Woody’s Smorgasburger IV

This forum has gotten too big so I’m closing it to further postings. Feel free to respond to anything here but do it over on Woody’s Smorgasburger V.

596 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger IV

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Thanks to Bob and Phil A for filling in some of those blanks. Of course, much of it remains fuzzy to me. For example, I can’t remember the type of container (bowl or cup) that the soup was served in. Seems like the glass partition was wide enough at the bottom to allow plenty of room either way since those romaine (?) leaves in the salad bowls stuck up a bit and there was no problem passing them onto the tray. Oyster crackers? Yeah, think you’re right, Bob. At least I can easily visualize them there. Croutons too? Didn’t we add or offer those on the salads? And thanks to you both for clarification on the Matterhorn/Kaiser roll thing. We must have gotten the middle slice of bread by slicing the roll twice as you stated. And I know you’re right about dinners getting the Kaiser rolls, but did that mean one plate would get the top and another plate the bottom?

    Returning to the condiment section, I now agree with Bob that sweet pickles were not offered. But I’ve since recalled that I think green pickle relish was since it’s something many people like to put on hot dogs. Good point regarding the aerosol whipped cream, haha. So, it probably wasn’t ever there, but my mind was trying to fit it in somewhere.

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

    – OMG! and WTEh? I’m seeing ads this week for http://tinyurl.com/ydhogfa4 Didn’t they always have 1/4#ers? Are their AdMen just figuring a whole generation of Folks have died off and they can lure Newbies in using the word “NEW” instead of “Going Retro!”? If not 1/4#s before, and not being into Mickey D’s, were they just 2oz patties before? Weren’t ours 1/4; 1/3; 1/2? Yo, I’m not a Steak Tartare type of guy, but how can many chains pass off two 1/4 on a bun as approaching anything with the nuanced burgery taste/feel a GrillMaster can attain with a bit of pinkish on the inside?
    – Whoa Phil A.! BitterSweet! reading that Steinke’s attempt at Nut Burger was a dud! T’was one of the saddest things I’ve read herein given how popular adding chopped nuts from the D-I-Y-Sundae condiment bar was. Alas, while the name was creatively targeting and using the KISS principle, there are too many weird conjurings that come to mind. Lest I be wrong, it was a very competative era with many burger shoppes coming on line. Never the less, I still think it be a great idea…maybe today?
    – Ok, now I must stop my Blathering. Some wrens are screeching for me to put seed atop tree posts while I can also enjoy the intoxicating aroma of Honeysuckle amongst whose growth the posts are…i.e. the aroma only last 2-3 weeks…God…Gawd…Eve(olution) is such a cruel Joker! Then, I must sit and compose some winsome, philosophically erudite lines for a not so cheap “card” for a high school graduating nephew who snagged a 10,000 buck scholarship from Comcast….(hats off to those of you who subscribe!)

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

    Aha Phil T.: Fuzzy? me too.
    Soup? I can “imagine” a stainless steel tureen’s cover sitting almost flush with the stainless steel counter with a bit of curved handle of a ladle sticking out, but I cannot “SEE” it let alone imagine ever having any with my steak-ka-bobs…LOL What shaped containers were they served in…a cup or bowl? I’d presume we’d have to ladle in a bowl/cup first and then transpose it very carefully onto the red tray under the ‘sneeze’ glass which would negate simply ladling into an empty bowl on a tray. Lo…you would have to be hangover free…IMHO…to navigate a scalding full bowl onto the tray….Lo, that your thumb would submerge into the soup causing you to start anew and you’d slow up The Line to no end altho it would give the Grill and Drink Men time to “converse” with many a Chica, lest, The Chicas, were with their parents! But then again…my memory here is fuzzy and I’ll defer to youth!
    Further, in terms of serving Manhattan Clam Chowder, did we have packets of Oyster Crackers http://tinyurl.com/y8eqoy7j to serve?
    – Matterhorn: I remember doing a lunch prep at CC once and Felix and I had to slice a bunch of Kaiser Rolls twice through and very very carefully to have a middle while maintaining the integrity of a proper top slice. But after that one time, I don’t remember having to do it.
    Condiments: aah yes! Surely you remember the “food serving equipment” (aka stainless steel bowls) on the order of this http://tinyurl.com/ycgxoeje ? Can’t you…right this instant…hear their tinny, dull clunk?
    – D-I-Y-S: An aerosol can of whipped cream? Are you serious? I certainly wouldn’t have trusted that with some of the goofballs (nothing personal) I had the pleasure of working with, let alone some Teens on a Friday/Saturday night!!! LOL
    I can’t remember that many slots…maybe pineapple and cherries were alternated? While I love butterscotch pudding, I don’t remember it in “my” time.
    – Smorgs: I don’t remember sweet pickle slices, tho love ’em. Mayo is fuzzy given there was The FAV: 1K Island; Salsa/Yellow Peppers? Of course today! but not in my time. I definitely hear of a lettuce leaf and a tomatoe and onion slice being necessary today, but would think it’d present sanitary problems then per people picking through them with their bare-naked hands! Eh…Folks could always rip off part of a leaf from their macaroni/green salad! Alas, my future Mother-i-L in Hermosa would always serve lunch sandwiches with BIBB lettuce…was that an In-thing back then or in your household? OMG! if ya lived in the Torrance/Hermosa/Manhattan area back then, I can only imagine at least someone herein might have been “delivered” by my future F-i-L!!! LOL

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ a little help for Phil T. ~

    Phil, your memory looks pretty damn good to me. Your wonderful narrative does contain a few minor issues which I can help clarify. I only will address the bun issues because I want to leave room for others to join in about the different condiments, etc.

    Woody’s used the seeded Kaiser rolls for several of the menu offerings.
    1) Used for the steak sandwich.
    2) 1/2 buttered roll served with all the dinner plate offerings.
    3) Used for the Matterhorn sandwich in this way : The top half of a full roll was sliced again so the grill master had three pieces to work with.
    The new top crown and middle pieces were now very thin. Once this sandwich was assembled with two patties, it looked very pretty indeed but
    was a mess to keep together.
    My personal favorite was a single 1/2 lb. King Swiss patty served on the full Kaiser roll as it was so much easier to handle and enjoy.

