Remembering Big Boy Restaurant in Sanford

I grew up eating at Bob’s Big Boy during summers when I visited my paternal grandmother, who lived in Glendale, California. I hoped to recapture some of that magical time in my life by visiting a Big Boy that I had heard had opened up in Sanford, Florida.

Frisch’s Big Boy might sound much more familiar to you if you grew up in the Midwest. In February 2009, I went to Atlanta, Georgia, with a couple of my buddies to eat; that’s it.

I planned to stop at the Big Boy restaurant on the way up, but my supposed pals had other ideas. It made us venture too far west, so I was outvoted two to one.

Big Boy Double Deck Hamburger
Big Boy Double Deck Hamburger

Years later (during National Burger Month), I convinced my wife to drive there while we stayed in Orlando. Sanford is just north of there.

I was excited during the drive and even more excited when I saw the 8-foot-tall Big Boy outside the restaurant. All that excitement went away once I ate the Big Boy.

*So much so that I lost interest in documenting the experience on the Burger Beast Blog.

8 Foot Tall Big Boy Statue
Neon Orange Buffalo Style Chicken Tenders
Onion Rings & Fries
Triple-Decker Turkey Club Sandwich
Big Boy Double Deck Hamburger
Big Boy Double Deck Hamburger

Yes, the Big Boy looks like a Big Mac, and no, Big Boy did not copy McDonald’s. It was the other way around, a true story.

But then again, you might have known that already if you read my book All About the Burger.

*This post was written after the Sanford Big Boy location shut down.

10 thoughts on “Remembering Big Boy Restaurant in Sanford”

  1. my dad used to go to the original one in Glendale there was one in Whittier California that we all hung out at I worked in palm springs big boy I wish there were more around in Florida. I wish I could open one in Tarpon Springs Florida with all the original recipes and quality service. or I could just take a trip to Michigan.

  2. About this particular location in Sanford–the problems were all about the management.

    I went to Shoney’s Big Boy back in the day in Mississippi and my husband and I adore the chain, but these people just ran the local ones into the ground. I’m writing this in 2024 on “Big Boy” day, several years later, but I’m still very, very unhappy about it.

    When one opened in Altamonte Springs, we went to it a few times. The service was terrible and there was an overbearing “friendly” waitress who constantly annoyed us by hovering, chatting, running on and on about local gossip that we cared nothing for, yelling to the cook from the dining area and not getting our food out or our orders right. Too busy talking and not doing her job. It was awful. We quit going.

    We were then delighted to find the Sanford Big Boy location, which had none of that drama. Just good food.

    So, we went there for awhile with no problems, then lo and behold, the annoying waitress appeared there. She remembered us and hovered around our table yet again. Ugh! Apparently, this waitress was one of the owner(s) of the two locations. She told us that the Altamonte Springs location had closed and she would be in Sanford from now on. We left, pretty much writing off ever going back there and it closed soon after.

  3. Bob’s Big Boy and Frisch’s Big Boy make their Big Boy burgers differently.
    Bob’s puts 1000 Island on the burger and Frisch’s puts tartar sauce on theirs.
    Tatar sauce makes the big boy, 1000 Island makes it a Big Mac.


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