Woody’s Smorgasburger II

The comment thread on the original posting here about Woody’s Smorgasburger got so long that we decided to stop it there and start a sequel over there. You can read the old thread here. Please continue the conversation below. And by the way, all this talk has made some of us miss the place all the more.

251 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger II

  • Phil A. says:

    Good afternoon faithful Readers,

    As I think about this next topic I am getting vibes that this issue may arouse some opinions like the Woody’s attic ladder or fish sandwiches.
    In the earlier days of Woody’s ( prior to 1971 split ) this topic was a mute point because Woody’s did not offer tomato slices. Sometime down the road Chris P. offered the tomato slices and lettuce leaf as well.

    Here is the rub; When burger joints display their offerings on advertising graphics and such, half present their burgers with the lettuce and tomato on the bottom of the sandwich and half show the lettuce and tomato on the top. Of course the produce on the bottom is the correct way to go.
    The reason being; as you are taking your first several bites of the sandwich, it is tipped upward so the bottom meets your teeth first.
    So ….. if you want to enjoy all of your fixin’s from the very first bite, lettuce and tomato will be on the bottom.
    P.S. A reminder to try GREEN olive slices. ( also on the bottom half of bun.)

    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil A. says:

    Ah, for the bygone days of Woody’s SmorgasBurger ………….

    It occurred to me recently that my tenure with Woody’s was completely free from any medical emergencies or robberies. The grease filters and pans surely presented many possibilities for a dangerous fire or burns.
    As for possible robberies, they could have occurred at any time.

    On two separate occasions I was made aware ( after the fact ) of inside employee theft. Both cases involved a lineman who took cash from the register and not ringing up the orders and not issuing a sales receipt.
    In both cases the Woody’s main office was able to determine how, when and who was stealing the cash. Even though I was the manager, I was not informed of the investigation in progress. In hind sight, I guess the reason for my being left out of the loop was intentional in case I was in on the theft as a co conspirator.

    So the episodes ended something like this: The general manager would come by my unit and say he had an issue of concern to talk about.
    He would proceed to tell me that an ongoing theft of cash from the register had been going on during the night shift by a lone individual guy.
    The thief would start about 8 PM after the manager had left and other staff were starting their lunch breaks and closing duties.
    The general manager next told me that ” Johnny So in So ” had just been fired via the phone by himself. ” Johnny” would be allowed in the store on Saturday to clean out his locker and get his final check.
    Holy crap ! Not Johnny SoinSo.

    So, the in house security controls that Woody’s had in place during the mid 1960’s were pretty amazing. We must remember that Mr. Cramers job in the main office was taking care of the books and he had 30 plus years of experience with theft control while managing his Mayfair Markets.
    What a job that must have been with all the many departments under one roof.

    Phil A.

  • ChrisP says:

    That manager, his name was Pat, was one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. he loved people and really cared for everyone.
    He did stay till the end because when he decided to move on I decided to close the place. Business was not that great and the building was old and tired. We kept in contact for many years but now I haven’t heard from him in a long, long time.
    After he left we closed the Woodys for the last time. A very sad day.
    Soon after that we tore the building down and built an El Pollo Loco with a drive thru which, to this day, is one of the busiest restaurants.
    The saw dust you were referring to was an experiment. The floor was not in the greatest shape so we decided to put sawdust to camouflage the old floor. We saw that done in a few BBQ places. We kept it for awhile
    but decided it was not the right thing to do.
    Anyway, I hope I’ve answered a few of your questions.
    Thanks for your comments.

  • Kurt says:

    I grew up with Woody’s in Culver City. In mid 60’s, I would only eat woody’s King size Smorgasburgers when I ate burgers. My first visit there was late 50’s. I remember the big fat manager/owner?, quite a nice guy, in the 70’s -80’s, maybe even earlier. He knew my order “two woody’s king size, medium well” to which i would only add a load of dill pickles. He kept changing the interior of the place, adding sawdust in the 70’s, then taking that junk away. I think he was there ’till the bitter end in “86.

  • Phil A. says:

    Remembering a Woody’s SmorgasBurger lunch ; the smaller Swiss burger, a side of Nally’s potato salad with extra black olives and two Lyons root beers. If there was room for desert, a Martino’s Brownie with the fudge frosting scraped off was always a treat.
    I found the very sweet frosting was too much with the sweet root beer.