    I will now invite some of the other guys to talk about the salads, soups and other items you were not sure about.

    In the meantime, I can clear up one issue about Don Steinke :
    Don was NEVER a partner with Ralph Wood and Charles Cramer.
    He did not have a single penny invested in the restaurant.
    Don was however promised profit sharing based on year end results after taxes. Unfortunately, there were no profits in the Steinke years ( 56 to 62 )
    because of all the new openings ( #2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 ) and then the cost of closing
    # 3, #5 , and # 6 in very short order.
    Don S. shared this specific information with me via phone about three years ago. After six years of no profits, Don separated from Woody’s so that he could open his own restaurant which he named ” The Nut Burger ” .
    Don hoped to build on the chopped peanuts idea which was fun at Woody’s.
    His store lasted less than eight months, but Don then hooked up with KFC
    and spent more than FIVE DECADES with them in the Sacramento area.
    That’s a hell of a lot of chicken !

    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Now see what you’ve all got me doing… trying to remember more details about my first real job almost sixty years ago. So much has transpired since then that I’m surprised I can recall anything, but your many comments and recollections keep triggering fragments of things, many of which are fuzzy. Obviously, some of us have different memories and friendly disagreements as to many details. That’s part of the fun.

    There was recently some discussion regarding the salad section which was where customers placed their orders. I’d totally forgotten about soup. Of course dinners included either soup or salad as well as the baked potato and a buttered half of an egg roll. That egg roll part, however, is fuzzy in my mind. Was it one-half of the same egg roll we used for the steak sandwiches? Somehow that doesn’t sound right since it would mean that some customers would get the top half and others the bottom half. It also has me again trying to remember what kind of bread we used between the patties of meat on the Matterhorn. In any case, I recall that we used melted margarine on the dinner rolls which was brushed on. At some point I think there had to be a change of wording on the menu (as well as to what we told customers) regarding the “buttered” roll included with the dinner since it really wasn’t butter. I’ve forgotten how it was thereafter described.

    Getting back to the salad/order-taking station for a moment, I remember having to re-train myself to ask the customer whether they wanted salad or soup rather than soup or salad. It was probably Don Steinke who explained that soup or salad sounded too much like “Super salad.” Well, that must have been true at least so far as how I was asking them because there were a few times when a customer would play along and say something like, “Sure, I’ll have a super salad.” So I learned to ask them in the proper way. As for the soup, seems like it was always clam chowder on Friday (Manhattan style, not New England style) and minestrone on all other nights. Were there others as well? And soup was only on the dinner menu as I remember. I’d appreciate corrections to any of that. Oh, and unrelated but in reply to a question asked by Bob, no, we didn’t salt meat on the grill. At least I didn’t and I worked the grill many times. Don’t think anyone else did either.

    There’s also been discussion about things related to the condiment bar and maybe someone has already posted a list of the items offered there? Considering how long I worked as the “backup man,” it would seem that I’d remember it all, but I don’t. I filled in for a few days at the Westwood location as well as the one on Sepulveda close to LAX, but I’m only remembering some of the things related to CC where I was most of the time. So, I’m wondering how much of a consensus there is as to exactly what we’d find if we could go back in time and walk in there today. Here’s a list of what I remember or think I remember. Would love to have corrections, additions, etc.

    The do-it-yourself sundae row (the one at the back):
    Chocolate sauce
    Chopped peanuts
    Crushed strawberries
    Marshmallow (thin, the kind you spooned up)
    Crushed pineapple (?)
    Sliced cherries (?)
    Butterscotch (?)
    Was an aerosol can of whipped cream there somewhere as well?

    Burger condiments (the row in front):
    Sliced olives (?)
    Dill pickle slices
    Sweet pickle slices (?)
    Yellow peppers
    Mayonnaise (?)
    Thousand island dressing (?)
    Lettuce (?) Seems like there would be lettuce, but I’m not remembering it.

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Bob- Yes, that’s the paprika shaker I remember and you’re right, we did use it on the halibut as well. I’d also forgotten about placing the leaf (romaine?) in the salad dish before adding the chopped green lettuce which I think included some very thinly chopped purple cabbage for added color. Don’t remember anything else going into the green salad, but I might again be forgetting something. And the chopped beets were offered as a topping as you stated. But I only remember the chopped black olives as being one of the condiment bowl items. Of course the condiment bowl section again reminds me of those chopped peanuts. Hard to imagine that no one else “discovered” how great they were on hamburgers. I ALWAYS added those to mine. In fact, chopped peanuts is something I need to add to my next shopping list so I’ll have them ready next time I make a hamburger. :)

    Phil A- I do occasionally google the area where the CC Woody’s used to be, but naturally I prefer the drive through experience. It’s fun to just park here and there and survey the area where I once lived and went to school. Anyway, getting back to the Woody’s menu, I’m still thinking potato salad and not macaroni. That would have been between 1959 and early ’61. But since I’ve forgotten so many other details, the mac might just be one more of them.

    I previously mentioned that Don Steinke was a fine boss to work for and that he always seemed to have a great relationship with customers as evidenced by the pay and make your own change honor system he would have set up for coffee and pastries on weekday mornings. However, I’m sure even Don wasn’t one to be taken advantage of and I’m assuming he was the one who trained us to watch out for customers who would fill up empty cups, etc. with condiments to take with them upon leaving. Come to think of it, I don’t recall exactly what the policy was. Seems like it was okay to pile on as much and as many condiments as you wanted to, but weren’t suppose to take extra on the side. And I can vaguely remember Don occasionally having to politely remind a customer of that. Was that ever an issue for any of you?

  • Evan Zang says:

    Phil’s diorama is astonishingly accurate. While it wasn’t a place I normally hung out as a teenager, I was very familiar with the area, and sometimes dropped by for a burger and root beer. It’s too bad the only time machine we have is our memories of the way things used to be, but we can, as Phil has demonstrated, vividly recreate those images fairly well.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ The EZ ( Evan Zang ) Burger ~

    Evan , Thank you for sharing your Mother’s Day menu with us.
    After assembling the burgers, why not take some photos and send them to Mark Evanier who then can post them on this site. What fun !

