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.

413 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger IV

  • Phil A. says:

    ~ Saturday 2 ~ A little hilarity for Evan and Everyone ……….

    During my afternoon nap, I came up with this scenario :

    Since the LAX theme building is standing vacant, this may be the perfect opportunity for a very experienced restaurant owner/operator to step up
    and make this venue a very special place for all the worlds travelers.

    With the proliferation of all the chicken shacks in and around the USA, I am surprising myself that I have come up with a business model that features what else, but more chicken !

    The name in my dream is ; ” El Pollo Vuelo ” = The Flying Chicken .
    The business model will feature the very first FLY THRU service for all of the on board passengers and crew.

    No, the plane will not actually fly thru the building. When the pilot announces that the aircraft will be held in position on the tarmac for an hour or more, then the El Pollo Vuelo staff swings into action.
    Passengers can text their desired order thru an App and when all orders are prepared they will be rushed to the waiting plane via an EPV catering van.
    All dinners are piping hot and are prepaid via the APP.

    In my dream, I had not yet worked out this one very big problem:
    With 280 dinners featuring rice and beans with the chicken , well there would have to be a huge improvement in the ventilation systems.

    So, who knows somebody with 30 plus years experience with chicken?

  • Phil A. says:

    ~ Saturday ~ No fighting allowed here …….

    Evan my man , I understand the LAX icon was/is referred to the Theme Building. But the original restaurant prior to the ENCOUNTER must have had a more intimate and descriptive name like, “Evans Rendezvous “.
    I cannot fathom the waiter bringing the menu books with ” Theme Building”
    imprinted on the leather cover.
    If we cannot resolve this name issue ourselves, I have a guy at the Dailey Breeze that might help. It’s gonna start getting hot in Arizona !

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

    OMG Phil…..http://tinyurl.com/mx8r5v2 , but Thanks for your Honesty!!! When I arrived LAX, t’was on a “turbo”prop plane…10 hours from MA! Am thinking it was on TWA. The next year, jets started doing it in 5 hours! Unbelievable, but I missed being awed by floating 15 minutes over the lights of LA!. Alas, you walked down stairs from the side OR the rear of the plane https://i.stack.imgur.com/aOMSj.jpg onto the tarmac to walk into a then nondescript one story building.
    While we had a complimentary “dinner” in those days, imagine my chagrin when, earlier, the drop-dead 20 something Stewardess (held back a grin at my teen naivete) to kindly decline my Tip when she brought me a Pepsi! Don’t know which was worse: that or getting off wearing my best sport jacket complimenting my navyblutie and French cuffed pink shirt to be greeted my some unknown Frat Guys wearing Bermudas (which only Girls wore as yet in MA) and things called Flip-Flops! Alas, the rear stairs disappeared per Skyjackers using them to parachute from after getting their ransoms in the ’70s.
    Yes it was a fun place to People Gawk on a date…once saw a guy jump the fence to run/wave at the pilot as the plane taxied. More fun to go “park” on Airport Rd. where “incoming” barely cleared your rooftop and the chain link fence…albeit not so much on a Vespa! Indeed, imagine what the grillsmoke of Smorgasburgers would have done to those colorful tiles welcoming you to LA in the “new tunnels”?

  • Evan Zang says:

    Phil, the LAX “flying saucer on legs” restaurant was called “The Theme Building,” and was built in 1960. My family dined there a few times, but as a kid, I think the great nighttime view was paramount to the mediocre and expensive menu. Around 1996-97 the city of Los Angeles invested $4 million to renovate the property, and changed it to The Encounter Restaurant. After the September 11 attacks, another $12 million was invested in renovations. If I’m not mistaken, currently, the property is no longer a restaurant, and merely an Observation Level where the public can watch planes take off and land.

  • Phil A. says:

    ~ Thursday ~ a fun place to hang ………….

    During my first four years in Westchester I thought the LAX restaurant was
    the control tower. I lived just 5 minutes north of the property so my friends and I spent a lot of free time going to the different concourses to people watch. On site parking was free in the mid 1960’s.
    I cannot remember the original name of the venue. I now wish I had been a patron, at least once.

