Woody’s Smorgasburger IV

The legendary Woody’s Smorgasburger chain continues to attract so much attention that we can’t contain all its messages in one forum.  Visit the others to read what has been said but post your new comments in this thread.

417 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger IV

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

    Yo Phil A/Anyone…..Hope my reflections of June 2nd and 7th in regard to my curiosity of what might have motivated Woody as he began to explore growing The Brand, weren’t too vexing and that you are mulling over your possible insights. LOL
    I think many, not all, Folks might start out one way in their entrepreneurial endeavors, and certain bio-chemical excitations kick in with success whereby the trip (getting the financing, modifying/creating a whole new design, working new deals with building contractors/purveyors, etc.) along the way becomes more important/fulfilling/satisfying than the destination (e.g. another Woody’s building in Riverside etc.) I.e. people become e.g. dopamine/adrenaline junkies? Elsewise, “everyday” People often express being flummoxed by The Rich, e.g. how much money will it take to make you happy? They fail to understand/experience it is no longer The Money! Its got nothing to do with Greed! While Folks like to espouse “We’re all created equal!”….in actuality, we ain’t through No Fault of Our Own. Did you ever have a two dollar bet on the Pass Line qualify for 10X Odds and then build up 3 two dollar bets with odds Coming on the crap table that start to pay off especially when you are down to your last 8 dollars of your budgeted gambling money?!!! (Ya right, today you can find a table with a 2 buck minimum!) OK…didn’t ya ever hit a Royal Straight Flush on a 25 cent poker machine? OK OK! didn’t ya ever find a parking meter with an hour left and get a “rush”? I.e. many Folk, never experience a psychophysiological “feeling” that comes with such things which makes it hard to understand the mover/shakers of the world, whereby they may end up ascribe malintent to them….Oh, maybe JFK was and Trump is a case in point.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Saturday ~ A 25 minute video featuring the Admiral Risty ~

    While perusing the net for additional details on the Admiral Risty, I discovered a 25 minute video which was made at the 50th year celebration.
    Go to the UTube site ; ” Admiral Risty 50th anniversary. ”

    The date posted for the video is February 10, 2016. I do not know why this party was held so early in the year because the official opening was in October, 1966. Anyway, I am now wondering if anyone we know was invited
    to this celebration. I kept looking for Chris Pingel and his wife to show up.

    Two of Ralph’s children ( Sara and Eric ) are featured with short interviews.
    The current owner ( Wane Judah ) is on camera a lot while sharing many interesting details. It is fun to see all the old codgers coming on camera to rave about their favorite restaurant and menu items.

    No one was talking about the beverages and cocktails, and I might know why.
    The Risty in all of it’s 50 years was never known for ” generous ” pours coming from the bartenders. In fact, I have heard the drinks described as
    ” baby drinks ! ”

    All in all, it looks like the party guests were having a great time and this video allowed me a high degree of enjoyment as well.
    I did learn one important fact. The Risty will open during daytime hours to host gatherings such as weddings, meetings, card games, etc.
    I always thought the Risty should be open for lunch to the public everyday.
    What do I know ?

    Summer is a week away…… have a great one !

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

    Ha ha RE my June 2nd comment: just read paragraph 3 of Mark’s “bio” of Red Tracton http://oldlarestaurants.com/tractons/ which kinda reflected on my wondering, e.g. http://tinyurl.com/q45n8b5 ,about what was the underpinning of Woody’s “expansions”. Did they know one another by chance?

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

    I just passed on a menu http://tinyurl.com/y9jsurnn (click to enlarge) for a place called Sorrentino’s out Burbank way which was apparently a go-to, plush place for Folks in the movie-TV industries. Several days ago, I passed on a similar menu for Scandia’s an in place on Sunset Strip for e.g. Sinatra for a time.
    Du..Uh, in looking at the prices…e.g. a Filet < $5, how the heck did Woody draw that kind of competition to ever save enough to 'expand'?
    Was generating another Woody's site an End in itself or just one of the checkers (via credit?) in a financial board game?
    Eh! Your turn…roll those dice!

  • Evan Zang says:

    Good Luck Chris! EPL rules!

