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.

562 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger IV

  • 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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