    I am also remembering how the Assistant Manager quite often worked the line by himself from 2PM to 4 PM on weekdays. The customer counts were to low to require additional staff during those few hours which leads us to my point ; I am giving thanks that the new latex glove law was unheard of during my food service career. What a pain in the ass, although I can remember plenty of times when the latex gloves would have been a great
    asset considering Woody’s had the exhibition cooking.
    Cash can be very filthy, so having the one guy doing everything to process the order may have been distressing to some customers.
    In todays environment I know I would be distressed.

    Tomorrow ( 5/14 ) is my 50th anniversary for arriving in Los Angles at age 19 . ( solo )………. Nothing here like D&W Beach, POP, Palisades Park or the City of Santa Barbara.
    Stuck in Ohio,

  • Phil A. says:

    Even the big boys are closing up after decades of growth and service.
    No, I am not referring to the ” Big Boy ” restaurants, but rather the Sears and JC Penney stores we all grew up with. Each company had losses exceeding 2 billion dollars over two years. Who can imagine your neighborhood without these guys ?

    Well, the burgers are back ! I am talking about the newer Rock and Brew in Redondo which was built on the site occupied by the Woody’s # 2 store from 1958 thru the mid 1970’s. After four decades of ribs and such, burgers once again prevail at this site. I guess pizza is a strong contender as well.
    Not only that, but a FatBurger joint is right across the street !

    Chris P. and I often lament the old days, but what the hell ya gunna do ?
    Perhaps we should gather and invest in our own retirement village, similar to the old Leisure World in Laguna. We could all take turns running the cafeteria and feature our individual recipes. Chris could feature his “Cannable ” sandwich and Gary W. could make his damn Haddock sandwiches sauced with his spicy salsa.
    As for my turn, I would prepare bone in rib eye steaks with loaded baked potato and sweet corn. Phil’s Famous iced tea for the beverage.

    I had recently read an article that was making this point; Restaurants that specialize in chicken should also offer burgers. The authors view was that
    as families were loading into their cars and debating where to go for dinner, it is always the kids who win out for their damn burgers.
    So, mom and dad bypass all the juicy chicken they are craving only to be sucked into yet another IN N OUT.
    This all makes perfect sense to me.
    What does Chris P. have to say about this ?

    Ah ….. summer.

  • Phil A. says:

    Tell me it isn’t so ………
    I just read that LAPD chief Beck wants to add flying drones, and body cameras to his existing SWAT teams and helicopter patrols.
    What does this comment have to do with Woody’s SmorgasBurger ??
    Only that this news makes me long for the Woody’s days all the more.

    Springfield , Oregon is looking that much better.
    Phil ( still stuck in Ohio )

  • Phil A. says:

    Marshall and all Readers,

    I have found many Alta Dena logo pics on the ” image ” sites. The majority of products use a dark blue lettering on a white background.
    Would you say this was the main color combo of the mid 1960’s that was used on Alta Dena commercial trucks ?

    When I change out different scenes at the Woody’s CC store, I will indeed feature your dad crashing the carport structure. Such fun !
    In addition to the Alta Dena truck, I have the Barbara Ann Bakery, Corsaro Produce, Patman Meats, and S.E. Rykoff trucks.

    I also have added two semi trucks to the diorama which feature real names
    but are fictitious in their appearance as food distributors.
    I did this to honor the very special guys who were always in the background of Woody’s SmorgasBurger.
    Semi truck #1 ; Cramer & Fox / Food Services
    Semi truck #2 : CARWOOD ( umbrella corp. name )

    Back to the basement workshop.

  • Phil A. says:

    Just lamenting……. for Woody’s, KHJ and Brian Jones of the Stones.

    50 years ago this month I was driving to LA with two strangers via Route 66. It took us 3 1/2 days. Today, it seems like it takes more energy and determination to get to the doctor and a trip thru Walmart than it took to make that unforgettable drive.

    Additional info on the Airport Village; Fritz Burns owned and controlled that particular property along with many other parcels in the area.
    After WW II, Burns hooked up with Kaiser and developed the whole area
    we all know as Westchester. The Double Tree hotel and several other large structures now occupy the AV site.
    At the time Hamburger Handout was selling burgers for .19 cents, they would run specials and sell them for a dime ! I’ll take ten please.

    Phil A.