    I myself would need to downsize the burger to 1/3lb. or 1/4lb because I get occasional bouts of TMJ and I no longer can open that wide.
    The idea of adding beef Brisket to the mix is very interesting.

    I love coleslaw with Fish and Chips but would change it out for sweet corn
    when it comes to summertime burgers. Our area is now getting the first batches of sweet corn from Florida and the Carolinas.

    Evan , I think I may have a good chance of joining you with the Woody tie in with Mother’s Day. Since Woody had the Rib Eye cut for the steak sandwich,
    I could do a thick cut Rib Eye steak with baked potatoes, sweet corn and two small green salads. I have the original Woody china oval plates for serving as well.

    Soooooo , any of you readers who are in a need of a place to go for dinner on Sunday, I guess you can decide between Evan or Phil.
    ( Evan’s place would be much closer for most, but the weather in Dublin is just gorgeous. )

    Phil A.

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

    Evan: Yo…sounds like you created an intriguing/tasty recipe for the patty meat. RE 1/2 lb. patties: alas, gotta go with a 1/3 at the MAX! Despite their commercials, the advesive seal of both Fixodent and PoliGrip will break if I try to open my mouth that wide!!!!
    Alas, and with all due respect: Where are the chopped nuts for da burgaahs?!!!!
    RE “Don’t Squeeze the Burger!”: good for you that you no longer feel you need to “impress” your SO in your life like the Grill”Masters” at Redondo did RE “flaring up” for the bikinied Chicas passing the GrillGlass. (I believe they kept the cleanest grillglass of all the venues!) Alas, so sad to read you have not learned of the gastronomic pleasures or are too young to be a Senior level Sybrite by topping your creations with chopped, roasted green chile: http://tinyurl.com/y972qwg7

    Phil T: Yo…on your nostalgia tour, don’t forget to go by Redondo where KISS has torn down Woody’s to put up one of its Rock & Brews Burger stands albeit on W’s footprint http://tinyurl.com/yaa3xtc3 at PV Blvd and PCH. Ha ha…when I first saw this pic of their 2nd iteration, I thought it was old Woody’s…almost, i.e. kinda like the high pitched ceiling, the dark picnic tables, and the glass wall looking to the ocean…alas, here it’s looking onto PCH (:-(

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Woody’s salad offerings ~

    Potato , Mac, and Iceberg where the 3 salads offered at All the stores.
    NO coleslaw during the original Ralph Wood ownership days. ( 56 to 72 )

    Bob, the shaker link you found is perfect !!! I may buy one for the memories but also to use in the kitchen here in Dublin. Great find ! Thank you.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Woody’s Culver City ~

    Phil Thomas ~ No need to wait for a future road trip to revisit the old Woody’s
    site where you worked.
    Go to Google maps and punch in : 5529 S. Sepulveda, Culver City ~

    The El Pollo Loco which replaced the Woody’s store has been there 32 years already. ( Woody’s made it to 29 years ).

    Of course the stores in the area have changed out, but I myself still get the
    same ” hometown ” feeling when viewing the area.
    The Bank of America has remained next door to the Woody property and the
    7 Eleven on the corner is where the Mobile station was.

    There are several new homes ( 1.4 Mil ) at the rear where the firehouse was.
    The stores on the East side of Sepulveda are still composed of small retailers
    and the landlord keeps the storefronts looking real sharp.
    The city fathers outlawed the huge road signs almost 40 years ago and this change made an enormous visual improvement.

    I still remember cashing my first paycheck at the B of A. next door.
    Starting on a part time basis it must have been for around $18.00 .
    Phil Ankofski

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

    Phil T.: Thanks for mentioning the “changing room” in the shed back of CC. I thought I remembered it, but hesitated to ask if “true”, as it seemed too weird to be true…LOL
    Per my ’62-’63 time I swear (100%) it was “macaroni”, not potato, salad we had at Redondo and of course!, with a sprinkle of paprika….as was done on the butter melting on the halibut with crosshatching grill marks. (This is fuzzy: was the shaker something on the order of this http://tinyurl.com/ydapwpxq? Say, Q-of-the-Day: did the Grillman salt the meat?) Don’t forget the leaf of lettuce that was first put in the yellow plastic “bowl”, as well as for a green salad that had the option for pieces of beets atop the dressing. Was there a sliced, black olive option as well?
    No, no cole slaw in my memory. Also, seems wouldn’t make sense to have potato at CC while macaroni salad at Redondo…unless of course Woody was customer testing. Indeed, working the line at CC was…how shall we say…more intimate than Redondo.
    – I can’t remember, but maybe one-two incidents with staff RE performance (e.g. showing up “hung over”). Seemed like once the Surf was Up, we were ready to “man” the line and we worked like a well oiled, multifaceted machine while watching each other’s backs…all for a buck, thirty two an hour. Had “Breakfast-with-Dad” with my two daughters this am. I listened with awe at the horror tales one told about trying to teach at the University level even about 10 years ago and from the other while currently trying to teach trainees who’d be getting 14 bucks an hour, to work at a mega Call-Center…the biggest issue? A sense of entitlement RE e.g. the need to always attend class, not wanting to follow the interactive “scripts” in working with customers on the phone, following a dress code that in itself was ultra casual, mild to blatant threats about passing the training, yada yada yada. Less I’m wrong, am sure there were “moments” for Y’all, but not to the point of your “seeking more time to spend with family” so quickly in your naive careers…Certainly, I stand to be corrected as I wasn’t privy to behind the curtain…LOL

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Just a brief follow-up on my last comment regarding Phil A’s mention of the firehouse and Mobile gas station he added to his diorama. I said that I couldn’t remember either of them. But I was wrong. After thinking more about the landscape, I do, in fact, recall that there was a firehouse back there somewhere. I just can’t remember exactly where. The Mobile station is still a blank for me. Funny how so many of these things are becoming more and more fuzzy in my mind. I moved away from the Los Angeles area in 1998 and for a few years prior to moving I would occasionally drive to the places where I once lived or worked just for old time’s sake. Need to do that again one of these days when I’m in that area. I’m sure the neighborhood around the spot where Woody’s CC used to be has changed considerably.

