Woody’s Smorgasburger III

We’ve had so many messages posted here about the late, luscious Woody’s Smorgasburger that we have to break them up.  This is the third thread of comments.  You can read our article about Woody’s and the first batch of comments here.  You can read the second batch of comments here.  Please continue the discussion on this thread.

119 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger III

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

    For some of you CC “Guys”, here’s a bit of CC’s “founding” history I ran across taking a peek at “Ships” herein where this link was noted http://tinyurl.com/18r. At the bottom of that link are some possible nostalgia pics for some.

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

    Sorry if link is busted re CC ‘founding’. Try this https://www.culvercity.org/Visitors/CulverCityHistory/CulverCenter.aspx

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

    KISS’ Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley will open their 8th Rock & Brews this month in Albuquerque. The news article caught my eye as the reporter went to the trouble to include the fact that seating will be on “picnic table”….apparently he thought that a unique idea!!! Must be a young pup eh?
    Checking the web site out, I also found many of Y’all might not have heard of them, cuz besides ABQ they are in such ‘far out’ places like Overland Park, KS, our old place in Holly-Riv Redondo (is that where they got the picnic table idea?) and yes, El Segundo http://www.rockandbrews.com/redondobeach/
    Too Funny!

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

    Alas, one of the Principals of Rock & Brews has advised he glommed onto the picnic table idea while enjoying a few Octoberfests abroad.

  • Matt says:
  • Phil Ankofski says:

    For the days of Woody’s SmorgasBurger and the Admiral Risty.

    Good morning Readers,
    It is October 1st which means it is time to celebrate yet another remarkable anniversary for the Admiral Risty Restaurant in Palos Verdes.
    This is number 48 and the co owner and staff are marking the occasion while using the theme: ” Memories and Milestones “.

    Ralph Wood was 41 years old when he and his wife Barbara opened this dinner house in October, 1966. Mr. Wood continued to operate the four current SmorgasBurger units with Mr. Cramer as well.
    At the time, I remember Mr. Wood had an overwhelming concern about
    his ability to hire an honest bar tender. Liquor control was one aspect of the business that was new to him and he was afraid of losing his shirt.

    Wayne Judah joined the staff while yet a young man around 1970.
    Wayne himself has more than 44 years of service with the Risty and he became a co owner and general manager very early in this time frame. Well done Wayne !

    Over the years, Mr. Wood put his three sons to work at the Risty at different times and different level of responsibility. Not all worked out as hoped, but that is natural in family relationships and to be expected anyway.

    Mr. Wood is 89 this year and looks great. He is fully retired because he has several health issues and is now residing in a assisted living home in PV.
    48 years is a remarkable milestone in the restaurant business. It is much harder than it looks. Many of you probably have kids that are near 48.
    Mr. Woods daughter lives nearby and takes care of her dads affairs.

    The staff and patrons of the Admiral Risty obviously appreciate the same
    personal qualities of Mr. Wood as we did at the SmorgasBurgers.
    It looks like Mr. Wayne Judah and staff are cooking up some special events and festivities throughout October. I do hope Mr. Wood will be able to participate and enjoy all the good vibes that will surely be coming his way.
    I sure wish I could be on hand as well.

    Congratulations Mr. Wood, Mr. Judah and all those associated with the Admiral Risty, past and present.

    Phil Ankofski

    ~ I will attempt to include a current photo link of Mr. Wood.
    If not successful, you can go to the Admiral Risty web site, then go to ‘Home”
    and then go to ” News “.
    The photo features Mr. Wood in wheel chair with Wayne Judah. ~

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

    Thanks Phil for the Admiral Risty update and link for Mr. Wood’s pic.
    I’ve sent a little ‘note’ off for Mr. W via Mr. Judah asking that he share it with Mr. Wood. Lest others wish to try, wayne@admiralristy.com which I got off the restaurant’s website.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Very nice gesture Bobber ! I always thought you were one of the good guys,
    no matter what Santa says. Count me in as well, I’m aboard.
    Mr.Wood’s daughter sees Mr. Judah very often, so between the two of them they can hand off any email messages on a timely basis.

  • Jackson says:

    Hi there. 2 questions if I might; do you remember a Kenneth Lubow in relation to the Woody’s in Culver city? And do you remember the King’s Arms in Studio City?

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Greetings again from the pacific northwest….although I do miss southern California!

