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Bob’s Big Boy- Then and Now

It’s Sheboygan, let’s say 1980s. I can still see it clearly in my head, which is crazy since I couldn’t recall what I ate for lunch yesterday, but hey, a Restaurant from my childhood, no problem! LOL Ah, the brain, a wonderful creature. Anyways, for some reason, this was a frequent place for our family to head when we ate out. Do you remember what a treat it was back then to dine outside of your home? It was such an event! No, we didn’t dress up like they did in the 50s, but it was a big deal to us. Well, to me anyways. I noticed over time, that dinner was around the table as I was little. And then as I hit the teen years. My brother and I would beg to eat in our rooms or in front of the tv in the living room. I think deep inside I loved going out as a family to dine anywhere because it was concentrated time with my brother and parents. BEFORE cellphones, we had their captive attention, so it was always much more than a meal.

Marc’s Big Boy was located near Memorial Mall in Sheboygan, (BOTH places now gone), and dining there was equivalent to Perkins.  Famous for their burgers, fries, and I think their shakes as well. I remember the odd lighting, like we were eating in a dark supper club, and the cooler full of pie slices when we walked in. There was always a gumball machine or toy something machine for a quarter to keep us kids busy, while Mom and Dad battled for a spot – our snooty family wanted a booth. I say that tongue in cheek because as an adult now, ALL I want is a booth. LOL I just like being tucked in when I dine out.

Here are some facts for those of you who remember eating there – now or back in the day. Big Boy began in 1936 in Glendale, California, first called “Bob’s Pantry.” The founder, Bob Wian, was famous for making the first double-decker burger, also known as the “Big Boy.” I have found conflicting reports on the number of locations still open; some say 56 and some say 7 LOL. Michigan had the most at one point, which didn’t surprise me since we saw 2 on our trip. Obviously, just because our city one closed doesn’t mean they aren’t doing well somewhere else, but as a child I just assumed they all closed. Who knew?

I don’t remember the food; I remember the feeling of the place. Fast forward to this past summer and why all the memories add up now. We were driving towards the Upper Peninsula for our Michigan trip, and out of the blue, Craig and I are just chatting away and there is a BIG BOY! I am sorry, WHAT??!?!?!  It was like seeing a unicorn on the side of the road, I was dumbfounded. I was under the impression that the chain had died decades ago, and that the remnants left were the Big Boy statues I had seen in St. Louis. Since we were on a schedule, we decided to find it again at the end of our trip.

We saved our appetites for this walk down memory lane, so excited to end our fun adventure with something from our childhood. Craig grew up in Sheboygan as well, so he had been there many times with his family too.  We were pumped, this was going to be amazing! We made sure the hours were up to date, that they were actually OPEN (yeah, side note, St. Ignace where we STAYED had a Big Boy too that had closed months to us getting there), and that we save our stomachs for a big breakfast.

When I say this place was a time capsule…. Have you ever walked into a place from your childhood and been washed over with this wave of time? How about a wave of reality? LOL Because when we walked in, all I can tell you is that they pride themselves in never changing. Now, this wasn’t “ours” but it was pretty close. The counter with the stools, the pie cooler, the buffet areas, and the open kitchen.  Every color, decoration, the smell…. Yeah, it was Big Boy.  We ordered the breakfast buffet, and I was all about the shredded hashbrowns and gravy. Why is that always such a yummy combo? I loved that they added the ham to the scrambled eggs, which were just ok, a bit on the rubbery side. The bacon was light and delicious, hate when it is burnt or hard to chew. We went back up several times for more bacon and hashbrowns, because you might as well take advantage of the “all you can eat” part- it would be lunch too. Nothing rang a bell with the food, but the ambience and dining room definitely felt like another time.

My favorite memory with my mom here and Perkins, was the yummy strawberry pie- which they were out of, of course LOL. Sitting there with my husband of almost 29 years, reminiscing our childhoods with this place, it was just really cool. It was nice to see the boy again, and apparently, they’ve added a moose mascot as well (sorry I didn’t remember it at all).

Have you been there? I would love to hear everyone else’s stories and experiences with this beloved place. Drop a comment and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog- thank you!

****Side note, thanks to EVERYONE who have donated to my hard work. This is what I do for a living, and it is a passion for me, so tossing me a couple bucks below helps me SO MUCH with everything needed. If you can’t, please consider subscribing to the blog, LIKING the blog post, and sharing any content you enjoy– it helps me out SOOOO much! I love being able to bring you all these amazing places so that YOU can do them as well. I work mostly on donations so thanks again.

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