  • Evan Zang says:

    In memory of Woody’s, and to honor all Mothers, on Mother’s Day Weekend, I am grilling what I think is still the best backyard cheeseburger in the known culinary Universe. I realize I can’t recreate the wonderful and unique Woody’s experience, but I can honor it! For me, the perfect grilled cheeseburger looks like this:

    4 Brioche Hamburger rolls (slightly sweet, and they hold ingredients well. I never toast the buns but you could if desired).
    2 pounds hamburger (have the butcher grind 1/3 each, brisket, sirloin, short rib) formed into 4 half pound burgers. These are two-handed & BIG!
    1 red onion sliced medium/thin
    1 beefsteak tomato sliced medium
    1 romaine lettuce torn into sandwich sized pieces
    8 American cheese slices (American melts the best of all cheeses, 2 per burger)
    1 dill pickle sliced into thin round
    Bob’s Big Boy Thousand Island Dressing (if you can’t find this in your store you can order it online. This is a “can not substitute” item).
    Salt and pepper meat to taste.
    Cooking: On a medium hot grill cook burgers flipping only once. Do not “press” on the meat with a spatula. This hamburger mixture has a lot of great fat, and you’ll lose juices and start flare ups. I remember that from Woody’s.
    Remove burgers from grill when cooked to medium rare or medium temperature. I prefer medium.
    Next, assemble buns and ingredients in this order (from top down): Bun, Bob’s Big Boy Thousand Island Dressing , red onion, lettuce, tomato, cheese, meat, pickles, Bob’s Big Boy Thousand Island Dressing again, bun.

    Serve with home made French fries or Cole Slaw, not store packaged.

    Serves 4 generously. Don’t worry about calories or cholesterol. You don’t do this everyday.

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Phil A, Bob and others- That advertisement for the 2 for 1 sale confirmed what I thought I remembered about the price for the regular Smorgasburger when I started working at the CC restaurant… 44 cents. I think I saw the price jump to 49 cents by the time I left. As for your diorama, Phil, all I can say is WOW! That is sooooo cool. What a lot of time and effort that must have taken, but I’m sure it was a labor of love. I really like the detail and it sure brought back some fond memories. Ah, but there are gaps in my memory for sure. I’m not remembering the fire house or gas station. But there was a very small “shed” at the rear of the parking lot behind the restaurant where we would change into out uniforms which I do remember.

    I saw that on the same page there was some discussion about cold slaw and the recipe. Here’s where my memory may again be failing me because I don’t recall cold slaw ever being offered during the period I worked there. But we did offer potato salad and I remember how we put a shake of paprika on each serving to make it look more attractive. But like I say, I might just be blanking out about the cold slaw since it’s something I never carer for much. And regarding the menu, while we had the baked potatoes and also offered small bags of potato chips, we never sold fries. Of course, you knew that already. I would occasionally hear complaints from customers about the absence of fries on the menu, but I don’t remember how Don S. explained the reason for that. The work area along the line was pretty cramped as it was (salad man, grill, bun man, drink man and cashier all squeezed together) and it’s possible that it was felt that having the boiling oil, etc. needed would take up too much space and/or require too much attention (?).

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ****** For Phil Thomas, and all others as well ******

    Regarding the Woody’s 2 for 1 sales :

    In early 2014 I invested over $500. and many fun hours in producing an
    HO scale diorama of the Woody’s CC store while a sale was in progress.
    The money was spent on HO scale cars, trucks, shrubs, and figurines.

    The restaurant, parking lot and sign are all to scale.
    I also installed a Lionel train smoking unit to replicate the smoke exiting from the roof top chimney. I seldom use this function because it stinks up the house pretty good. Since the original display, I have added the Mobile gas station and the CC fire house at the rear of Woody’s.

    I selected the 2 for 1 sale motif because it was a very dramatic event having all the patrons line up in front of the store and then continue along Berryman Ave.

    I display this 3′ X 5′ diorama in a second story loft outside the master bedroom so I pass it many times per day.
    In 2016 , a former Woody’s co worker ( Jerry Walter , 1964 ) stopped by our home while on vacation, and I was so proud for him to see it.

    To see several of the photos you must go to the WOODY’S GALLERY SITE”
    which is listed on the left side of your monitor.
    Once on site, you must scroll all the way back to AUGUST 3, 2014 ~
    You must use the ” older comment ” tabs to get you back that far.
    Next photo group is a little farther back at July 31, 2014. ~

    I hope the viewers here enjoy the photos !

    Phil Ankofski

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

    2 THINGS:

    a) Yo Phil T.: RE the 2 for 1: Check this out http://tinyurl.com/jjg4zbk (For some reason, this link didn’t work earlier today; if it doesn’t, try again later.) Click on the ad to enlarge re your query.

    b) Does anyone remember when Cinco de Mayo began being celebrated in CA and in whatever state you may now live in? Thanks

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Phil A- Thanks so much for bringing those photos to my attention. The thing I found amazing was the narrow age difference between Don and myself. Guess it proves a point that I’ve heard before… that when you’re young, just about anyone older than you are seems to be very old. Although I started working at Woody’s CC in 1959, I don’t remember what month it was and since my birthday is in November, I might have still been eighteen rather than nineteen as I mentioned originally. But if Don was twenty-one in 1956, that means he was probably only twenty-four years old when he hired me. Wow!

    By the way, one other memory popped into my head. Do any of you remember the two for one sales and were those only at the CC location or at all restaurants? And correct me if my memory is faulty, but I think it was two for one and not just a lower price per burger. I remember working the grill on one of those days and seeing the long line of people outside. BIG orders for burgers and if I remember correctly, we only did regular burgers on those days. No king size, cheese, Swiss, Matterhorn, hot dogs or steak sandwiches. And no dinners. At least that’s how I remember it, but I’d like to be corrected if any of you remember differently.

