This project was the winner the prestigious Presidents Award for
historic preservation from the Los Angeles Conservancy. The Bob’s Big
Boy property was once home to Harvey’s Broiler and then Johnie’s
Broiler, two Downey drive-in/diner institutions. The original building
for the Broiler, as it is called, was one of the best examples of the
Googie-style midcentury modern architecture. This building has
been unanimously nominated to the California Register of Historic
In 2007, the former Harvey’s and Johnies Broiler building was almost completely demolished without a building permit or legally-required environmental clearance. The City of Downey partnered with a southern California Bob’s Big Boy franchisee to reconstruct the former Johnie’s Broiler building using the original building plans used to construct Harvey’s Broiler. Additionally, many unique and character-defining elements of the original building were reused to construct the new Bob’s Big Boy/Broiler building. The vision and determination of Jim Louder’s Bob’s Big Boy team cannot be understated. The City of Downey invested approximately $900,000 in this project, which resulted in the reconstruction of an important and culturally significant Downey icon and the creation of a new and thriving Bob’s Big Boy in Downey.