Architect Wayne McAllister (1907-2000) was a principal champion of the Googie style of architecture, elevating the drive-in coffee shop and Las Vegas casino to a high level of art. The Burbank restaurant he designed for Bob Wian, founder of the Bob's Big Boy chain, was the first in a group of xix in the Los Angeles area and the only one still in existence.
The thirty-five foot tall neon sign is the restaurants most striking and conspicuous feature, however the 'real action' was in the back, according to author Chris Nichols, who wrote the book, 'The Leisure Architecture of Wayne McAllister'.(Gibbs Smith, Publisher 2007), 'You couldn't get into the place on Friday nights. It seemed like everybody in town stopped at Bob's that night. They were attracted by the good food, gorgeous waitresses and the action.'
At the peak of its popularity, the chain could claim 750 restaurants in 1958. In 1967 the chain was sold to the Marriott Corporation, which decimated the brand by regionalizing its name. By 1988, Marriott sold off the restaurants one at a time.
Bob's Big Boy in Burbank is located at 4211 Riverside Drive. The restaurant was designated a California Point of Historical Interest in 1993. For more information on 'Googie' architecture, the book 'Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture' by author Alan Hess is a must.