  • White Fang says:

    ~ sorry Evan ~

    I realized too late that the S did not belong with your UC Berkley.
    Perhaps I was used to seeing Bob talk about his USC.
    All is welladvertising .

  • Black Tooth says:

    ~ ?????? ~

    No Evan, I have not seen such a misprint .
    Hell , I thought you were showing off your fancy USC Berkley education.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ****** SPECIAL FOR PHIL THOMAS ******

    Phil T , Since you did not mention seeing the recent photo of Don S. with Ralph Wood in front of the brand new CC store ( 1956 ) , I thought I had better bring it to your attention.

    Using this site, scroll back to December 13, 2017 . There you will find a posting by Kevin Steinke which includes two photo links.
    I am sure you will recognize Don who was 21 at the time and Woody was 31.
    I consider this photo priceless.

    Phil Ankofski

  • Evan Zang says:

    Just looking at my last post. The very last word says, “advertising,” although I didn’t type it. Has this happened to anyone else?

  • Evan Zang says:

    Phil and Bob thanks for your comments. I grew up with a near photographic memory, which is mainly responsible for me finishing college. The memory is still pretty strong though I’m beginning to see some fading. Taco Tio, Mr C’s Broasted Chicken, and the poisonous Clancy’s still look pretty clear to me. I’m still in touch with many of my Redondo Beach friends, some going all the way back to 2nd grade! I’m going to see if any of them have any photos of these places. They just might! If I’m lucky they may even surface some pictures of Woody’s. Too bad we didn’t have cell phones with cameras in those days, but, if we did, we probably wouldn’t be sharing these memories on this great siteadvertising!

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Remembering Woody’s # 3 in Gardena ~

    The store in Gardena was operating for 5 years and then closed in early 1964.
    Since I started at CC in July of 1964, I did not know anyone who was associated with #3. However, Pat Wilbur appeared on this very site several years ago and made it known that he was a ” roaming manager ” who was sent to different units to shape them up and bring a profit number to the bottom line.
    That’s it for Gardena.

    Phil A.

  • Phil Thomas says:

    Phil A- I was pleased to read that Don Steinke and his wife are still among us and living in the Palm Springs area. Never met his wife, but Don was considerably older than I was when he hired me at the age of nineteen. I’m 78 now which means Don is up in years. But then, we all are, aren’t we? Just as I’ve forgotten the names of many people I worked with later in life, that’s even more true for the ones at Woody’s. Odd, because I have a slightly better memory of some of their faces. You mentioned a couple, Dick and Steve. Don’t recall anyone by the name of Dick, but the name Steve rings a bell. The person I’m thinking about (maybe Steve?) used to like working the cash register which was the one position I hated. Loved working the grill and all of the other spots. Think my lack of confidence with ringing up orders and making change scared me off. The position of “backup man” may have been the spot where Don broke in all of the new employees (?). At least it was with me and I feel that I did a pretty good job there, always on the move and trying to keep a step ahead when possible. I’m sure there are many jobs where the worker describes his duties as like that of a dance. That was sure the case with backup at Woody’s, keeping an eye on the salad man’s thousand island, french and blue cheese dressing, for example, not wanting to get in the way, yet slipping in and around him to do refills before he asked as well as doing a quick wipe up of any drips. And of course there were the other stations to keep supplied along with the condiment bar. I took it as a compliment when Don explained that he had been slow to move me to the line positions because I was such a good backup man. As for the other guys I worked with, I do remember one who was French (French accent anyway) and also liked working the grill. His name was Jacque (that might be spelled incorrectly). Don’t remember his last name. There was also a Stu. And had to chuckle when you said that one of the guys would sometimes bring in a steak to grill because I (and maybe others?) did that as well. Don didn’t object and I can’t remember if he ever told us be low key about it. But I nevertheless knew that we didn’t want a customer to see what we were doing. Heck no, if they decided to order a steak dinner based on what they saw, I’m sure we’d have some explaining to do. That pretty much exhausts my memories about working at Woody’s, Culver City other than once, after closing, some of us got into a friendly food fight for some reason. Of course it only made clean up and getting out of there take more time. Oh, and in closing, I do recall one other time when I made a mistake which could have been serious. A 220 volt line (I think running to the Radar Range) went across a counter area in the back room where I was cutting something with one of our big, heavy knifes and somehow cut into the line. No shock, but a huge spark and a small notch burned into the knife blade. Startled the *#** out of me. Don wasn’t there at the time and I can’t remember how the accident got reported since it did have to be repaired.

  • Phil A. says:

    ~ Some of the Woody’s Redondo Guys ~

    The following group of guys are past and current commenters who I have met via this Woody’s site : Bob of NM , Evan Zang , Mark Husar , and Pat Wilbur.

    This second group includes guys I worked with at the Redondo store or interacted with at management meetings. ( 1967 & 1968 )
    Richard Ingram, Willie , George ( the camera guy ) , Randy Wilson, Nick, Paul, Leaf Lusty, Tim White, Phil Hartman, Elliot Perchuck , Les Simons, Steve Dabbs, and Lorin Buist.

    Great guys make great memories. Thank you all !

    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil A. says:

    ~ Remembering Woody’s Redondo Beach 1958 ~ 2018

    We can now celebrate the 60th anniversary of Woody’s # 2 store located on the PCH in Redondo Beach. The site was just blocks away from where Ralph and Barbara made their home. So, the thinking is Ralph managed the new store while Don Steinke pretty much ran Culver City on his own.

    Over the years, the property was released to many other different food service venues. There were three Mexican venues and at least two rib joints.
    Anyway, the first 14 years belonged to the SmorgasBurgers !

    Whatever the memories, it is fun to remember the good times.
    I think I will make a homemade SS ( Swiss burger ) for tomorrows lunch.
    Anyone else ??

    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil A. says:

    ~ good things end too ~

    With the extended delay of our comments being posted, Evan Zang’s name
    remained as the headliner on this sites marquee for quite some time.
    I enjoyed seeing this.