    Chris P. mentioned the cactus mats. We used them in WV, although I don’t remember calling them that. Hated cleaning those things.

    Someone mentioned that it would be nice if we had more customers (like Sherrie!) stop by here and post their Woodys Smorgasburger memories. I heartily agree. I’ll see if can post up some links on some special FB pages I frequent…….

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    For the days of Woody’s and other Smokey Places.

    I am not sure if folks here are miss speaking by using the term ‘ Cactus mats’.
    Or perhaps these mats were used at the entrances.

    Duck Boards were used on the line at CC and ES during my days there.
    They were narrow wooden slats connected by strong rubber strips so they could be easily rolled up and taken outside for cleaning.
    This early morning chore was the responsibility of Max who was the 7 day per week janitor. Max cleaned airplanes at night and then cleaned floors at ES and then drove north to clean CC.

    I think Redondo used something like a heavy duty rubber mats that had some degree of cushion to it. If Bobber in NM remembers differently, I will stand corrected. I thought the newer ‘ Rock and Brew ‘ currently on the Redondo site would prove to be a lousy business model, but I guess they are doing well.

    Thanks Matt for your posting on the Tustin store location. I do enjoy learning details such as this. The current site and area looks fabulous, plus the lot size is extra generous for the drive thru format.
    Nothing like a few palm trees to peak my interest. Very nice.

    Remember, this is anniversary month at the Risty.
    For those of you who have an extra $125.00 for dinner and wine (2), why not call Wayne Judah at the Admiral Risty and make reservations this month.
    Ask for a table at the seaside windows.

    I guess Marshall and I will have to make due without.
    All my best,

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

    This is a bit of an aside, but couldn’t resist given my and some of Y’all’s ages and the adage “You’re never too old to learn!” Seriously! None of you Guys ever showed me how to eat a SmorgaBurger et al…Shame!!!! Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/nhp4vpt or am I wrong…LOL

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

    Yes, I’d say there was some kind of rubber mats that could be rolled up at Redondo. Still think I’m “hearing” a clickety-clack when walking on the “mats” at CC?

    Whoa re Rock and Brew. In Albuquerque they completely razed a restaurant and built their ‘mod’ version, which I’m giving them time to get all their ducks in a row before a visit.
    ~ HOWEVER, look what they’ve done to Redondo Woody’s…eeek! http://tinyurl.com/mh6u456 All that remains is the A-frame and if you zoom in, the entrance to Woody’s kitchen area on the left. The restrooms were just outside that entrance to the left and now they are on the other side of the building!!! I’m unfamiliar with the restaurant which was there before and thus a facade that can be seen in this now apparently old view http://tinyurl.com/py7fvlm from Vista del Mar. Obviously, Rock n Brew took that ‘closed-in facade off. Your pic of CC’s Woody’s is what the old Redondo more closely “resembled”.

  • Chris Pingel says:

    Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos,
    The Redondo Beach Woody’s was completely demolished to make way for the present Rock & Brew.
    There were numerous other restaurants that followed in the old closed Woodys building including one that Ralph Wood started right after he closed the Woodys. It was a Mexican Restaurant. I was there for a private opening.
    It didn’t last too long before being sold and turned into another Mexican restaurant which was better. It lasted for a few years then was sold again and converted to, yet again, another Mexican restaurant, after that it was followed by two different rib places, one was Chicago for Ribs and the other was Tony Roma’s, I believe. Both left and it became another restaurant, I forgot the name. I went there once. It was ok but didn’t last.
    That’s when Rock And Brew tore down the Woody’s building and put their new one on the same spot. It looks like it’s doing very well. When I go by it always seems to be pretty busy. I can’t remember the name of Mr. Wood’s Mexican restaurant was at the moment, but, when I do I’ll let you know.
    Take Care,

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

    Wow Chris, Thanks….that was quite an overview and interesting history. My years as a kid in MA were relatively short before going off to CA for college and it naively seemed, in staid MA, like things would last ‘forever’ . CA was such a shocking contrast in terms of places themselves, e.g. a Big Mac on “every” corner while just one didn’t appear in my home town till the ’70s, and how quickly things changed in LA…albeit, it looks like the same sawdust is on the floor of Philippe’s !!!! http://tinyurl.com/opp36ta