  • Phil A. says:

    Thanks for the informative and swift reply on the Woody’s CC driveways and the flag bracket location. I can now proceed with accurate plans for those areas.
    Your comments on the fire station are most interesting. I am most surprised to learn the property has not been snapped up by someone who likes to work on restoring vintage cars. Hell, you could live there with your family and work on cars whenever you pleased. Plus, you have the EL Pollo Loco right next door for lunch and dinner and CoCo’s for breakfast !

    Chris and all our enthusiastic Readers,
    Ty M. was great with the customers as well. He interacted with them much more than Ron B. did. After the lunch rush was over, he always found something to do like defrosting the Traulsen unit or cleaning the walk in cooler. In this respect we were not alike.

    My very first visit to Las Vegas was to rescue Ty. Our night shift was finishing up on the closing procedures when Wally Roga got a phone call from Ty who was in Vegas. I do not remember the reason why Ty needed
    help. It may have been a car break down or he needed money.
    Whatever, Wally asked me and one other closer ( Jerry W. ? ) to join him and help out with gas money. Sure , count us in !
    Once in Vegas, we hooked up with Ty and he and Wally resolved his problem. We played 10 or 20 dollars on BJ and Roulette, and then left within an hour for the long drive back to Culver City. I hope Randy Ewing was the one who opened the next morning.

    Speaking of Randy, I have been shopping the internet sites for HO scale cars to go on the Woody’s CC parking lot. What do you know?
    I just bought an HO 1964 Mustang in the exact dark green color Randy owned. This particular HO model has a white racing stripe painted on the hood, but I can easily over paint that.
    I was not intending to do interior details for the store, but I have decided to install the tables along the front of the store, the fireplace, and the full length counter. ( all visible from the front of the diorama. )

    In addition to Ty, we need to get Steve Dabbs here as well.
    Our comment count would swell to the 750 range very easily.
    Phil A.

  • cpingel says:

    There were only two driveway entrances. The front off Sepulveda and the rear into the alley by the now closed fire station. I had to think about that. When I went to the EPL there today I looked where there might have been a driveway onto Berryman and saw no sign of what would have been a driveway.
    The fire station has been closed for over a year. We offered to buy it so we could tear it down and add another parking lot, but the city said that side of the alley wasn’t zoned for commercial use. Too bad, we could have used the extra parking. The property is still for sale.
    I always thought the flag bracket where we put the flag was facing Sepulveda near the front door, because with the overhang that was originally there it wouldn’t have fit under and even with the overhang that was still over the front door, I don’t think it would have fit so I really think it was on the front.
    Ty was a great guy and always appreciated our hard work. we also had fun together. It would be fun if he could join the site.
    Take care,

  • Phil A. says:

    This should be a memory teaser and the very last CC property detail I will ask for;

    Every morning at Woody’s CC, the American flag was brought out to the front entrance and unfurled by the Opening Man.
    I need help in remembering on which side ( East or West ) of the front door
    was the flag located.

    So ……. if you were standing outside with your back to the Bank of America
    and you were approaching the Woody’s front door, would the flag be on your left ( fire station side) or on your right ( the Sepulveda Blvd. side ) ?

    On days I opened with Ty M. , he would place the flag pole in it’s bracket, then take a few steps back and salute. I pray all is well with you Ty.

  • Phil A. says:

    Gary Wilcut,
    I was sorting through my HO scale die cast cars, and lo and behold ………
    a 1952 Hudson Hornet. !! The color is a pastel sage green.
    I will have to park this baby right out front.

  • Phil A. says:

    Was it 2 or was it 3 ? ………….
    After Chris described his front patio conversion and the Bonsai gardens, I began to question my memory of the number of driveway access points to the CC property. Remember this is regarding the time period of the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s.

    Of course there were the two main driveway aprons, one by the big roadside sign to service Sepulveda traffic and the other at the very rear of the store by the firehouse.
    The question; Was there also a driveway at the front corner of the store that opened up to service Berrymen Ave.
    For the life of me, I cannot remember if there was a driveway or if this area was part of the Bonsai gardens.

    Also I am trying to learn the color combo of the Patman Prime Meats trucks. I remember white trucks with red lettering.
    Can someone confirm ?
    For those who I have bored with my requests for property details, todays posting should be the end of it.
    Who wants to discuss Salsa again ?

  • Phil A. says:

    Congratulations Chris on your recent posting which was number 475 !!!

