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.

364 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger IV

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Friday 6 ~ A perplexing thought ……..

    How can 5529 SOUTH Sepulveda Blvd. be NORTH of 755 NORTH Sepulveda?


  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Friday 5 ~ It’s getting tight in here ! ~

    For the fans and friends of the Woody’s El Segundo store.

    I learned from Chris Pingel that when an IHOP operator bought the store in 2005, that the city mandated some pretty significant changes.
    We all remember how tight things were in the Woody’s days, but space was reduced further.

    The parking lot lost 8 spaces due to expanded trash removal access and a new storage shed. The interior lost space as well due to the required upgrades on the restrooms and kitchen. Wow ! I would never have guessed the store could suffer such reductions.

    Also, to my amazement, the neighboring property to the south is still vacant.
    I had predicted the property would be developed overnight. WRONG !

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Friday 4 ~ Halibut on the Woody’s grill ???

    I just received a promo flyer from the Admiral Risty ( via Chris ) telling us that wild caught Halibut is now available for the season.
    The Halibut dinner there is coming in around $45.00. Fine !
    In 1965 at the Woody’s stores , $1.49 would get you a Halibut dinner with all the fixins. The Halibut steaks were taken from the freezer and placed on the grill. The Haddock fish sandwich was frozen as well.
    Both items were very poor sellers. Patrons wanted beef !

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Friday 3 ~ Redondo is lookin good ~

    Hey Bob, thanks for your postings of the current Redondo area.
    Of course the Plush Pony has been closed for oh so many years, but the property itself looks very well maintained. I wish we had the high quality photos featuring the Woody’s #2 unit. Well done Bob !

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Friday ~ ” would you like fries with that ? ”

    Bobber of NM , when Mac’s opened on Figueroa Street, THEY HAD FRIES.
    During Ralph Wood’s tenure, Woody’s SmorgasBurger NEVER did.
    Remember, the patrons of Woody’s #4 had been eating potato salad for 12 years ( 1960 – 1972 ) ~ Who wouldn’t walk an extra 85 feet for golden fries ?


  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Friday ~ Another good day ~

    Hey Bob of NM, the movie title is ” The Founder “, a Ray Kroc bio.
    Go see it !

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos, NM says:

    (Yo Phil…what movie are you talking about seeing? Speaking of movies and ‘quakes’: despite the predictability of the hokey scenarios, one can’t help but be impressed with the Special Effects in San Andreas, e.g. http://tinyurl.com/zmmmtac I had the “privilege” of volunteering at the dam for six months leading up to 9/11, after which the dam was closed for awhile. If one ever goes to Vegas, ya gotta take the inside-the-dam tour!)
    – Re #4: lest some readers may not know,: 28th St., from Hoover to Figueroa, was jam packed with a couple dozen sororities and frats. As such, it is hard to imagine that Trojans and TroJanes http://tinyurl.com/qgpfpng would favor a Big Mac over a Matterhorn. Elsewise, I wonder if Woody was banking on other students’ patronage and it didn’t materialize given the snobbishness of/toward Greeks. And then there were the many secretarial staff a couple of blocks away at the mega AAA of SoCal building.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Thursday ~ Sloop John B ~ A fun little story …….

    Everyone has memories of where they were when specific events occurred.

    One of my personal favorites is when I first heard Sloop John B by Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. I had just been installed as the manager of the Woody’s unit in El Segundo on my 21 st birthday, 1966.

    The lunch rush was just starting to get into full swing with all the Boeing and Hugh’s engineers getting in line, when Sloop John B appeared on our music system. The opening bars of the song caught me right away, so I hurried into the back office and jacked up the volume quite high. When I got back to the front serving line , I found our staff and all the patrons with BIG smiles on their faces. Some were tapping the counter and others gave me a thumbs up.

    The song was a new release but it was evident many had already heard it before. Anyway, for those three minutes , we were all united as if we were at
    a concert at the Forum. So, of course I tried to replicate that feeling whenever the song reappeared on the playlist at the restaurant.

