Bob's Big Boy: making history?

April 16, 1992|By Los Angeles Daily News

A county commission has urged giving historic status to a 43-year-old Bob's Big Boy restaurant in the Los Angeles-area city of Burbank, despite objections from the property owner who wants to raze the building.

The restaurant is the oldest Bob's Big Boy in the nation and an example of post-World War II coffee-shop architecture, said Pete Moruzzi, chairman of the Los Angeles Conservancy's 1950s Task Force which asked the county commission for historic designation.

"This building is in excellent physical condition. It's very significant because it's one of the last remaining examples of this transitional design from drive-in to coffee shop," Mr. Moruzzi said.

Philip MacDonald, a principal in a general partnership that owns the Riverside Drive structure and lot, told commissioners he wants to construct an office building or hotel on the site.

He also submitted a letter from Burbank City Council Robert Bowne, who said preservationists are getting caught up in the nostalgia of the 1950s.

"The idea that a coffee shop represents a historical point of interest is not realistic," Mr. Bowne wrote. "You can hardly compare this coffee shop to some of the most prized architecture in Los Angeles."

Tuesday's recommendation by the Los Angeles County Historical Landmarks and Records Commission will go before the Board of Supervisors within three weeks, officials said.

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