    This Woody’s SmorgasBurger site is now within reach of TWO important benchmarks; A most remarkable #500 spot, plus the impending change over to the new ” Woody’s SmorgasBurger III ”

    One day when I have nothing else to do, I may run the total number of comments from all the other restaurants combined and see how the math works out.

    I seem to recall a story from many, many years ago how Steve Dabbs hooked up with another ex Woody’s man who had become very successful in the wholesale T shirt business. It sounded like Steve was a tri state regional manager for the firm. THIS IS NOT GOSPEL .
    Anyway …… Yes, I have always heard only nice words for Steve.

    Enjoy the weekend.

  • chris p says:

    The ideas came form both of us.
    One of the first things we did in El Segundo was put in French fries. He initiated that. This happened very soon after we took over. I think I probably already mentioned this quite some time ago.
    Every time either one of us would have an idea we would talk about it and decide yes or no.
    We became very close, and it was a great pleasure working with him.
    One afternoon he came by #1 and I showed him some beef ribs we’d prepared. We were sitting at one of the tables in the back dining room when I picked up my first rib loaded with BBQ sauce. It fell out of my hand and rolled down my shirt,. What a mess. I was so embarrassed, but we both got a big laugh out of it.
    We did start selling ribs after that.
    On another note,Steve Dabbs, I believe, had games at Westwood too.
    He was a great operator as well. Lots of ideas. He was a great guy.
    I had the salad bar till we closed the store in the mid eighties.
    Later, Chris

  • Phil A. says:

    As I am finishing up on my plans and notes for the model of CC, I kept thinking there was something significant which I was overlooking.
    Your posting this morning provided the answer; The Bonsai Gardens.
    I have looked at all the web sites for HO Bonsai trees with no luck.
    I then contacted the biggest hobby store in Columbus and they looked up all their vendor sites, again with no luck.
    I cannot give up on this as it was such a signature piece of landscaping.

    Also, I am now offering 25 dollars for a copy of your photo which features the back of your Woody’s CC store. ( This would be for a mailed copy, not one sent via the net as my photo system does not do well for some reason, )

    So thrilled you had the premonition to include your sentence about the Bonsai trees. Amen !

  • Phil A. says:

    Ah, for the days of Woody’s SmorgasBurger !
    As always, these new revelations from Chris regarding his changes at the CC store just amaze me. Having the arcade games at CC ties in with the recent comments I found about the Figueroa Street store having them in 1976. The front patio and salad bar were great additions.

    Chris, in 1972 when you and Mr. Cramer were on your own, did you pitch new ideas to him or did Mr. Cramer come up with his own ideas as well.
    I can just picture the two of you sitting at a table having a meeting to discuss your latest ” brain storms. ” Such fun for a 26 year old !
    Thanks for the confirmation on the ” Berrymen Ave. Walls “.
    Question for Chris on the salad bars: Everyone and his brother who had a food service operation put in salad bars. Everyone loved them and all of sudden they were all gone. Did the food cost ratio prove to be too high ?
    Or was it some other reason ?


  • chrisp says:

    They were for privacy not for wind gusts. The sliding glass doors could be closed if it got too windy. I never had a problem with wind.
    I forgot to mention in all my comments but not too long after we took over Woodys in 1971 or 1972 we opened up the front of the building and put a very large patio with a large rectangular fire pit in the middle and many redwood picnic tables. We had about a 4 foot wooden wall with a glass top. This patio went fro the front of the building to where the front gardens were. We kept all the very large bonsai trees and gardens to surround the patio. It was very nice and people used it a lot, especially in the summer.
    I have no pictures of it, though. I still can’t locate the pictures I have of the rear of the building.
    Also, when video games were all the rage we put a wall up in the rear of the dining room and put in an arcade with video games and pinball machines, so the look of the interior changed for awhile.
    We, at one time, had a salad bar in the dining room, which I loved and so did the customers. Everything was fresh everyday.
    These were all things, plus more, that we did to keep up with the competition.
    I was going to put beer and wine in at one time but the City put so many conditions on me that it just wasn’t worth it.
    I did put beer and wine in at the El Segundo store #7. That was good, especially when the Raiders were in El Segundo. I was the first to put in satellite in E.S. too I carried all the Raiders games and Sundays we were so busy with local fans. We had 4TV’s. The beer flowed big time and the people just loved it. Me too.
    When the Raiders first moved to E.S. We used to cater to them regularly. All the guys would want to deliver so they could see the players.
    Al Davis would order 2 king size Swedish burgers for himself. This was aa fun time. Too bad they moved back to Oakland.
    Anyway, hoped you enjoyed this little bit of information.
    Take Care, All.