    I now think that the LAX terminal would have been a great location for a Woody’s restaurant. Just think, you could enjoy a King Swiss ( rare ) before boarding your flight on Swiss Air !
    Phil

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

    I posted this in the new Memories section herein, but seems relevant here as well, per being between Hollywood Riv and CC, i.e. BC ElS , as possibly a place where Smorgie Managers/Supers might take Chicas they “befriended” who frequented Woody’s as struggling Actresses (or Actors):
    – My memory circa ’60-’63, recalls dining a few times in the landmark for LAX http://www.roadarch.com/13/5/lax.jpg I’m vaguely remembering it revolved slowly, but was later stopped. In the ’90s, it was apparently renovated and named “Encounter”, but closed in the about ’14. Did it have a starting name?

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Monday ~ Two phrases ………

    Mr. Wood provided the store managers with business cards.
    A familiar phrase used on the cards was ” for mountainous appetites “.

    The lesser known was : ” New Horizons In Food Service “.

    A little trivia for a boring Monday.
    Phil

  • mark says:

    Speaking of WW2.
    I have pictures of Tony Husar at the barracks during the training for deployment to the assault on the homeland of Japan.
    Thank GOD the nuclear option forced an end to the war and Dad came home.

  • Chris P. says:

    When we aquired the Company, that included all the rights to pretty much everything including logos. We never had any issues.

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

    Whoa…I cannot say that I knew Mr. Wood in any way given my brief time and as a line-guy, in contrast to many of you Guys. The only contacts I had, were a few times working the Dinner register as he and The Guy, The GM(?) who kinda resembled Anthony Perkins http://tinyurl.com/km9peun ?,stood by that “side counter” on the hall-like way into the Back Room. Alas, I find it “contrary”…LOL…to read he was a fan of Patton, given how Patton was depicted in movies, i.e. my impression was Mr. Wood had a softer “edge”…LOL…as he tried to alter my post-grad plans by asking me to consider going to the U of Hawaii to get a further degree in Hotel/Restaurant management (I’d never heard of such a thing at the time…LOL)
    (As an aside per the past several days being Remembrances of the War in the Pacific: 9 New Mexican (of now 12 remaining) survivors were honored in a Baatan Memorial Park in ABQ by the Filipino community and local government and community. They were part of 1800 New Mexican National Guard in the Philippines who were part of 60K troops forced into the Baatan Death March (consider a search of Google Videos) of which 900 made it home to NM. (I regret not prying my MA Dad per being part of MacArthur’s liberation army.) Also and annually for just a couple of days, Trinity Site, where The Bomb was tested in NM, is open for Folks to walk to ground zero http://tinyurl.com/zrjfxjb. God Bless so many Gals and Guys who nationally made it possible for us to read/write in Evan’s Blog today.

  • Evan Zang says:

    Mark and all – Doug “Bugsy” Anderson (AKA “the naked guy on the roof”) actually turned out OK. Beginning in 1973, “Bugsy” played bass and rhythm guitar for Tim Weisberg, the Jazz flute player. Doug is listed on several Weisberg album credits. What I love about our Woody’s site is that there are so many cool “branches” of memories and recollections in addition to our shared interests with Smorgasburgers and Matterhorns.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Tuesday 2 ~ 47 !

    I would like to use this space to congratulate Chris and his Bride on their Forty Seventh Wedding Anniversary . Well done you guys !
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Tuesday ~ Were is my clothes iron ? …….

    Well, thanks Marshall for adding a new wrinkle to my mug theory.
    But, what you said regarding the Steve Dabbs timeline makes sense.
    I was mulling this over breakfast and all I came up with is : Perhaps Steve
    asked for legal permission to use the Smorgasburger logo on the mugs only.

    I am sure Chris had some issues of this type during his ownership of Culver City and El Segundo, so maybe he will shed some light on the possibilities.
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Sunday 2 ~ sharing my latest fortune cookie ……….

    A while back I shared with you my new found trick of adding ” in Bed ” to my after dinner fortune cookie.