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Thursday ~ Advance notice for some upcoming fun in Los Angeles ~

    I just learned from the hot wire that the El Pollo Loco restaurant chain will be resuming their long time running ” Grill Master Challenge “.
    This contest is focused on the EPL employees who man the giant flame
    broiling grills in the nearly 500 units in the Southwest. The grill person who does the best job of preparing the chicken, broiling to perfection and then having the best presentation will be deemed the ” #1 Grill Master ”

    Elimination rounds are being held in May and June and the final winner will be selected on July 11 , 2017 ( a Tuesday ).
    The final contest location is 521 N. 1st street ~ Burbank. (store will be open )

    This is no small deal my friends. There are BIG $$$$$ prizes plus there will be lots of fun watching the previous winners take on the newer rookies.
    This is the first year the Challenge will be open to the public to witness,
    ( NOT to participate ). Anyway, this is why I am broadcasting this news.
    Our own Chris Pingel is a multi/multi store owner/operator so of course we need to be rooting for his guys or gals.

    My posting here relates to Woody’s in a very big way. As most of you know, Chris worked for Mr. Wood in the early 70s and then purchased the two remaining stores in late 1978. ~ So , it will be fun to think of Mr. Wood looking down on his still active protégé.

    Many in this group are no longer in the area ( no quakes for us ! ) so come mid July , we will have to ask Chris to give us the official updates.
    This Grill Master Challenge will be a welcome respite from all the Com Cons and baseball games.

    Have a great summer !

  • Evan Zang says:

    Bob, looking at the picture you posted where Woody’s used to stand in Redondo actually made me feel a little sad. That area used to be so ridiculously cool and unpretentious. Now it looks like every other high end tourist beach town.

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

    This August, KISS’ Rock & Brews will be open 3 years here in Albuquerque. Looks like a beautiful/fun setting for gathering of Folks for some brewskis and burgers (including our indigenous Green Chile Cheeseburger) and other Yum Yums, but its weird (neurotic?) that my heart ain’t into stop in. I guess it was the shock of seeing what they built on the footprint of Woody’s HollyWood Riv (aka Redondo) http://tinyurl.com/lwd3twt especially seeing the high ceiling, the picnic tables (albeit larger and redesigned ones), and the floor to ceiling windows facing north as was Woody’s http://tinyurl.com/lybso46 . Can’t imagine what it must be like in real time going by there if ya live out there, let alone CC and El S.
    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself.
    Each is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thine own
    Or of thine friend’s were.
    Each man’s death diminishes me,
    For I am involved in mankind.
    Therefore, send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee.
    http://tinyurl.com/mtgdfa6 (Whoa! I read the book the summer of my sophmore year!)

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    RE: A portion of Phil’s post on April 27th:

    “~ Working with Willie : William was the long time opening bus boy and prep man. He was a study in slow motion for sure. He was so slow moving around the dining room or in the kitchen, and yet so damn efficient. Not one wasted step.”

    I also had the honor of working with Willie for a while around 1970 or 71 when he came to the Westwood location for a short while.

    Willie was a man who worked hard for his family. Woody’s wasn’t his only job – I seem to recall him mentioning a couple of other restaurant jobs he was working the same time he was with us. Gave him a ride home to South L.A. a few times in my Corvair.

    As you said, Willie was slow, but he certainly got the job done. I enjoyed working with him.

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

    While not Methodist, but in the Spirit of being Ecumenical and “Catholic (i.e. http://tinyurl.com/keuy65j“, Congrats & Kudos to the Lovedays for their many years of success starting out here: http://tinyurl.com/l5s7qpf !

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    OK, a little personal El Segundo trivia for you all……..
    On a rainy Saturday, January 19, 1974, my bride and I were married at the El Segundo United Methodist Church on Main St. Church is still there, and we are still ‘we’. And there were a couple of Woody’s employees in attendance……

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Thursday ~ Memories at age 71 ……..

    I would like to join Chris in sharing a few memories of my own.

    ~ Woody’s #1 , the Culver City store: The Annual 2 for 1 Sale which was held one spring day each year. A lot of work and a whole lot of fun.
    ~ Gathering after closing in the back parking lot. Just standing around shooting the breeze till 1 or 2 AM. No alcohol , just Lyons root beer.

    ~ Woody’s #7 , El Segundo : Working with Bob Anderson and the crew I inherited. They all made my managers job so easy. One could not believe it.
    ~ The December, 1966 Christmas season. The crew and customers were all in a fabulous frame of mind. Never experienced anything else like it since.