  • Phil A. says:

    Confirm or Deny,

    This never before discussed issue is for the guys who worked at Woody’s
    Culver City. I am writing in regard to the short brick walls which were located at the East and West ends of the dining room section that ran parallel to Berryman Ave. The brick walls are about 7 feet high by 10 feet long. It is a separate EXTERIOR wall that can be seen in our Original Woody’s photo which is used as a header on this site.

    The photo shows some type of greenery or vines that were trained to grow up the walls and that is how I remember them too.
    When working at the CC store I thought the walls were there to provide a degree of privacy at the East and West corners.

    But while I have working on the diorama plans, it occurred to me that the walls were in place as a wind breaker system. At each corner of the
    ” Berrymen Dining Room ” was a very large screened panel for letting in fresh air. To close it off was a large glass sliding door, just like you have at home. Anyway, I am thinking if the walls were not there, you could have many ferocious wind gusts ripping through that section of the dining area.
    And your answer is ?


  • Phil A. says:

    I used the map sites to find your Woody’s Westwood store location and the current parking lot. Question; Where did the employees park. Were you on your own or did Mr. Wood and Mr. Dabbs provide parking passes?
    In any case, parking fees were yet another business expense.

  • Phil A. says:

    Welcome back Marshall. Nice recap on the several issues.
    The Woody’s CC diorama will be constructed as the store stood in 1965, so it is without the carport. With all the cars, trucks and people that I plan to have on the lot, I could re-enact just about anything. My current goal is to re-enact the Anniversary 2 for 1 Sale. When completed, I’ll have to through some real burger patties on the fry pan to add the sense of authentic smell.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Haven’t posted here in a while. Need to ketchup… (LOL)

    Responding to posts by / date / time:

    Mark J. Feb.10th 10:40AM
    That was probably me that mentioned something about the employee at the Redondo location who owned the Lotus Europa. After working at Woodys Westwood one night (in 1970 I believe), a co-worker who previously worked there and I drove over. I was a car nut at the age of 18 and was immediately impressed with Evan Zang’s Europa. I knew what it was, but had never been near one. (For those unfamiliar, it was a mid-engined coupe, very advanced for the time.) The guys at Redondo impressed me with their ‘coolness’.

    Phil A April 7th, 1:15PM
    Re: current status of former Woody’s locations….
    You had a question mark on the Westwood Village location. Sadly, the entire building is gone. A parking lot next door to the south expanded into the space. The Westwood location was not purpose-built to be a Woody’s. Was probably a clothing store or some-such in a former life (I was probably told at some point when I was there, but that info’s gone now..).

    Dick Roletta, April 12th, 9:48AM
    Airport Village…….
    I remember it very well. In fact, one of my oldest memories, with me being about 4 years old, was travelling from our house on Coolidge St. in Culver City to Airport Village one evening in dad’s ’48 Dodge. Somehow, during the evenings festivities, I broke off the door lock key to the Dodge in the right door lock cylinder….. This would have been around 1955.

    Phil A., April 13th, 11:07AM
    Re: Diorama, trucks
    Phil – are you going to do the diorama of the #1 Woody’s with the carport-structure over the driveway, or without? For those who don’t remember, there was an extension of the roof structure that spanned the drive-through area to he rear parking lot. (This was right where the front door was). Well one day, a slightly too-tall milk truck tried to go under this structure, instead of going around to the right. Much damage ensued, and eventually the structure was taken down. That was my dad in the milk truck.

    Phil – maybe you can do a re-enactment?

  • Mark Thorson says:

    Ah, the chemical was sulfite, banned in 1986 because it provoked allergic reactions in some asthmatics.


    Not dangerous to the rest of us, but a good reason to ban it.

  • Phil A. says:

    I’m in the mood for a Matterhorn !
    Plan details for the Woody’s diorama are coming along very nicely.
    I have decided to feature a particular day of the year in the life of Woody’s
    Culver City. The day is ; the ” Woody’s 2 for 1 Anniversary Sale ! “.
    Making the banner will be a snap, but I am wondering how many HO scale figurines I should use in forming the long line of customers across the front of the store and back. Hell, it may take 50 or 60 !

