In distinctly Southern California fashion, this Burbank standby built in 1949—it’s the oldest surviving Bob’s Big Boy location—is all about the automobile. Its colossal neon sign and familiar, rotund Big Boy recall a time when roadside restaurants screamed at drivers for their attention. The parking lot might as well be a second dining room, with car hop service on Saturday and Sunday nights as well as a classic car meet-up on Fridays. Inside, a lengthy concave countertop cuts through the comfortable coppertone diner. The most notable feature, though, is a sense of pop culture history, with a designated booth that the Beatles once dined at and the knowledge that David Lynch neurotically came by every day at 2:30pm for seven years to slurp down a chocolate milkshake.
Breakfast is available all day at Big Boy’s—just be sure to ask for the special breakfast menu if it’s not already on your table—but if it’s bacon and eggs you crave, you may be disappointed. The Eggs with Bacon or Sausage (two eggs, two strips of bacon, hash browns and toast) is on the bland side, needing a healthy dose of pepper and salt. So what’s good here? The burger, which comes dressed with just the right amount of ketchup, relish and mayo. The patty avoids common diner faux pas: either thin and overcooked rubbery discs; or bible-thick and overcooked slabs of grey meat. Here, it’s a medium-rare balance that rivals the juiciness of an In-n-Out patty. The accompanying fries are crisp wedges that don’t get soggy over time, but the real kicker is Bob’s shakes—particularly the chocolate, which comes with a supplemental tin of extra blended ice cream that makes one order enough for two sweet-toothed diners.