    Here is my most recent;

    All the troubles you have will pass away very quickly …… ” in bed “.
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Sunday ~ Ralph Wood with General Patton ……

    I was reviewing one of Ralph Wood’s obits which very briefly described
    Ralph’s time in General Patton’s 3rd Army during WWII . Ralph was born in 1925 so he was but 19 years old when he was liberating towns in Europe and then came to face the Battle of the Bulge.

    Mr. Wood was a huge fan of protocol and followed this theme while owning and operating Woody’s SmorgasBurger. ( almost to a fault ).
    He would always communicate through his general manger rather than do his own in store evaluations or whatever. And the general manager never talked to the line employees and rarely to the assistant mangers.
    Only to the mangers.

    Of course we all have seen many WWII movies , and now I think of Ralph Wood on the front lines calling for more ammo.
    I was reminding Chris that the Woods were married for 67 years.
    Quite a guy .

    Phil

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    THE MUG MYSTERY CONTINUES………….
    Working for Steve Dabbs at the Westwood location, I’m not sure the ‘little yodeler’ would have been used on the beer mugs. By the time beer was added to the menu, the location was no longer an official ‘Smorgasburger’, but simply ‘Woody’s Westwood’. I always remembered that mug as a root beer mug. It’s possible we had both ‘Lyons’ and ‘yodeler’ mugs at one time or another.

    And Marc……. I had a similar experience delivering the Santa Monica Evening Outlook, only I didn’t have to work on Sundays (no Sunday paper with them….) I was able to save up enough money to buy my first car, and pay for my junior college education……..Being a paperboy was an excellent learning experience.

  • mark says:

    Evan,
    Best friend was an Anderson? Any relation to Randy Anderson? Andersons dad ran a small store down on Catalina near Knob Hill. randy graduated RUHS in 72 as I recall.

  • mark says:

    Sorry for the double post. I had to attend to another issue and thought I had let the page expire so I reposted basically the same content.
    Moderator, please feel free to delete either one.
    Thanks

  • mark says:

    Hello All,
    Evan, I remember your parents. I delivered the daily breeze to their home 7 days a week. At the end of the month when I collected the subscription amount, $2.75 your parents were always most gracious!! Out of 75 homes that I delivered on my route, I always had their paper on the front porch!!
    I was probably 13 years old or so and appreciate the life lessons we were forced to learn back then. Let me explain;

    Paperboys delivered 7 days per week and the Sunday edition delivery started at 4;30 am. Our papers were delivered to our corner bu 3:30 in bundles of 25. They were folded, banded, loaded onto out bikes and delivered no later than 6pm. Sunday delivery was completed by 6:30am. If you didn’t get it done…as Trump would say “you’re fired”.
    At the end of the month you collected $200.00+ and submitted to the route mgr by the 3rd day of the new month. Lot of responsibility expected from you at an early age.
    Today, the kids are locked in the house playing xbox and puter games. By the time the are 15 they can’t take a dump without their mommy there. They look for a mommy figure to marry and that’s why the divorce rate is 60% or so.

    I was at your parties. Nuff said. However, I was the guy who hung the mutilated, bloody mannequin off the large tree branch hanging out over PCH, almost in front of your place. It caused a lot of ruckus, but there were not any Police sirens or Swat teams. the locals were pretty cool.

    Those were the days!

  • mark says:

    Evan,
    I remember your parents. I delivered the D.B. to their home and when it came time to collect the fee at the end of the month…your parents were most gracious!! One of the houses on my route of 75 homes where I always had the paper on the front step.
    A part of the maturity process has been lost. Let me explain. The papers came to us in blocks of 50, and we folded, banded and loaded them onto our bikes. We delivered 7 days a week with the Sunday routine starting at 4:30 am. We were required to be timely or as Trump would say, “you’re fired”.
    At the end of the month you collected the fee and handed it over to your route manager by the 3rd day of the new month.
    That was $150.00 + you had to handle, and get it right.
    Kids now-a-days don’t have that responsibility. They play xbox and other crap and by 15 the are a bunch of weak willed, candy ass snowflakes who can’t take a dump without their mommy there. Then they marry a girl who has the title 19 attitude, stick it out for a few years and then walk. So, 60% divorce rate.
    I am so thankful to my parents for the sacrifices they made to raise us in R.B..

