Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Big Boy Revisited

The Big Boy outside the Port Clinton restaurant
Over the weekend, I found myself in Port Clinton around mealtime. Since that city is one of the few in Northern Ohio with a Big Boy restaurant, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have one of their iconic double-decker sandwiches.

You might remember that back here, I explained how there are actually two competing Big Boy chains: Big Boy, which has a direct lineage to the original restaurant, and Frisch's Big Boy.

Frisch's originally was one of the largest franchisees of the Big Boy chain, and introduced the sandwich in Ohio. Manners Big Boy (in the Cleveland area) was a licensee of Frisch's.

Interestingly, in those early days, Frisch's had been granted permission to develop its own version of the Big Boy mascot. Frisch's version wasn't as, uh, fat as the original Big Boy character used in the rest of the country. He also wore a hat with the name of the franchisee. Consequently, Frisch's version was used by Manners and that's the Big Boy (at left) we grew up in Northern Ohio.

Over the years there were many other franchisees of the Big Boy name, including Shoney's and Eat'n Park. You might remember (if you ever visited Detroit or listened to CKLW in the 60s and 70s) that Elias Brothers was the franchisee in Michigan.
Today, Frisch's is a co-registrant of the Big Boy name and trademark along with the other chain. Frisch's has restaurants in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio – including the one in Port Clinton.

The sign outside the Port Clinton restaurant
It's interesting to me from a marketing perspective that the Port Clinton restaurant is a sort of hybrid between the two competing Big Boy brands. It's independently owned and operated by Bennett Enterprises as a Frisch's, and as a result uses Frisch's tasty tartar sauce on its Big Boys. It uses the Frisch's version of the mascot on its sign (at right). But the statue in front of its store, as well as the souvenir items sold inside are all of the chubbier version.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my sandwich at the Port Clinton location. I just have to make sure that with all these Big Boys, Oh Boys and Texas Burgers that I've been inhaling lately that I don't end up looking like a burger mascot myself.


Rick Kurish said...

you're making me hungry! I used to stop for a Big Boy sandwich quite regularly at the Bob's Big Boy Restaurant that used to be directly across Route 58 from the current Bob Evans Restaurant. It doesn't seem so long ago -- do you know when the restaurant closed?

Dan Brady said...

Hi Rick,
It lasted a lot longer than I thought. Its last listing in the Lorain phone book was the November 2003 edition.