    Question for Chris; About how many parking spots were available at Woody’s #1 ? How does this compare to the current parking space requirements for a EPL unit?
    If you cannot locate the pic of the back walls of CC, perhaps you can draw me a diagram and send it to me. I hope you took a drafting class at St. Ber nard’s. Please advise. Thank you.

  • Gary Wilcut says:

    I remember Hamberger Handout well from my early teenage years. My father worked in downtown L.A. and would come home on the bus to Westchester where I would meet him at the Sepulveda and La Tiejera bus stop. Every Friday, which was pay day, my father would pack our family into the family’s 1952 Hudson Hornet, which Chris P may remember, and would drive us down the hill on Sepulveda BLVD to Hamberger Hamlet. I would order 2 – .19 cent hambergers, fries and a chocolate malt.
    This was a highlight of my life those 1950’s days.

    Thanks for the memories Dick.

  • ChrisP. says:

    If I’m correct the stuff we used to use, I think, was called Veggie White.
    It was banned many years ago by the FDA for some reason.
    There may be a substitute but I haven’t heard of any.
    Most of the produce we use now is prepared and sealed in air tight bags so we don’t have a problem if we use it by the expiration date, which we do.

  • Mark Thorson says:

    The “medicine” added to the water to keep the salad from rusting was almost certainly citric acid or vitamin C. Both are antioxidants, which will stop the oxidation that causes the color change (especially in lettuce). Both are totally harmless.

  • Phil A. says:

    While I look for an HO scale Vespa, why not list a couple of car models that you used to drive to the CC store during the early 70’s ?
    I want to try and include one in the diorama. This thing is beginning to take on a life of it’s own.

  • Phil A. says:

    Ah, the ” block house”. The name sounds a little sinister, like a holding cell.
    I have been devoting much time to the Woody’s diorama and am now working on the Rykoff truck. I expected this one to be the most difficult and what do you know, it has been the easiest. That’s way it is in model making.

    I have been using the net to gather photos, etc. of the Rykoff trucks and I ran across several quips written about how the drivers were teased about the motto painted on each truck; ” Enjoy Life, Eat Out More Often ”
    I guess they really got the business when stopped at a red light.

    The ” block house” is going to fit perfectly in the diorama. I am thrilled.
    By the way, all this is being done in HO scale ( 1/87 ).
    The total dimensions for the parking lot ( front, rear, and sides) measures
    12 inches by 15 inches.

    Chris, I enjoyed the story of your one man show at #7. Well done !

    Well I am off to give this truck it’s appropriate ” pea soup green ” paint job.
    I am having a hell of a lot of fun!
    Phil A.

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    D-I-Y Sundae Bar crushed nuts used by some of us for Smorgasburgers along with Thousand Island: Am I presuming correctly they were ‘plain’ peanuts such as you’d get in a baggie of Planter’s? What did the supply for them, the cherries, marshmallow come in, e.g. a tin can? I just can’t picture how ‘we’d’ resupply those bowls. Was there a cabinet underneath or different at Red.-Holly Riv vs. CC?
    Lettuce: I remember salad being soaked in water that had some “medicine” in it to prevent rusting. Thought it strange that didn’t happen before it came to us. Was that ever found to be hazardous?
    I looked up the CC now being an EPL…blew my mind that it was on a corner of a street vs in the middle of a block, even tho only subbed once in a while. Presume this is correct? http://tinyurl.com/ohzg8fq
    Diorama: sounds exciting. Feel free to have my light blue Vespa parked in the back…LOL If I’m correct I think the Red./Holly Riv. manager, Chrisman circa ’63, had a Vette. Maybe he’d visit CC for a meeting? Otherwise, per what’s been said previously, you might have half the lot filled with “classic” cars.
    Today, everyone is taking pics with their cell phones or digital cameras and we sadly have nothing from days of yore except often fuzzy memories…LOL

  • ChrisP. says:


    The shed, which we called the block house, had lockers in it and we used it for changing etc.
    I kind of remember having the ice cream freezer there also, but not sure.
    The block house was there till the Woody’s was dismantled in 1985. It had to go to make way for the drive thru of our EPL.
    What Dick see’s in that area is our trash compactor which is close to where the block house used to stand. It’s enclosed by a brick wall. next to the drive thru lane.
    As for school buses or , in my case, tour buses, I remember one afternoon around 4 or so. In our El Segundo Store #7, I had let everyone go because everything was prepped for dinner and the night shift would be on soon. Normally that would be no problem for myself. Well one afternoon after everyone was gone except for our busboy a tour bus stopped in front with about 40 people in it. I had to handle it by myself. Thank God most had just regular Smorgasburgers and salads etc or I might have really had a problem. I took as many orders as I could , then put the items on the grill told them to slide to their left and I’d get their drinks and ring them up. Then I’d go back and take a few more orders and do the same thing. Well, I got thru it and everyone was happy and I got a nice tip.
    Anyway, you just never know.
    Have a nice day everyone,

  • Phil A. says:

    Who would have thought the Rolling Stones and the Ford Mustang would outlive Woody’s SmorgasBurger ?

  • Phil A. says:

    Which style of roof does the CC shed have, flat or A style? Thanks.

  • Phil A. says:

    Amazing to learn from Dick that the Woody’s CC shed is still there.
    If we ever have a reunion, I want it to be held at the shed.
    It will definitely be in the diorama !

  • Dick Roletta says:

    The shed is still there but I don’t know how El Polo Loco uses it.

  • Phil A. says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but my first 4 months on the job at Woody’s CC involved hitch hiking too and from Playa del Rey.
    The average wait per ride was not long at all, but I do remember two rides which were very scary indeed. Both ended safely. I was the happiest guy when my landlady loaned me the money to buy my first car which was a 57 Ford Skyliner like Gary’s. Having the car to get to work seemed like cutting my shift in half. I think the travel distance in from Baldwin Hill would have been about the same as from PDR.

    When I hired in there was a small shed in the back of the Woody’s lot which was used by the guys to change into their uniforms.
    Question for Chris; Did that shed remain forever, or at some point did you have it dismantled? I am trying to decide if I should include it in the diorama layout.

    For all Readers; Did a school or tour bus ever pull in and download a large group of patrons ? Never happened on my shifts.

  • Dick Roletta says:

    Phil don’t forget a truck for Abbot Foods who supplied the salad dressing for Woody’s in your diorama. My parents and I lived in the Baldwin Hills Village from 1941 till the dam broke in the sixties. When we moved there, across the street in a large field the US Army Air Force was training British pilots using Spitfires. I used to watch them dog fight. Hamburger handout sold hamburgers for 19 cents, French fries for 10 cents, and malts for 15 cents. Went there alot but never as good as Woody’s.

  • Phil A. says:

    The only facts I can add is that Jim Collins was a major player at this Village location. He owned the Hamburger Handout and the KFC. Sometime later Jim bought out the folks who originated the Sizzler and closed the Handouts. Jim was also offered the master area franchise for KFC which covered most of LA county and perhaps Orange county as well.

    Jim Collins forgot about hamburgers and grew his KFC and Sizzler stores
    into a fantastically successful and lucrative operation.
    Jim went public at some point with his Collins Foods International.
    I have read that Jim and his wife ” gave back ” to the Culver City area
    with multi million dollar contributions to different charities.
    Well done Jim Collins !!! I suspect Jim and Ralph Wood knew each other quite well because of their close proximity and their membership in the different restaurant associations.

    Other guys who lived in the local area ( Dick R., Marshall L., Gary W.
    and Steve C. ) probably patronized the AV and should have more comments to post.
    Phil A.

  • Chris P. says:

    I remember that as”The village kitchens”
    I believe there was a Sizzler there also.
    Hamburger handout, maybe KFC too, one of the first in California,I think there was a Mexican place too, maybe that was Tito’s but not sure.
    I lived above in Westchester. This was all so long ago so my memory might be playing tricks on me.
    I believe that corner was owned by Leonard’s the same people that owned the Leonard’s store in El Segundo. on Sepulveda.
    Maybe Phil can look up some facts on these things.
    Take Care,
    Chris p.

  • Phil A. says:

    This summer will be my 50th anniversary marking the date I hired in at
    Woody’s Culver City. ( Chris P. too ! )
    Anyway, in honor of this time and place, I am now laying out plans to construct a miniature diorama of the Woody’s CC location including the full parking lot. I am making it a point to feature very detailed trucks
    which delivered the meats and provisions. Do to space, I need to limit the number of delivery trucks to four. So, I selected Patman’s Prime Meats,
    S.E. Rykoff & Co. , Barbara Ann Bakery and Corsaro Produce.
    All trucks will be painted in the appropriate colors with correct script and lettering colors.