    Yea…I was there. And I hung the bloody mannequin off the tree limb hanging over PCH out in front of your place.
    Those were the days

  • Evan Zang says:

    Bob, you lived in Manhattan Beach? Wow, in the 60’s, Manhattan was where only the coolest dudes hung out. In 1962 I was 11 years old, but later, at 16 when I received my first California driver’s license, my friends and I would methodically cruise Manhattan and Hermosa Beach in a vain effort to meet bikini clad young ladies. Unfortunately, the ladies in question had little interest in guys who were still trying to figure out the best way to use Clearasil, and the only “rides” we actually owned were Hobie, Jacobs, and Greg Knoll surfboards. Growing up in Redondo, I had no illusions that the grass was probably much greener in Manhattan and Hermosa. Indeed, the really “rich kids” went to Rolling Hills and Palos Verdes High School, while the rest of us riff raff valiantly fought the staff at Redondo Union High School (RUHS) in an effort to be allowed to grow our hair longer (“slightly over the collar of our button down shirts”). Mark, you have a great memory! Our paperboy? Was it the Daily Breeze? My parents purchased that white house at the top of Ruby Street for a (then) unthinkable $30,000. They also purchased 2 Triplex apartment buildings on the corner of Knob Hill and PCH (as you mentioned, directly across the street from Foster’s Freeze and South Elementary School). About the time I turned 18 my parents let me and another buddy live “rent free” for the Summer in one of those Knob Hill Triplex units. The parties my roommate and I threw were unforgettable, and, in certain ways, unforgivable. I do remember my father showing up one evening around 11 PM because he was receiving multiple noise complaints from the Knob Hill tenants and neighboring homeowners. I clearly remember opening the door, totally surprised, and nervous, upon seeing my dad on our ground floor apartment doorstep. But he wasn’t looking at me, nor at the 95 or so “guests” that were crammed together in our tiny place. Indeed, his eyes were skyward. “Evan, he said, “Stop the party right now, and ask your friends to clean this place up.” I sheepishly promised I would, and as he reached into his pocket for his car keys, he turned back towards me, and said: “And get that naked guy off our roof!” All I could do was look up, and there he was, my long haired school friend “Bugs” Anderson, completely naked, and waving to cars on PCH as they went by. Mark, if you, or your brother Jim were at that particular party, then you experienced a part of Redondo history that happened long before John Belushi and his Toga Pals ever graced a movie screen!

  • mark says:

    Hello Evan,
    A coincidence in time and space. For awhile, i was the paperboy who delivered the paper every day to the house on Ruby. If memory serves me well, it was the large property on the corner. Later on, about 1970 to 1972 i recall joining my brother Jim over at your place playing music and drinking. Memorable party at a place you lived at over off PCH, kitty corner from the Foster Freeze.
    Another moment in time…jim driving his 68 bug to the orange County bug in…and torturing you on the way home with his continuous playing of his Ventures tape. He drove you nuts with that music!!!
    Yes, little did I know how fortunate we were to come of age in R.B..

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

    Ha ha Evan….in my time living in a Manhattan Ave “studio” in Hermosa http://tinyurl.com/l7pwggq ’62-’63, had fun VESPAing to HollyRiv’s Woody’s (or subbing on occasion up at CC) past a King Harbor that didn’t exist, but where I later enjoyed a CheeseCake Factory’s dockside “patio” in the ’90s….LOL.
    In ’63 my Sis was out for just a few months and attended Redondo High. Being from Massachusetts, she was awe struck to see teachers in Bermuda shorts and Flip-Flops, the latter which didn’t exist as yet back in staid New England. For months thereafter back in MA, she was literally sought after to amaze buddies/strangers with descriptions of LA if not but The Malls…LOL. You really didn’t know how blessed you were with what you grew up in! Pardon per repeating myself, but do recall a restaurant akin to the likes of Don the BeachComber’s/Trader Vic’s, albeit smaller, on Catalina Ave in Holly Riv?
    “I can’t help but miss the days….” Indeed, you and I and others herein didn’t realize it but http://tinyurl.com/l5zxc68 ! So frustrating trying to convey that to my late teen G-daughters for wherein they exist today….such that it is….but nowhere near…so sadly….the same!