    Phil A.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Another Phil at Culver City ~

    Yes Phil T. , better late than never. Thanks for returning with your input on Mr. Don S. With the burst of new Woody’s units from 1958, 59, 60, 61 , it looks like Don was pretty much the guy doing all of the training. It must have been non stop which is okay I guess as he was kept busy. He was associated with KFC for many decades. ( Sacramento area ).
    Don and his wife have been retired now for several years and now reside in the Palm Springs area. I have tried to encourage a few guys to visit Don because they live very close to him. Nothing ever happens.

    Yes, there was a 50 cent cash charge for several of the pricier menu items like the steaks and Halibut. Ron Blasio, a CC manager did one better by going to a local butcher counter on his lunch break. He would bring back a CHOICE

    Phil, you may remember Dick Roletta and Steve Claypool. These guys were working at CC in 60, 61,62. Every once in awhile I get vibes these guys are reading our comments here and then moving on.
    We are all in our 70s now ( except baby Evan ) so we should be careful on how much we try to accomplish in a day.
    Nap time is the best time !

    Phil A.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Our days in Redondo ~

    Well Evan, I would say your memory is holding very strong at # 67 !
    I wish I could help you on your list of restaurant venues, but I cannot.
    Not because of memory lapse …. it is because I just was not out and about
    after working 60 plus hours at our Woody’s unit.

    I did have two favorite places which I patronized an awful lot on the weekends : House of the Rising Sun with Stewart Clay hosting and The Latitude 20 with owner Hop Louie taking care of business.
    My tab at The Latitude 20 was my biggest monthly expense, exceeding rent or car payments ! My friends and I loved that place.

    Phil A.

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

    RE Evan. Ya, back in MA, “Broasted” became ‘in’ also in the mid ’50s… the Big…let alone HEALTHY….. Take Out as more Moms began to work….as a kid, saw no difference…LOL.
    RE Taco Tio. A bit after arriving in ABQ, my future Vieja took me to a drive-by known as Pop N Taco and introed me to a Taco on a Bun as well…bun, chopped lettuce, pickle, loose ground beef AND Thousand Island Dressing. Way to go Chica! http://tinyurl.com/y83jd4f5
    Alas, RE places along The 1 and PCH: lest I ask again…LOL: between Woody’s and Hermosa: a 15×30(?)’ hole-in-the-wall on the East side: a bar on one side and 2-tops along the opposite wall. Had all kinds of “ephemeral?” on the wall that in a few years was to become the “in” thing in terms of restaurant decor…too funny. This place’s distinguishing claim to fame, was all kinds of noise/lights went off when a Chica exited the Ladies Room.

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

    Yo: Phil T: Thanks for the great recollecting!….Maybe a day late, but NOT a dollar short.
    Given the proliferation of “fast foods” today, one can feel pretty confident that Newbies…as owners…to that adventure, would do well to read the remembrances of employees/guests herein to garner some tips on being successful: e.g. First Step: Take the time to face-to-face hire the right management (who hold an ethic of “working” let alone being a mentor beyond being a “supervisor” as well) who hire the right employees. Cant’ imagine the tidbits of wisdom “Mark Evanier” has harnessed amongst all the venues herein!

  • Evan Zang says:

    Does anyone remember a little place in Redondo Beach called Mr C’s Broasted Chicken, located on PCH and Avenue B? The tiny unit offered no seating, instead favoring takeout or home delivery. In the early 60’s KFC hadn’t arrived yet (or perhaps we were simply unaware of them) and Mr C’s represented the first “pressure cooked” chicken our family had ever tasted. It was delicious. Like KFC, the chicken came in a bucket, but it also included hand cut slices of Broasted Potatoes. As a kid Mr C’s Broasted Chicken was easily one of my family’s favorite “fast food” haunts, and in many ways, their chicken was far better than the later versions of Harlan Sander’s KFC.

    Moving along, does anybody remember Taco Tio, located on PCH and (roughly) avenue D? Like Mr C’s , Taco Tio arrived much earlier than Taco Bell, although the menu was fairly similar. I was not fond of Mexican food as a teenager, but Taco Tio cunningly offered a “taco” on a hamburger bun, which, my mother occasionally brought home for dinner once or twice a month. I

    Lastly, and still located on PCH ( not far from Woody’s Redondo Beach), was a hamburger joint called Clancy’s. Essentially, Clancy’s was a McDonald’s knock off, with a similar menu and exterior. Although my family ate there a few times, my mother eventually put Clancy’s on our FORBIDDEN FOOD LIST because the unit was constantly embroiled in investigations involviinñng numerous health code violations and food poisoning incidents. The word on the street about Clancy’s was “cheap food – eat at your own risk.”

    There it is – and so I ask this very knowledgable group, does anyone remember Mr C’s Broasted Chicken, Taco Tio, and Clancy’s, all three located in Redondo Beach, and all three now gone forever?

  • Phil Thomas says:

    First want to apologize to you, Phil Ankofski, for the long delay in replying to your comment in June of 2017. After sharing a couple of my memories about the time I worked at the Woody’s in Culver City between 1959 and around 1961 and thinking that it wasn’t posted (probably because I simply didn’t see that it had) I drifted away and neglected to check back until now.

    Anyway, you asked about my boss, Don Steinke, and I have to say that all of my limited memories of him are most favorable. For one thing, he hired me, giving me my first “real” job while still attending what was then Santa Monica City College. Don was a good man to work for in that he was always very positive and helpful during the training process. What’s more, he obviously took pride in what he was doing and I think he really felt part of the community. For example (and this may have been unique to the Culver City restaurant?) donuts and a few pastries along with coffee were offered to the customers for two or three hours (?) before the restaurant officially opened for lunch. Don’t think this was ever advertised as one of those “Open for breakfast” deals we see now at the fast food chains. A cash register (the old mechanical type) containing a small amount of change was placed on the counter so that the customer could ring up his purchase and make his own change. It was all on the honor system and I always felt that Don was rather proud of the arrangement. He looked for the good in people and probably felt that most people will be honest if given the chance. Of course, I think only the local businesses were aware that this existed.