    What threw me off a bit was this Google St. view: http://tinyurl.com/mc9a5o8 (Note the date) After your review, I went back, but this time put my cursor in the middle of the street, clicked, and clicked again and noticed the date change. Put your cursor in the middle and over on the right and while holding down the mouse button move your mouse to the left. The Rock & Brew should come into view…Weird I never experienced that before!
    In the original pic of the inside of R&B, I just figured they opened up that south wall (which was “solid” in the ’60s). Window panels made up the north wall and I figured they just put in a half brick wall for some reason. What also threw me was this closer look near the bar: http://tinyurl.com/q8pj3sd Like I said, the now bricked in area on the left, had doors for the rest rooms and ‘there’ is the door to our kitchen prep area/manager’s nook etc. Where that half brick support ‘pillar’ is, would have been the corner of our serving counter by the register, running off to the right across that marble table and then back of the back of the bar would have been down the rest of our line, e.g. grill/salad area. I just thought the ceiling banners covered the peak. Alas, this is Albuquerque’s R&B featuring a high pitched ceiling and patios as well http://tinyurl.com/m82y54g

    (As an aside to All, this Saturday/Sunday check out ABQ’s International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta where about 550 balloons try to take off (almost) at once 9 AM EDST. Use Live Streaming at http://kob.com, http://krqe.com, or http://koat.com.)

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Thought I would post something new here (or is it new?).
    Lots have been mentioned about ‘other’ Woody’s Smorgasburgers that were open for a while, then closed. I don’t recall (at least recently) about the one in Orange, California. Not sure of the date when this one opened, but it was during the ’69-’72 time frame that I worked at Woody’s Westwood. I was asked to go help train the new line employees when it opened. Later on in the 80’s I made Orange, CA. my home for 28 years, but back in the early 70’s I had no idea where it was. I remember having to drive on the 405 to the 22 to get there, and it was a long way. Did it 2 days in a row as I recall. Anyway, it hasn’t been a Woody’s for a long time, but the building is still there, now owned by Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and used as some sort of office, I would imagine. (The actual hospital is about 100 yards to the left in the pic). The address is 549 Main St., just south of La Veta.. on the east side of the street. Pic link:

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Excellent posting Marshall ! Sargent Friday of the LAPD would be so proud.
    Thank you for the photo link as well.

    Somewhere back in time I came across a registration for the Orange location
    which was in late 71 or early 72.
    Keep in mind Mr. Cramer was getting older ( mid 70’s) and Mr. Wood wanted to continue the Woody’s business model on behalf of and for the benefit of his sons John and Chip who were both in their early 20’s.
    I think this was the reason for the famous ” split ” in 1971 when Mr. Wood and Mr. Cramer split the ownership of the then current six stores.

    I think son John was given the Orange store and when it closed he was put in charge of the Admiral Risty which did not turn out so well.
    Son Chip was given the follow up store in Tustin which had a short life as well. Third son Eric went off to college and majored in food service.
    Eric did put in time with the family restaurants, but I do not know which locations.

    The thing I don’t understand : When Woodland Hills (67) and Westwood Village (68) turned out to be under performing units, why would the Wood family proceed with the Orange and Tustin ventures ?
    It seems to me the handwriting was already on the wall.

    I would love to see additional input on this issue.

    So with Marshall’s posting on Orange , we now have confirmation that there are now three original Woody’s structures yet standing; Gardena , Orange and the beautiful El Segundo store ( which I feel Chris should buy back ).

    ~ I haven’t said HI to Mark Evanier in some time …… so, Hi Mark. ~

    As the months and now years go by, I wonder how Mark feels about learning most of the facets of Woody’s SmorgasBurger. His other restaurant sites cannot come close to the level of information shared here.
    And most of all, it is still fun.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    The days of Woody’s with Bob Anderson ~

    I have very recently learned that during Bob Anderson’s first tenure with Woody’s ( El Segundo ) that he attained the position of area supervisor.
    I am computing the time frame for this to be 1970, plus or minus.

    Since the GM was still around, I do not understand why the additional position of area supervisor was needed at the time.
    No matter, it did my heart good to learn this as I could not think of anyone more suited and deserving for this promotion. Well done Bob !

    Some time later Bob separated from the company and tried insurance sales and carpentry. Later yet, Bob rejoined the Woody’s El Segundo unit as manager when it was then under the ownership of Chris Pingel.
    I do not know the length of Bob’s second tenure time frame so I can’t provide the total number of years with the Woody’s banner, but it was a lot.

    Here’s hoping Bob is enjoying a happy and healthy life.

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