  • EvanZang says:

    Bob, it gives me a chill to see the changes in my beloved Redondo Beach. I grew up there, in the early 60’s, living first on Avenue “G,” then Knob Hill, and later, on Ruby Street, all with a view of the Pacific. It was a sleepy town then – no Condos blocking our ocean view, and no Boutique shops, etc. KFC wasn’t around, but we did have a Mr. C’s Broasted Chicken near Avenue “A.” Frozen yogurt outlets were nonexistent, but we had a wonderful 31 Flavors in the Riviera. Taco Bell hadn’t arrived yet, but there was a great Taco Tio on PCH. Indeed, the only worthy hamburger destination nearby wasn’t a Burger King or a MAC. It was Woody’s. I realize progress is inevitable, and change is good, but I can’t help but miss the days of a televised Moon landing followed by an evening of buttered popcorn and a great film while parked at the Torrance Drive-In!

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Thursday 2 ~ Just have to share this ……….

    I just treated Mary Ann to lunch at our favorite Chinese place.
    As we were opening our fortune cookies, Mary Ann said she wanted to share this little quip she learned from her lady friends;

    Whenever you read your fortune , always add the phrase ” in bed “.

    Such a hoot ! I am still laughing. This should work 98% of the time.
    No SmorgasBurger tie in this time …… just fun.

    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Thursday ~ The beer mug , ( not the LYONS root beer mug ) ………

    Chris confirmed that the mug shown in Bob’s recent link was NOT associated with his # 7 store in El Segundo. So, we are now confident that Steve Dabbs was the man who purchased these beer mugs for his Westwood Village store.
    The theft ratio must have been extremely high. OUCH.
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Monday night ~ OR ………

    This Woody’s beer mug may well have originated with Steve Dabbs.
    Steve took over the Woody’s store near UCLA in Westwood Village in later 1971.
    One of his very first changes brought beer to the menu board so this mug could well have been his idea. ( probably chilled just like the Lyons mugs )

    Anyway, this issue should be resolved pretty quickly with Chris checking in.
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Monday Night ~ Such a surprise ! …………..

    Bobber, I just read your most recent posting which includes a link to the Woody’s root beer mug. I have NEVER been aware of such a mug with the Woody’s script and mountaineer logo. It looks gorgeous !
    I thought the mugs were only made with the LYONS logo.

    Holy crap ! Who can help me out on this issue. ??
    Off the top of my head , I am thinking they were NOT an IHOP edition.

    Chris, could this mug be one of your ideas. WOW !!!!
    The Lyons mugs were 10 oz. and this Woody’s edition looks much larger.
    Hey, maybe Chris had these made to serve beer in El Segundo.
    I would now bet Mary Ann’s retirement funds that this is the answer.

    Now I get to start searching everywhere possible so that I might come to own one. Once again Bob , your side links are priceless. Thank you so much and please continue to include them.

    Who knows if I will sleep tonight.
    Phil

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

    a) Alas Chris, before it became the Plush Horse http://tinyurl.com/lckl9gc, might is not have been a See’s Candies shoppe, i.e. just a stand-alone “cottage” to the far north?
    Yo, while trying to verify the Plush Pony/Horse was previously See’s Candies, ran across a Woody’s rootbeer mug! http://tinyurl.com/k5ccrgj
    Similarly, “verified” my dogged Hollywood Riviera claim….LOL….
    Elsewise being across the street, we see Plush Pony/Horse was in Redondo http://tinyurl.com/l7j5j9v How about a Filet at the Plush Horse for freekin $5.95???! http://tinyurl.com/m2ytbdy

    b) Alas Evan, while waiting to rent The Founder, enjoy Trailers at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4276820/
    Elsewise, I agree the Hula Burger was a tad off the wall, let alone bordered on blasphemous, but Kudos for using the ShotGun approach of shooting crazy ideas to see what sticks. I get a boot that The Chains, e.g. McD’s, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr. etc. had to succumb here in New Mexico to putting Green Chile on their burgers to compete with LOCALS who adopted that ShotGun venture early on. Does anyone know if it was Woody or some lowly LineMan that came up with the idea of putting a tad of beet juice in the lemonade bubble to make Pink Lemonade!!!?

    c) Lest some might forget, how about the very first Marineland….was it not in San Diego but first up in PV? http://tinyurl.com/kcjgtye ?

