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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meddle View Post
    The only HoJos I remember was on Northwestern and the only thing I remember about them was the Fried Clams.
    There was also a HOJOs in Southgate on Dix near Eureka.

  2. #52

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    Big Boy is simply a tired concept. Tastes change over time.

  3. #53

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    This is not firsthand, but might be credible. My in laws were eating at one (somewhere around or in Commerce Township) and they mentioned that it wouldn't be a Big Boy much longer. They said that corporate is insisting that all franchises remodel their locations to make them look like their current design, and their franchises are not renewed if they refuse. So the owner may keep the place open but stick a new name on the front and change up the menu just enough to keep the lawyers at bay.

  4. #54

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    As so many here have said, times change and tastes change, and restaurants come and go. My opinion is that BB is as doomed as were Bill Knapp's, Howard Johnson's, and Burger Chef (the one fast-food joint that was distinctly inferior to McDonald's).

    When I was a kid the Big Boys in central Pennsylvania were Elby's Big Boys, and when we visited relatives there I would be as hot for a Big Boy as my Mom was for the Strawberry pie. But now? Meh. I used to go to the one on Telegraph south of Maple and the one at Maple and Orchard Lake (both long-since closed), but towards the end they were both looking pretty drab and run-down and the menus were really tired.

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don K View Post
    ... and the menus were really tired.
    I have to agree here. I hadn't been at a Big boys for a long time because most of the ones in my area have closed over years. One, where the waitresses knew me as a regular and what I'd usually order, closed without any warning whatsoever (to me, anyways) so the land it occupied could become part of a hospital's expanded parking lot . I still recall my shock to drive into the parking lot, only to find that the doors were locked with a note on the door announcing the permanent closure.

    Last year, a group of friends and I got together at the Big Boys at 12 and Hoover. I didn't expect to see that my favorites from the past no longer appeared on the menu. So, I decided to have the spaghetti. It turned out to be rather bland and tasteless, and the meat sauce didn't taste that good either. As disappointing as the experience was, I wasn't too disappointed once the decision was made to meet elsewhere for dinner in the future.
    Last edited by 248lurker; October-20-17 at 12:07 AM.

  6. #56

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    I was buying dinner late one night, and thought I could catch the Panera's at Six Mile and Newburgh, but was too late. Desperate, I noticed lots of cars at the Big Boy across the parking lot - something I haven't seen in a while. I tried it, and was pleasantly surprised - the food was decent, the restaurant was clean, and the staff was friendly. That was a big change from my last visit to a Big Boy.

  7. #57

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    what is happening to the one that was on Michigan Avenue between Oakman & Schaefer in Dearborn? it's being renovated into something else.

  8. #58

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    Closed, sat dormant for a few years. Now inner part torn out... new restaurant I suppose coming.

  9. #59

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    The do have a good cream of broccoli soup!

    Quote Originally Posted by archfan View Post
    I was buying dinner late one night, and thought I could catch the Panera's at Six Mile and Newburgh, but was too late. Desperate, I noticed lots of cars at the Big Boy across the parking lot - something I haven't seen in a while. I tried it, and was pleasantly surprised - the food was decent, the restaurant was clean, and the staff was friendly. That was a big change from my last visit to a Big Boy.

  10. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by lpg View Post
    There was also a HOJOs in Southgate on Dix near Eureka.
    Before the Big Boy on E. Jefferson was Big Boy it was a Howard Johnson restaurant. On a recent trip to Detroit in Sept. I was so looking forward to going to the Big Boy on Jefferson for the Sunday buffet only to find out it was no longer there.

  11. #61

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    I went as Big Boy for halloween one year as a kid, complete with papier mache giant burger. What will the kids go as in the future? Chik-fil-A, Chipotle and Potbelly just don't call to mind a character like Big Boy!

  12. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don K View Post
    As so many here have said, times change and tastes change, and restaurants come and go. My opinion is that BB is as doomed as were Bill Knapp's, Howard Johnson's, and Burger Chef (the one fast-food joint that was distinctly inferior to McDonald's).
    In the case of Bill Knapps, management actively drove customers away. If you recall, Knapps was an “old people’s restaurant.” Average age of a Bill Knapps customer had to be 70-80. In 1998 new management took over and they didn’t want all these old farts as customers. They changed the menu and did other things that drove away the old people. Problem is, they failed to attract new, younger customers and in 2002 Knapps went out of business.

  13. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat001 View Post
    In the case of Bill Knapps, management actively drove customers away. If you recall, Knapps was an “old people’s restaurant.” Average age of a Bill Knapps customer had to be 70-80. In 1998 new management took over and they didn’t want all these old farts as customers. They changed the menu and did other things that drove away the old people. Problem is, they failed to attract new, younger customers and in 2002 Knapps went out of business.
    Knapp's was faced with the dilemma that a lot of "old folks" restaurants face. Like Sign of the Beefcarver, which had a similar customer base. You either sit back and watch your business inevitably dwindle as your customer base becomes progressively immobile and dies off, or you try to do something to save your business.

