 

Historical Notes

June 26th, 1922, Lawrence L. Frank and Water Van de Kamp opened the Tam O’Shanter Restaurant in Atwater Village with the distinctive Storybook-style architecture of Hollywood set designer Harry Oliver.

The Tam O’ Shanter soon became one of the nation’s first drive-ins with special wooden trays that enabled guests to dine in their cars. They called it 'Car Service de luxe'.

 

 

 
(1930s)*## – View showing four people enjoying a tray-served meal inside their car at Tam O’ Shanter.  

 

Historical Notes

From a 1933 advertisement of the newly remodelled Tam o’ Shanter and its drive-in service:

“We are happy to welcome you to our remodeled Tam o’ Shanter Inn.  Important among the changes made, is the re-establishment of Car Service de luxe – a feature which we originated eight years ago.  Ingenious tables installed in your car, enable you to sit and eat in the comfort and privace of your own automobile…”

Click HERE to see more Early Views of the Tam O' Shanter.

 

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Pig Stand Drive-in (Sunset and Vine, SE Corner)

 
(ca. 1931)* - Night view of Pig Stand Drive-in restaurant on the SE corner of Sunset and Vine. Across the street (NE corner of Sunset and Vine) can be seen the neon sign for Carpenter's Drive-in. Also seen in the distance is the Broadway-Hollywood sign (located on the SW corner of Hollywood and Vine).
 

 

Historical Notes

We didn't quite invent the drive-in restaurant in Los Angeles -- the Pig Stand in Dallas beat us by a year -- but we did do more than anyone to perfect the concept and ensure its spread. After all, we were living in the most car-oriented part of the country, and we did set the standard for what was cool.^^#

A Dallas entrepreneur named Jessie G. Kirby built the first Pig Stand along a Dallas-Fort Worth Highway in October 1921. It was a hit with hungry drivers, and soon it became a chain. (The slogan: "America's Motor Lunch.") Kirby and his partners made one of the first franchising arrangements in restaurant history, and Pig Stands began cropping up everywhere. By 1934, there were more than 130 Pig Stands in nine states. (Most were in California and Florida.) Meanwhile, the chain kept innovating. Many people say that California's Pig Stand No. 21 became the first drive through restaurant in the world in 1931, and food historians believe that Pig Stand cooks invented deep-fried onion rings and chicken-fried steak sandwiches.

Wartime gasoline and food rationing hit the Pig Stands hard, and after the war they struggled to compete with newer, flashier drive-ins. By the end of the 1950s, all of the franchises outside of Texas had closed. By 2005, even the Texas Pig Stands were struggling to survive—only six remained in the whole state—and by the next year they had all disappeared.*##

 

 

 
(ca. 1931)* - View showing carhops and customers posing for the camera front of Pig Stand drive-in restaurant. The drive-in was located on the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine. By 1938, this site would become home to Harry Carpenter's Drive-in.  

 

Historical Notes

Between 1931 and 1961, three different drive-in restaurants occupied the southeast corner of Sunset and Vine:
•    1931 the Pig Stand BBQ Sandwich Drive-in restaurant goes up.
•    1937 Sept. Carpenter’s demolishes their existing building across the street, builds a new Carpenter's Drive-in here
•    1951 Carpenter’s becomes a Stan's Drive-in
•    1961 Drive-in demolished for 20-story Sunset Vine Tower

 

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"The Track" Drive-in (Beverly and La Jolla, SW Corner)

 
(1949)+## – View showing The Track Drive-in which utilized a horizontal dumbwaiter to serve the food. The restaurant was located at 8201 Beverly Boulevard (SW corner of Beverly Blvd and La Jolla Ave). Large sign above window reads:  NO TIPPING  

 

Historical Notes

Patented by Kenneth C. Purdy in 1948, the Motormat was designed to eliminate the need for carhops to take your order and deliver your food by having everything done via conveyor belt. The Track restaurant, originally at 8201 Beverly Boulevard, had 20 stalls utilizing this technology that were arranged around the central building like the spokes on a wheel. A metal bin on a conveyor belt served as the waiter, busboy, and server.

A customer would drive up to a window-high bin, mounted on rails, containing glasses of water, menu, pencil, and pad. He or she would then fill out the order, push a button, and send the bin scooting back to the kitchen, which lay at the center of the circular structure. While the order was being prepared, the bin would be sent back with the bill. After the bin was returned with payment, the food and change would be sent back down the rails, with no need to tip a waitress.+##

 

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(1949)**^ – View showing an early Los Angeles drive-in restaurant.  

 

 

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Stan's Drive-in (Sunset and Highland, SE Corner)

 
(1958)^^*** - View showing Stan’s Drive-in Coffee Shop on the SE corner of Sunset and Highland, 6760 Sunset Blvd, across from Hollywood High School and Currie’s ice cream.  

 

Historical Notes

Stan's was a chain of drive-in's with at least a dozen LA locations built in the late 1950's and 60's.

Previously, the southeast corner of Sunset and Highland was the site of Simon’s Drive-in…one of two Simon’s on Sunset for a few years (since 1938). As of December 1951, Simon’s became a Stan’s drive-in. Since Stan’s took over the Carpenter’s at Vine that same year, there were now 2 Stan’s on Sunset. Stan’s stood on the SE corner as seen above until 1971 when it was demolished. Today, a Chick-fil-A is at the corner. Click HERE to see contemporary view.