    As I proceed to make notes and drawings, I am surprising myself as to how much I do remember. I am very lucky to have Chris Pingel as a consultant for the issues which I am unsure of.

    The giant original roadside sign ( 1956 thru 1967 ) will be a test for me.
    I will not attempt to replicate that sign right away, but will use artistic license to come close for the time being.

    If all goes as well as I hope, I will provide photos to any of you who might be interested.

    Wishing you all a great summer.
    Phil Ankofsi

  • Phil A. says:

    Dick R.
    Why not write a few paragraphs and share what you remember about A.V.
    Also, when you were working at Woody’s, did your family live in the immediate area ?

  • Phil A. says:

    Wasn’t the Village the pre historic version of our modern day mall food courts? I myself had never patronized the area which I understand had the Hamburger Handout and Tito’s Tacos as tenants.
    It must have been a great place for girl watching and first dates.
    Of course when Woody’s SmorgasBurger came on the scene ( just down the road ), young couples had a brand new dating venue to enjoy.

  • Dick Roletta says:

    Anyone remember Airport Village? This was before Woody’s.

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Thanks Phil! I didn’t know that!
    Amazing in light of the ‘product’ (using the ‘in’ term as ‘they’ say today, LOL) that Woody’s (and…ahem…. of course his well chosen staff) had to offer, those ‘northern’ places didn’t take root!
    ~ It always amazed me visiting back home in MA in the ’70s-’90s how limited, if at all ‘fast foods’ like even Mickey Ds had not taken ahold.
    ~ Except for exceptions of “it” being the right time n place, I can imagine it is one challenging business to try to survive in. Without attempting to disrespect anyone’s views herein, I can’t imagine what a 10:10 minimum wage might do today to entrepreneurial wannabees or franchisees of places. Yes, it was eons ago, but I appreciated my buck thirty-two (sans a Tip Jar! LOL) given where I was in life (despite a BA) and what I had to offer in fair exchange. (Alas, I’ve always had a yen to open a fine dining/gourmet restaurant as experienced in days of yore, e.g. Scandias, Lawry’s, Chasen’s, the Brown Derby, Trader Vic’s and even the ‘tropical’ place down the street in Redondo’s Hollywood Riv around ’62, but wouldn’t dare in today’s environment. Indeed…Thank gawd…folks like Mr. Woods had more huevos than I…LOL!)

  • Phil A. says:

    For Bob in NM;

    Yes , those northern units did exist for a very, very short life of about two years. Time frame was within 1962/1967.
    Those stores were operated separately under an agreement with IHOP which lasted for five years.

    I have mentioned this IHOP group of stores in previous postings but with very little detail as I have never talked with or heard from anyone who owned one of the franchises. Several of us would like to learn the overall reasons for their short life.

    Phil A.

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Yo Phil! Thanks for the “location status” of several Woody’s.

    Yo, don’t mean to badger Y’all and everyone for the 3rd time, but what gives with this person’s claim about Woody’s being ‘up the coast’? Was there a Woody’s in Sacramento and Oakland etc. as reported here http://www.agilitynut.com/eateries/aframe3.html ???? Might you make a correction if that wasn’t the case? If not, and it IS incorrect, I’d be happy to try to correct the error!

  • Phil A. says:

    In case you are interested, here is a location status for some of the Woody’s units I know about;
    Culver City; El Pollo Loco since 1986
    Redondo Beach; Rock and Brew since 2013
    Gardina; Vacant restaurant ( original structure )
    Los Angeles #4 ; Del Taco
    Los Angeles #6; Cleared lot with sculpture
    El Segundo; IHOP Pancake House ( original structure ) since 2005
    Woodland Hills; ??
    Westwood; ??
    Admiral Risty; Still cookin and in it’s 48th year !! ( original interior )
    Orange ; ??
    Tustin; ??

  • Phil A. says:

    Jimmy C. must have been attracted by the Woody’s sign which had the company slogan ; ” for mountainous appetites “.

  • Dennis Ralph says:

    Back in the sixties Use to go to woody’s after surfing the north bay, would down two king Swedes two fries and all the other stuff, had a friend by the name of Jimmy Clevenger who could down four king swedes at one sitting! It never got any better than that!

Recent Comments