    Another memory I have of Don is how well he controlled what was probably considerable anger he must have felt when I REALLY messed up one time. We had just switched over from charcoal to gas on the grill. Don was crouched down on the customer side of the counter doing some kind of wiping down. That’s right, although the boss, he wasn’t above doing that sort of thing. I wasn’t aware or had forgotten that Don was there. And I happened to be serving a customer at the same time when the customer says to me something like, “The burgers probably don’t taste as good when cooked on gas, do they?” Something to that effect. The fact was that I really couldn’t tell any difference and if I had thought about it a minute could have said something like, “Actually they do taste as good and maybe better because we can control the heat better and it’s really the smoke from the fat and not the charcoal that gives the flavor.” But no, I simply agreed with the customer and agreed that the meat probably didn’t taste as good as it did before. You can imagine my surprise and embarrassment when Don’s head pops up from the other side of the counter. Needless to say, after the customer was gone, Don set me right, but in a very friendly and professional way. It was a good learning experience.

    I’ve noticed how some of the contributors here have mentioned the condiment bar and things like the elaborate do-it-yourself sundaes they would create. Even we, the employees, would experiment sometimes, but there was one thing that I discovered early on and always did… putting the chopped peanuts on my hamburgers along with whatever else I used. That was soooooo good. When I worked there we didn’t have to pay for hamburgers nor, do I think, any of the other food we ate except for steak, steak sandwiches and the halibut. I might be wrong about that, but I think that was the arrangement and we paid a reduced amount if we did want steak or halibut.

    Anyway, in 1961 I was just finishing college and had been hired as a trainee for the Los Angeles County Probation Dept. and so ended my enjoyable time working for Don Steinke. Sure wish Woody’s Smorgasburger was still there.

  • Phil says:

    ~ Woody’s and the South Bay ~


    Nice job on locating and then sharing the South Bay link with us.
    When I see these older photos of undeveloped landscape, I always
    lament that CA lawmakers did not follow The Oregon plan which preserved much more seaside property for the people.

    Ralph and Barbara Wood found Palos Verdes to be the perfect area to live and do business. They both loved being in or near the ocean.
    Three of their children ( Sara, Eric, and Jon ) continue to live in the area while son Chip lives in Bishop.
    Several of Mr. Woods managers from the SmorgasBurgers and Admiral Risty
    also made it up the hill over the years and made permanent homes.
    I myself only made it as far as Walteria at the base of the ” Hill “.

    Bob has lamented that he did not buy a few of the beach shacks in Hermosa
    after his USC years. Well , I do too.
    With the explosive growth of WWII , it was probably very hard to devote
    a lot of time to planning by all the city fathers along the coast. Most areas turned out very beautiful with their 1000 sq. foot bungalows.

    I use the google maps to peruse the coastal communities I was familiar with and what I see is that apartment complexes of all sizes have taken the place
    of the bungalows. All change of course.

    So as far as footprints go , I am happy to count the Woody’s structures that are yet standing : #3 Gardena ( vacant ) ~ #5 Fish House in LA ( Fed Ex ) ~ #7 El Segundo ( IHOP ) ~ Admiral Risty , Palos Verdes ~

    Phil Ankofski

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

    OMG! If you worked at Woody’s HollywoodRiviera/Redondo, see if you can find where Woody’s footprint would be…http://tinyurl.com/y8psn4t2 Caution: if you scroll down, be prepared to have a Margarita on your desk as you will go down many vintage rabbit holes if ya click on any of the next pics therein and especially if ya lived in the “neighborhood”…LOL Enjoy!

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

    Just ran across this bit of trivia: “Why Wendy’s is the only Chain that serves baked potatoes” http://tinyurl.com/ya93egbx . I never thought about it back in the day when “we” experimented with 1,000 Island and chopped nuts on our Woody’s Smorgs, but did any proletariats herein or Guests experiment with the condiment bar. Did we even serve the potato with butter?
    As a kid, my Mom had a way to make the skin come out nicely ‘crisp’…was it the Crisco she prepped them with? Anyway, our ritual once baked, was to split open horizontally (not lengthwise); scoop out the innards to be also eaten, and to put a pat (or dab) of butter in each of the half-skins; salt and shut it…OMG, the first version of potato skins I guess(?)!
    Sad note: During the Potato Famine in Ireland, circa 1845-’49’, (which might have caused 1/2 of my “Essence” to journey here legally), Folks thought it best to feed the kidlets the innards and they “suffered” to eat the skins. Turns out the skins had the nutrients! In my adulthood, I often note that to restaurants that serve their Baked, foiled. Because of “privacy issue”, I can’t mention a Chain that stopped doing that…at least locally.
    OMG…I just started, after ALL my years, making my own home Guac the past few weeks and I throw away the avocado skins! Does anyone know about the skins? (PS: IMHO, while important, not garlic, nor a spritz of lemon/lime, nor Baco-Bits is key! I suggest teenie bits of Green Chile! to accompany the diced tomato/onion added to the diced, not smashed, avocado! Salud/Slainte!)

  • Phil says:

    ~ Our Woody’s man at Westwood Village ~

    I would like to use this space to highlight a recent comment made by Marshall Loveday. I feel his thinking reflects what is going on here with our
    aging audience and why so few return with additional stories.
    Marshall said ; ” I might vaguely remember some incidents, but forget the important details that make the story worth telling. ”

    This thought completely changes my perspective on what and how much goes on here. Thank you Marshall for sharing your insight.
    Since we cannot run around handing out a ” memory serum ” I guess we will
    have to be happy with what we have and what we can get in 2018.
    So be it.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil says:

    ~ Woody’s in Westwood ~

    Looks like Marshall L. continues to be our only connection to the Woody’s in Westwood and we are glad to have him. Our recent comments have been focused on the Redondo store because there are now four of us who had various degrees of tenure there.

    I separated from Woody’s three weeks before the Westwood store opened in October, 1968. Marshall was hired in during the grand opening period and perhaps did not realize it. Anyway, Mr. Wood and other investors obviously
    had great expectations because of the UCLA students and weekend activity in Westwood. After only a short time, the owners saw that this location was not going to be the ” barn burner ” they had hoped for.
    I had lost contact with all of the Woody’s guys I had worked with, so I never learned anything at all about the store.