    ~ Woody’s #2 , Redondo Beach : The Saturdays in summertime. Everyone has a favorite place to go and people watch. Well , for me, it was like getting paid to come to work at the cash register station and watch all the lovely
    bikini clad girls come in with their friends.
    ~ Working with Willie : William was the long time opening bus boy and prep man. He was a study in slow motion for sure. He was so slow moving around the dining room or in the kitchen, and yet so damn efficient. Not one wasted step.

    ~ The Admiral Risty : Watching Mr. Wood stressing himself out in mid 1966
    at our monthly managers meetings. Mr.Wood was so concerned about his ability to hire an honest beverage manager for the Risty. He himself had no direct bar tending experience, but was very aware that there were methods a dishonest bar tender could use to rip him off.
    The Admiral Risty opened in October, 1966 with much fanfare. As the months came and went, there were several personal changes but they could have occurred for many reasons which is normal of course.

    ~ The Carvery: Mr. Wood was really hot to join the roast beef venues.
    However the location he chose in Woodland Hills was all wrong for too many reasons. The store folded in less than three months, then converted to a SmorgasBurger store.

    The above list is made up of the stores I had direct experience with.
    There were several other units around Los Angeles and in Orange County which I was not familiar with.

    That’s it for today. Such fun here.

  • Chris Pingel says:

    Well we used to say about El Segundo “Where the smog meets the Fog”
    Actually, El Segundo is a very nice little city.
    Our 7th Woodys was built in El,Segundo in 1963. The original one was built in Culver City in 1956.
    The El Segundo Woody’s, we call #7, was one of the higher volumn stores due to all the aero space surrounding it. The lunches were always very busy Monday thru Friday. Weekend were just ok.
    In the 80’s when the Raiders were located in El Segundo, very close to Woodys, our Sunday sales were out of sight because we were the first to Have satellite tv and were able to get all thier games on Sundays and since we put in TV’s and sold beer and wine we were jammed all during the games. it was an exciting time for Woodys. We used to deliver food to the Raiders facility regularly. We always had lots of volunteers to deliver because you would see some or all of the team or Al Davis. He loved the King Swiss, a half pound burger with swiss cheese. He would always order 2.
    If anyone has any questions or wants to share information about the Woody’s chain feel free to join oour conversation.
    Thanks for the interest.
    Chris P.

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

    RE El Segundo. It means The Second.
    But, the second of what?
    Amongst some, it was translated as The Stink due to the smell of the refinery tank field. One might wonder, like the smell, if that negative slang lingers to this day and the City Mamas & Papas might do better to change its name to Sepulveda as more ‘romantic’.

  • Phil A. says:

    ~ Monday , midnight ~ You never know ! …….

    Very often while at this Woody’s site, I get vibes that Gary Wilcut is around here reading this stuff. Gary was with the CC store in 62/63 and maybe a bit of 64. Anyway Gary, type a few sentences and let us know you are okay.
    You are missed !

  • Phil A. says:

    ~ Sunday ~ a day off please ……….

    A much more accurate translation for ” The Flying Chicken ” restaurant at LAX is ” El Pollo Volador “. It even sounds better.

    Sunday was the quiet day at the Woody’s stores. Friday and Saturdays always
    posted sales of $ 1,050.00 each day, while Sunday sales came in at $500.00.
    This was during the mid to late 1960’s.

    Sunday was usually the managers day off so the assistant managers and yellow shirt supervisors got to run the show on both shifts.
    That was great experience for 19 and 20 year olds as it built self confidence very fast.

    Several of you guys have been traveling about the world these past months seeing London , Yellowstone Park , the Ozarks, and Hawaii.
    Thank you all for sharing photos and your travel updates.
    Wishes for safe travels home.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Saturday 3 ~ What do you guys think about this ?

    I have learned via the Daily Breeze that the El Segundo city fathers are about to change the name of Sepulveda Blvd. to Pacific Coast Highway.
    They feel this sounds more romantic since El Segundo is the gateway to the South Bay even though not included in it.

    At first I was put off , mostly because I dread changes of any kind.
    If Manhattan Beach were to go along, it would make more sense.
    The LAX airport property probably would stick with Sepulveda since it
    is in Boss Angeles.

    I now wonder if my 51 year old Woody’s El Segundo business cards will become collectors items.

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