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Monday 2 ~ Woody’s #2 neighbors ~

    Ah, the Original Pancake House. Home of the fabulous food and service, plus the 45 minute wait for seating. My blood sugar counts cannot tolerate any delays in being seated so I am not a patron as often as I might like.
    Our daughter in Minneapolis LOVES her OPH location and always wants to take us there.
    I think Chris is very fortunate to have a OPH store so close to home.

    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Monday ~ a little more fun …….

    For the Bobber ; You didn’t go far enough North to locate the 5529 South address. It is in Culver City and belonged to none other than Woody’s #1.
    Today of course it belongs to the El Pollo Loco. ( Last 30 years already ! )
    Phil

  • Chris Pingel says:

    The Plush Horse building as well as the hotel, the old Plush Pony coffee shop and all the shops in between are going to be demolished soon for a whole new developement.
    The hotel has been closed for some time. There was a fire on one of the upper floors. I don’t think the hotel was doing very well anyway. The restaurants have also changed names etc, and they have been closed now for some time as well.
    I go to the Panckes house next door for breakfast a few times a month and that’s how I know.
    I passed the Rock n Brew (on the old Woody’s site) last night on my way to W’s China Bistro and noticed it was packed as usual. Miss seeing the old Woodys building.
    Casa Palido in Riviera Village has also closed. It had been there for many, many years I used to go there because the salsa and the food were good.
    More later.
    Thanks,
    Chris

  • Chris Pingel says:

    The old Plush Pony restaurant as well as the entire hotel and all the shops next to it and The Plush Horse building will all be demolished soon to make way for a new developement. I will keep you posted on what the plans are.
    My guess is condos, but, I’ll find out for sure.

  • Evan Zang says:

    Really enjoying all the Woody’s comments on the board. Have not had much to add lately, other than I am waiting for The Founder to come out on DVD so I can rent it. Phil, sounds like you found it enjoyable. I’m a Ray Kroc fan, and still laugh when I think of him trying to introduce the Hula Burger to the MAC menu. It flopped, of course. From MAC Wiki: “The Hula Burger was a meatless burger introduced in the 1960’s by Ray Kroc to McDonald’s. It was a substitute for American Catholics that would not eat meat on Friday. The burger was a slice of grilled pineapple with cheese on a bun. But this was designed to go up against the Filet-O-Fish, which was created by a Catholic McDonald’s Franchisee Louis M. “Lou” Groen. McDonald’s killed the Hula Burger early on, as it became quickly evident that its alternative, the Filet-o-Fish, was getting much better traction.”

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

    Alas Phil, you must show more respect…LOL…for the nuances of “hometown boundaries” per not being in LA. E.g. the 755 North address is in El Segundo and Google Maps show this http://tinyurl.com/lm6zsyf (with your vacant lot?) while apparently 5529 is in Manhattan Beach http://tinyurl.com/lk4xkpl. Elsewise, there is a 5529 down in Torrance http://tinyurl.com/koo7boy Reminds me of trying to find an address in Beverly Hills to interview for a job as a Valet….the north side of a street was in one city while the south side was in another city with both sides having different numbering! (How did the Valet parking job work out, you ask? Was quite naive not knowing what Primo jobs they were (e.g. tip wise) and how important it was to have some “juice” to get one….LOL)

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Saturday ~ An added detail ………..

    The Plush Horse in Redondo was the larger restaurant on the property.
    The Plush Pony was the smaller adjoining coffee shop.
    There was a small lounge/bar that may well have been called the Plush _____? Have a great weekend !

    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ Friday 6 ~ A perplexing thought ……..

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

    Phil

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

    Phil

  • 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.
    Phil

  • 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.
    Phil

  • 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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