    Since this Woody’s site was founded, I have learned a bit on just how dire the profit picture was at Westwood ….. or perhaps none at all.
    The guys who bought the $5,000. LP shares had to take a MASSIVE haircut so the lease could be turned over to Steve Dabbs in mid 1971.

    So Marshall, I now wonder if you noticed any ” tightness ” like infrequent raises or non at all. Perhaps some maintenance issues were being passed over, or whatever. I remember when Mr. Wood signed the lease earlier in the year because he was so damn happy. I thought it was because he was an alumni of UCLA and wanted to show off a bit, but that was not the case.
    Mr. Wood was a college grad. closer to Pasadena. I think Occidental.

    Any insights of any nature about Westwood would be fun to learn.
    I would say the same for the store in Woodland Hills which was intended to be Mr. Woods entry into the dipped roast beef venue , The Carvery .
    ( also a non performer ) ~ Converted to A Woody’s after three months ! ~

    Let the figure skating begin !


    Stories…from Woody’s Westwood?

    My problem with telling stories is that I might vaguely remember some incidents, but forget the real details that make the story worth telling……

    I remember one employee in particular who moved quickly up the ranks, I guess because he was a little older than most of us teenagers. Not long after he was made a supervisor on the night shift, the till started coming up short……. He didn’t last long. I remember feeling there was something creepy about him.

    Out location, being in Westwood, we got a lot of area teenagers running around, with no supervision. I remember one night, kids were particularly rowdy, and a rather strange girl I hadn’t seen before came in, and went over to a back booth area that was the darkest part of the restaurant. From the line, I couldn’t tell what was happening, but there was some kind of commotion going on. Once I had a chance to go out and check, ‘it’ was apparently all over, and the girl, and the guy she was ‘taking care of’, hurried out…….at least that’s what some of the other kids were saying. I watched the tables a lot closer after that……

    This one I’m ashamed of….may have told this one before. Steve Dabbs hired a female employee, as a sort of ‘hostess’. She didn’t work the line, but could do cashiering, other stuff. UCLA student at the time – a nice girl. I pranked her with a root beer, that had quite a bit of hot sauce in it.

  • markhusar says:

    It would have been around 69 or 70.


    Mark H. –
    What year would that have been? The Westwood Village Woody’s opened in 1967 (forget what month…). I was hired around October, 1968, and worked there until April, 1972.

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

    Marshall: Rand’s Round-Up (Round-Up as in cowboy theme… http://tinyurl.com/yckmkr4e)…No cook at Frat House on weekends, so Guys loved the one on Wilshire (tho apparently we didn’t know of others) per all ya can eat and especially the Prime Rib station of the buffet. I’m not a big eater so thought $6.95 was pricey “back in the day”. http://tinyurl.com/ya5wruno (click pics to enlarge.)
    – Everyone’s gotta make a last Rose Parade! So after, get a Double Dipped at https://www.philippes.com/ with its sawdust floors/community tables per being only 15″ by Union Station. When I’m giving out tourist info in ALBQ and ask 10 Angelenos “Where’s the best place in LA for French Dipped?”, 8 say Philippe’s; the missing 2 would be Vegans/Vegetarians of course!
    – Yes! John would be a good name for that Dude! Tom, Jerry, Harry, Biff etc. wouldn’t cut it. I wonder if he’d be less “prissy” as you say with another name?
    – Great video of the Europa reconstruction. Interesting coincidence: I thought the Avanti http://tinyurl.com/y9xplu5t was unique. Surely miss Jay Leno, let alone Johnny. Nobody comes close today.

  • Mark Husar says:

    Marshall Loveday.
    Your response confirms for me the existance of the Westwood Woody’s location.
    I was a mid teen when Jim and I traveled to the restaurant to work for the day. And honestly, I cannot remember what is was we were working on.
    I’ll touch base with Jim tomorrow and post the results.

  • Phil says:

    ~ Woody’s SmorgasBurger and our college guys ~

    It was fun that Mark H. shared one of the closing episodes at Redondo.
    As I said earlier, this stuff happens everywhere were teens and college kids are employed.
    But it occurred to me that there was a fair percentage of linemen and busboys who never worked evenings or closing shifts.
    Reason: Their college class schedules were heavy with late afternoon and evening classes so they would work the morning prep. shift or the 11 to 2
    shift on the line.
    They missed out on all that fun of late night goofing off.

    Come on Marshall …… you must have AT LEAST a couple of stories to share with us about the Westwood store and Steve Dabbs. I knew Steve well enough to know there was a little devil in him.


    Mark H – GREAT story! Tops anything from my tine at Woody’s Westwood….

    Bob of the Village – I USED TO live near Penguins – Mar Vista actually, while growing up. Of the other places you mentioned visiting, or not visiting, There was either a Trader Vics or a Don the Beachcomber in Marina Del Rey that i remember frequenting in my early 20’s, before being married – this would have been 1972 or so……. Rand’s – I’ve never hear of that one. I’ve been to the Pantry downtown – truly an experience. Phillipe’s – sadly, never made it there, either.

    Phil A. – No ‘secret spy eaters’ at our Westwood Village location that I can recall. And as to taking your date to Bruno’s Italian Restaurant in Mar Vista – you could never go wrong there. I’m glad I had a chance to take my wife to Bruno’s before they closed some years ago……

    Phil A – I laughed when i read about the straight-laced ‘Anthony Perkins-looking dude that Mr. Woods employed as a G.M. — I think you’re referring to ‘John’, and for the life of me I can’t remember his last name. I believe I met John way before i met Mr. Wood – somewhat intimidating John was for a young 17 – year old like me. He struck me as sort of ‘prissy’ – not wanting to lift a finger to clean anything, just…………pointing when he saw something that needed attention.

    Evan Z – Sad to hear about the first Europa you had. Hope you were OK after the accident. Turns out I went into auto damage appraisal as a career, starting in 1977. Not surprisingly, I never handled a claim on a Lotus Europa. If you never caught it, Chip Foose used his magic touch on a Europa in two episodes of Overhaulin’
    Part 1:
    Part 2:

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