    Ever since, wherever I am in the world , my mind immediately flashes back to the Woody’s serving line in El Segundo when I recognize the first few bars.

    Ah, the power of music…….. especially Brian Wilson’s music.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Tuesday ~ The Founder ~

    Well, my wife finally found a piece of dynamite to blast me out of the Lazy Boy
    so we did go and see the movie. I enjoyed it very much although I did not
    learn anything new. It was nice to see all the facts laid out in the correct time lines.

    My overview of Ray Kroc remains the same : Ray could have continued on his path of persistence and still treated the McDonald brothers with respect, integrity, and honesty. ( Two of these three words are in Chris Pingel’s current corporate logo. )

    From what I have learned about the Woody’s contract with IHOP during it’s five year existence ( 1963 – 1968 ), I am sure very little money, if any, was paid to Mr. Wood and Mr. Cramer.

    The deal could have been set up in several ways : payments based on sales,
    or percentage payments based on gross profit or net profit.
    I know nothing of commercial real estate, so there may have been other options as well. Anyway, no matter what the measure was, it failed miserably.
    There was no $$$$$$$ flowing to the bottom line. Nothing to share !

    I don’t think Mr.Wood and Mr. Cramer were hurt in any way, except for feelings of disappointment ( or anger ) with IHOP.
    I had been long gone when the Woody’s USC store was closed in the early 1970’s. The # 4 unit was located on Figueroa Street at @28th.
    What caused it’s overnight demise ? The GIANT brand new McDonalds
    built right DIRECTLTY across the street which opened in the early 1970’s.

    Now I either heard this or I DREAMED this ; For the first several months of operation, McDonalds would feature different promos , like free frys, or free shakes, or two burgers for the price of one.

    If Ray Kroc had relocated to Beverly Hills by then, he probably came down to Figueroa Street to witness the onslaught in person.
    Can you imagine the staff at Woody’s just watching all the USC students crossing over to have lunch or dinner at Mac’s.

    The Woody’s #4 store did very well for about 12 years, and that ain’t bad.
    ( 1960 – 1972 ). All in all , Mr. Wood fared pretty well. As this #4 store was winding down , his Admiral Risty restaurant was finally producing a year end profit which was more than just the weekly paycheck.

    There you have it, my favorite Woody’s history buffs.
    Yes, I would recommend the movie.


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

    Several days ago I tried to playfully yank the chain of the highly esteemed SmorgFlippers of Woody’s of the past with a reference to some automation ala http://tinyurl.com/hclx2cf I happened to run across that day. Today, I just happened to run across this http://tinyurl.com/kz8kzsv the ATM……The Automatic Taco Maker! Was its demise just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Would it re-emerge in today’s world if a Human-Taco-Maker were to get $15/hr that is being pushed? Except for unique locales like NYC where TB sites might be too few to handle the needs of the OfficeLunch crowd to pay off high space rent, that 900 tacos an hour might be economical, might we ever see it again? I can’t picture my local TBs even selling 900 tacos in a whole day…albeit, I might be wrong! For Younguns who think “automation” is a modern bane as well as a recent anti-proletariat effort, one might recall The Automat e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automat
    RE Woody’s: OMG….while not “mechanical-like”, were not both Woody’s condiment bars a form of ‘automation’ as they possibly eliminated one LineMan (with all due respect to Chicas, I didn’t say LinePerson cuz they didn’t exist in the era!) prepping the ‘fixins’, i.e. lettuce/onion/tomato/mayo-no mayo on a bun—chopped nuts/pineapple/cherries/marshmallow etc…that might go on a Smorg or Sundae? Didn’t the K-Bobs come pre-skewered? When/if you eat fast food nowadays, do you not “bus” your table?
    If memory serves me correctly, my calc was that Mr. Wood paid me $1.32/hr which was generously 8 cents more per hour than the minimum wage. Eeeek and OMG! Did we all…including the Management…cannibalize that “saved” LineMan’s per hour salary?
    Say, how many car manufacturing jobs might really come back to Detroit etc. given this http://tinyurl.com/mgthtrx ? And we still don’t have a cure for Breast Cancer!
    – Torn down and rebuilt, KISS’ Rock n Brew sits on the very site http://tinyurl.com/kq6zg7z (To Funny: if you hold your Left mouse button down and swing your mouse around, you will see a FatBurger across the street! Alas, Mrs. See’s Candies is gone in the cutesy building, kitty korner.) of Hollywood-Riv’s (aka Redondo’s) Woody’s ….click several pics herein http://tinyurl.com/k9p5gnd (OMG! across Vista Del Mar was the backside of a 31 Flavors I’d go to for a shake when I had my K-Bob dinner. It is still there!!!! as seen from the front http://tinyurl.com/mh9fjuv 53 years later!)
    While there are shades of Woody’s in all of KISS’ venues, imagine “managing” a menu like this http://tinyurl.com/mzkqkar!!!! OMG! Burgers at 11-12 Bucks! (Ok, ya do get a side….LOL)

