Memories of the Montrose Bob’s Big Boy – Part 4

This continues the collection of memories from the Montrose Bob’s Big Boy, located at 3212 La Crescenta Ave., near its intersection with Verdugo Road. It was there from the late 1940s until the late 1980s, and was a favorite hangout for families and teenagers during the “baby boom” years. Here are more of those cherished memories:

“One time, probably after a Crescenta Valley High School sports contest, I went to Bob’s with a friend named Terry and a couple of other guys whose names I don’t recall. The food was as usual but we had an uncharacteristically rude, surly and impatient server. I have never been one to give servers a hard time and I don’t think Terry was, either. I think the young lady might have had a bad day or maybe was worn out at the end of her shift, or perhaps she always was just a rude, surly and impatient server; no way of knowing. We weren’t yet mature enough to try to step back and view the situation with the equanimity I think I would have today. Instead of leaving a tip, Terry took out a pen, grabbed a paper napkin, drew circles on it, and in the circles wrote 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ and so on. Certainly not our finest moment, but we thought it was funny 50-plus years ago, anyway.”

“Bob’s used ice cream from a small company located near Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood for its silver goblet shakes. I remember the company as Colonial Maid. The ice cream company was particular about how its product was stored and supplied its own freezers (chest style). Colonial Maid used O.L. Gordon refrigeration to maintain the ice cream plant and freezers. Otto L. Gordon was my maternal grandfather and I went on calls with him starting at about age 7. Since my granddad was taking care of the ice cream freezers, he was also used by Bob’s to take care of their own refrigeration needs. I saw many of the additions up until about 1955. I grew up with Bob’s.

“Now jump to my Glendale College days. That is where I met my wife. We both lived just south of the North Verdugo/Cañada north fork; lots of dates there. We had only been dating for about three to four months and one night while having a late burger I went to use the restroom. I had been to the Montrose Bob’s so many times I just automatically went into the men’s room. On my way out I ran in to my frau-to-be who was on the way in. She asked what I was doing in the lady’s room. I assured her I was in the correct place and she was not. A look at the outer door showed that some prankster(s) had changed the plaques on the doors. It took some convincing to get her to go in to the one that said ‘MEN.’”

“There was the evening when Richard Boone and company took the Glendale College stage and audio visual crews to Bob’s Montrose after a rehearsal of ‘A Night with Richard Boone’ at the Glendale College auditorium.”

“My friends and I eating combination plates and for dessert a hot fudge sundae. The fudge came in a little silver cup and it was hot. We’d lick the leftover fudge out and burn our tongues. I think the combination plate was $1.50.”

“It was our hangout after Crescenta Valley High School games – fries and a thick, thick milkshake. We would spend hours there discussing all things important, like, ‘What do you think of the new album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?’” And, of course, scoping the chicks who were there.”

“The Bob’s on La Crescenta Avenue was the third Bob’s Big Boy built as the chain grew from the first Bob’s on Colorado Boulevard in Glendale. It was designed by the firm of Armet & Davis, [which] also designed Pann’s, many of the Norm’s restaurants and quite a few others in the ‘Googie’ style of architecture.”

We’ll wrap up this memory-fest next week.

Mike Lawler is the former
president of the Historical
Society of the Crescenta Valley
and loves local history.
Reach him at