 

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Tiny Naylor's Restaurant and Drive-in (Sunset and La Brea, NW Corner)

 
(1949)* - View of several customers parked at Tiny Naylor's Restaurant and Drive-in, located on the northwest corner of Sunset and La Brea. This is the same corner where McDonnell's Drive-in once stood in the 1930s and early 1940s.  

 

Historical Notes

Tiny Naylors was one of California's original family-style restaurants founded by W.W. "Tiny" Naylor. Naylor got the nick name "Tiny" because he was 6'4" and weighted 320 lbs. #^**

 

 

 
(1952)*# – View showing a couple in an MG being served at Tiny Naylors.  Photo by Julius Shulman  

 

Historical Notes

Although Tiny Naylor was best known for his Tiny Naylors restaurant chains, his first restaurant was Biff's – named after his son, in 1948.  It was located on the corner of Cahuenga and Yucca in Hollywood.

Tiny Naylor died in 1959. The Naylor family purchased Du Par's in 2004, which it still owns and operates. Du-par's expanded in 2009 to include several locations from the bankrupt Bakers Square chain.*^

 

 

 

 
(1950s)^#^^ – Close-up view looking at the northwest corner of Sunset and La Brea showing Tiny Naylors and homes that still stood on the west side of La Brea.  The house in the background is now a strip mall.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1980)* - Night view of Tiny Naylor's Restaurant , located at Sunset Boulevard (left) and La Brea Avenue (foreground). Photo by Roy Hankey  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by Douglas Honnold in 1949, this establishment remained open until 1984 when it was demolished to make room for a shopping center. Today an El Pollo Loco stands at the corner.*

 

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Bob's Big Boy Drive-in and Restaurant (4211 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank)

 
(ca. 1949)*** – View showing Bob’s Big Boy Drive-in restaurant located on the corner of Riverside Drive and N. Rose Street in Burbank.  

 

Historical Notes

Bob's Big Boy restaurant chain was founded by Bob Wian in Southern California in 1936, originally named Bob's Pantry.

The chain is best known for its trademark chubby boy in red-and-white checkered overalls holding a Big Boy sandwich (double-decker cheeseburger). The inspiration for Big Boy's name, as well as the model for its mascot, was Richard Woodruff (1936–1986), of Glendale, California. When he was six years old, he walked into the diner Bob's Pantry as Bob Wian was attempting to name his new hamburger. Wian said, "Hello, Big Boy" to Woodruff, and the name stuck.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1949)*** – Night view showing a very croweded Bob’s Big Boy Drive-in, located at 4211 W. Riverside Drive in Burbank.   

 

Historical Notes

This Bob's restaurant was built in 1949 by local residents Scott MacDonald and Ward Albert, and is the oldest remaining BOB'S BIG BOY in America. It was designed by renowned architect Wayne McAllister, incorporating the 1940's transitional design of streamline modern style while anticipating the free-form 50's coffee shop architecture. The towering BOB's sign is an integral part of the building  design and its most prominent feature. ^#

 

 

 
(ca. 1949)*** - Close-up view showing a carhop serving two customers sitting in an early model roadster.  

 

 

 

  (ca. 1955)**^ - Debbie Reynolds and her 1955 T-Bird at Bob's Big Boy Drive-in.

 

Historical Notes

The restaurant was honored in 1993, receiving the designation as a "STATE POINT OF HISTORICAL INTEREST" by the State of California. The current owner (the MacDonald Family) acquired control of the restaurant in 1993 and began to restore it to its past glory. ^#

Click HERE to see contemporary view.

 

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(n.d.)**^ - I'll have a hamburger, fries, and a Coke…..now that’s the way I like it!  

 

 

 

 
(1950s)*** - Wow! Look at those salt and pepper shakers on that window tray.  

 

 

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References and Credits

* LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LADWP Historic Archive

** DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^* Oviatt Library Digital Archives

*^ Wikipedia

^^ USC Digital Library

#* Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

*# Skyscraperpage.com: Tiny Naylors

^# Bob's Big Boy History

#^ Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture

++ History of Diners and Drive-ins

#+ Flickr.com: Scrivner's Drive-in

^**MartinTurnbull.com

^^*Diner Hunter: Guinn's Coffee Shop and Drive-in

^^^Tropics of Metta: Art Laboe's Charmed Life on the Air

^*#California State Library Image Archive

*##History.com: Pig Stands

^##This Moderne Life: Simon's Drive-In

++^Coolculinaria.com: Mcdonnell's Drive-in

***Facebook.com: Bob's Big Boy

**^Pinterest.com: 1949 Drive-in Restaurant; Food Tray; Bob's Big Boy

**#Eating L.A. - Guinn's Coffee Shop and Drive-in

*^^Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles: losangelespast.com

^^#LA Times: 'Swing in, pig out, drive off'

#++Getty Images

##+Pinterest.com: Diner Style; Herbert's Drive-in

*##RolandCommunications.com: Tam O'Shanter

+##LAIST: The Track Drive-in Restaurant

^^#*Huntington Digital Library Archive

*^^*Los Angeles: Portrait of a City

^^^^Wehadfacesthen.tumblr.com

#*#*LA Curbed - Scrivner's Drive-in

#^**The Go Go's: Local Coffee Shops and Diners

^#^^Facebook.com - Vintage LA: Tiny Naylors

##**MartinTurnbull.com: Simon's Drive-in

##^*Facebook.com: Classic Hollywood-Los Angeles-SFV

#**#Facebook.com: Garden of Allah Novels, Martin Turnbull

^^***Pinterest.com: Diners

^^^^*Pinterest.com: Tinseltown

 

 

 

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