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Sunday ~ Johnny B. Goode ~

    A time to pause and remember Chuck Berry, one of the truly great ones of our generation. What’s this to do with Woody’s SmorgasBurger ?
    Only that they shared success and popularity during the same era.

    I saw Chuck Berry live at the teen nightclub in Studio City, ” Cinnamon Cinder”. I think he sang live to a taped music background. Or perhaps it was all on tape. No matter, Chuck put on a hell of a show with his ” duck walk. ”
    The club was loaded with teen girls looking for a ” happening “. The first question they asked was ” what kind of car do you drive ? ”

    The drive out to Studio City seemed like forever, so I did not return.
    I now wonder how far folks would drive for a SmorgasBurger.

  • Chris Pingel says:

    After the northridge quake, I remember the Woodys near Topanga Plaza, which was one of our stores after the split in 71.
    That store was housed on the ground floor of an office building. Our storage room was at the top of a long flight of stairs. At the top there was a steel beam that, at one time before the quake would have been a foot or so higher than your head when you reached the top, well ,after the quake, it was right in front of your face. I guess it dropped, or settled there during the quake. But when I first saw it that’s what I was told. I also was told the the grill glass broke out of it’s frame as did, most, if not all of the outside windows with the settling . It was all repaired, everything except the beam. I’m surprised the building was still able to be occupied.
    Anyway, that’s my story.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Friday ~

    The Woody’s Friday night closing shifts were the best. The cash receipts for the whole day came in at $1,050.00 which pretty much tied the Saturday total as well. The kids ( including Sharrie Williams ) coming in after the games or shows were so much fun. Some had dates, but most not. During my tenure at Culver City, none of these kids were looking to make trouble.
    In hind sight, I would have worked for free on those Friday nights.

    A more precise name for the Feb. quake in 71 is the Sylmar quake. The official name of Northridge quake occurred in 1994.
    I learned from Chris that during the 71 Sylmar quake that the foundation
    of the Woody’s Woodland hills unit sunk four inches.
    The following year in 1972, the lease was allowed to expire. Store closed.+

    This newer scrolling system sucks. It is easy to jump off track. It happened to Chris about a week ago as well.

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

    Alas, Phil misplaced a Comment about “Quakes @ Woody’s” over on the section About this Site. He noted at Redondo in ’68 using as confirmation of a ‘happening’, the chandeliers and “… the sounds guys make when their girlfriends announce they may be pregnant” (which I presume is “Uh oh!”). He hoped Chris might have some notes regarding the Northridge Quake.
    I hate those minor ones where you wake up in the middle of the night to wonder if you were dreaming. Lacking chandeliers, I used to check for sloshing of toilet bowl water!
    Anyone know of any Old LA Restaurants which named a dining offering as Quake related or might that have been too UnPC?

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