    The problem that restaurants like Knapp's have though (and Big Boy is now a similar case) is that they are totally tainted with being a place for older people, which renders them irredeemably uncool with anyone younger. Add to that changes in the culture, the economy, and the dining scene, which mean that younger people are not going to want to sit around in a quiet-as-a-mausoleum place for an hour or more just to get some very plain and kind of tasteless old fashioned food, and you have a business model that probably can't be saved. If you go downtown, or out to various 'hot' places in the suburbs, you can see what sort of dining options appeal to younger people today, and places like Big Boy definitely ain't it.

    But you can hardly blame the late Bill Knapp's, or Big Boy, for trying.

  14. #64

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    When I was a kid I loved Big Boys. The last time I went it was pretty bad though. But if today it was as good as I remembered it being as a kid I'd go there.

    I think places like panera show that there's still interest in soup and sandwiches. Cafes/coffee is more popular than ever. People still like sundaes. Fuddruckers sells hamburgers and milkshakes. Big Boys is associated with old people for sure, but the big boy himself is a cultural icon that people still like. The bigger problem imo is that Big Boy is associated with bad food.

  15. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    Big Boys is associated with old people for sure, but the big boy himself is a cultural icon that people still like.
    One thing for sure -- when Big Boy's corporate symbol is a fat, greasy-haired, rosy-cheeked man/boy dressed in red and white checkered bib overalls, no one can accuse them of cultural appropriation.

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    Last edited by Pat001; November-07-17 at 01:22 PM.

  16. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat001 View Post
    One thing for sure -- when Big Boy's corporate symbol is a fat, greasy-haired, rosy-cheeked man/boy dressed in red and white checkered bib overalls, no one can accuse them of cultural appropriation.

    Ah yes, "cultural appropriation," one of the favorite fictitious "microaggressions" or "triggers" of fragile SJWs. They are so comical.

  17. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat001 View Post
    In the case of Bill Knapps, management actively drove customers away. If you recall, Knapps was an “old people’s restaurant.” Average age of a Bill Knapps customer had to be 70-80. In 1998 new management took over and they didn’t want all these old farts as customers. They changed the menu and did other things that drove away the old people. Problem is, they failed to attract new, younger customers and in 2002 Knapps went out of business.
    Knapps had a gimmick where on your birthday, you got that percent off on your meal. 80th birthday meant 80% off. The old folks loved it. Every time I visited my parents back when they were in their 60s and 70s, we went to Bill Knapp's.

  18. #68

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    That was funny! I get that some levels of cultural appropriation is not cool, but taken to an insane, micro level renders nearly every one guilty of it on some level at some time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat001 View Post
    One thing for sure -- when Big Boy's corporate symbol is a fat, greasy-haired, rosy-cheeked man/boy dressed in red and white checkered bib overalls, no one can accuse them of cultural appropriation.

  19. #69

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    I just went to the one on Mack in GP. It was ok, but what was that off smell on the premises? Place seemed clean enough but for sure a bit worn.

    The cream of broccoli soup did not disappoint!
    Last edited by Zacha341; November-12-17 at 03:00 PM.

  20. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zacha341 View Post
    I just went to the one on Mack in GP. It was ok, but what was that off smell on the premises. Place seemed clean enough but for sure a bit worn.

    The cream of broccoli soup did not disappoint!
    I was so disappointed on my last trip to Detroit when I found a Big Boy near the airport and they did not have Cream of Broccoli soup.

  21. #71

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    Ate at the Maple / Livernois location last night (1-18) Arrived at about 6:15pm. The place was surprisingly busy, about 75% filled, maybe more. Lots of older people, some younger people, some tables with parents and kids. This was a chilly winter Thursday night. The food was good, tasted like it always has, everybody eating there seemed happy. The waitress said they were going to switch over to a new menu with more of the old stuff on it.

  22. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastsideAl View Post
    Better food might help. It's hard to justify sitting around a restaurant wasting time, having to wait for service, pay more, and tip, for food that's just a slight cut above McDonalds.
    Exactly why I'm not crying over the closure on Eureka in Taylor.

  23. #73

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    Always thought "Elias" was the given name.

    Once I traveled, I learned about "Frisch's" in Ohio and Kentucky.

  24. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastsideAl View Post
    But you can hardly blame the late Bill Knapp's, or Big Boy, for trying.
    I don't blame any business tagged with being terminally unhip and stuck with a dying base of customers for trying to change things. Kind of like when Olds redid their lineup to try to get rid of the "old guy's car" stigma.

    The problem is these efforts rarely work - the old folks run away and generally aren't replaced with a younger clientele. So RIP Olds, Bill Knapp, and probably soon, Big Boy.

  25. #75

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    'Twas Elby's in Pennsylvania. We never had Big Boys in New Jersey, and I looked forward to visiting the relatives in PA for the opportunity to eat at Elby's

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