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.

221 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger III

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Another interesting link from Bob showed us the area designated as the Hollywood Riviera. When I managed the Woody’s Redondo store in 67/68
    I relocated to a rental which was located on Neece street near Newton Ave.
    This area was known to everyone including the map makers as the community of Walteria. It was separate, just like Lomita.

    Newton Ave, may have started in the Riviera , but as one proceeded to the southeast , Newton ran thru Walteria and then crossed Hawthorne Blvd.
    and continued into the city of Torrance.

    I know I would have had more fun telling my sisters back in Detroit that
    I was living on Neece, in the Hollywood Riviera !

    Phil A.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    All of the ex Woody’s guys I have reconnected with here, plus the guys I actually worked with are known to be fathers.
    Most are retired. Some are cruising the Pacific, some are farming, some are selling cars, some are reducing their landscapes, some are off playing in 116 degree desert. and some like me are enjoying time at the keyboard.
    In any case ….. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY !!!

    Phil

  • Evan Zang says:

    Wow great information Bob and Phil, thank you! I have a vague recollection that the manager I worked for at the Woody’s Redondo (Hollywood Riviera) owned a Datsun 2000 Roadster. Or was it the Datsun Roadster 1800? In any case he was a fun manager, clean cut and handsome (all the girls liked him). And though I was a mere part timer, he always made me feel at home. All that I ever learned about the food industry came from that manager. This would have been around 1967 or 1968 I believe. Phil, was that you? Wow!

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    I awoke from my afternoon nap recalling some good times at the base of the PV hill ( Walteria ). I would venture to say that most residents of Torrance, Lomita, Walteria and Redondo did aspire to move on up that PVE hill.
    A few of our own Woody’s guys were fortunate to have followed Ralph Wood
    up into those foggy environs. God bless ’em all. One guy really deserves it.

    While residing in Walteria , I had a short time girlfriend Pat, who had parents
    that also made it up the hill. Her dad was an oil exec with the nearby Chevron refinery. They lived in the 4400 block of Via Pavion, and to get to that street was a severe test on my 1964 Pontiac Catalina’s transmission.
    Even the 348 block V8 with 4 barrel carb was tested ….. but only because I could not get much of a running start up the hill.

    Pat had me over a few times for Sunday dinner and afterwards while the girls did kitchen cleanup, Mr. D. had us step out into his tiny backyard for a smoke.
    He was aware I worked at Woody’s as the store manager so he got started talking about the idea of me going back to college and getting a degree in
    the Institutional / Food Service field.

    Yeah right, I thought …… First of all, I already knew that I was not a
    ” people person ” and would not advance too far in that career path.
    Second, I already had tried twice to sustain an interest level in part time classes while working full time. And going part time at the ART CENTER
    School OF DESIGN in Pasadena would have taken me ten years to graduate.
    Besides, the school frowned upon part timers and allowed them only for short temporary circumstances.

    Once up that hill, I was very surprised to find the homes were built so close together. I was certainly used to the density concept from Walteria, Westchester and Culver City. I guess I expected to find all ranch style homes on 5 acre sites with ponies, dogs and chickens.
    Of course I am now aware that just a very few of those sites ever existed in the first place. Anyway, Mr. D. was an oil exec for a time in Mexico City, and he said the home sites there were all squeezed together in the same manner ………. just higher walls made from lava rock.

    As for Pat, she graduated from college in the spring of 1970, which was the exact time Chris married his bride Martha.
    A week after graduation, Pat married a guy 13 years older.

    The readers here may wonder why in the hell I am so chatty today.
    I almost don’t want to reveal the reason to you all.
    It is water.
    We, in central Ohio are in our tenth consecutive day of rain.
    Many of our counties have been under flood watches for days.
    Of course the areas of Texas and Oaklahoma are flooded already.
    I have no more indoor chores to do. So I am at the keyboard . Mary Ann is in seventh heaven watching Bette Davis and Kate Hepburn on the TCM channel.

    Throughout the course of these rainy days, I am always thinking of you guys
    no matter where in the west you are. I find I am admonishing myself for my own wasteful habits with water.
    I know this topic will be of growing concern as the months go by.
    One suggestion would be for all the Scotch and soda drinkers ; Straight up !

    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    For Evan,

    My tenure at the Redondo store was from March, 1967 thru Sept., 1968.
    The manager who preceded me was Richard Ingram.
    Neither Rich nor I were considered to be heart throbs.

    Lorin Buist followed me starting on October 1st, 1968 and was indeed a very handsome guy. I only met him the one time, which was his starting day and I handed over the keys to the store. I did not know the brand of his ride.

    Many years later I came to the understanding that Lorin went on to
    fantastic success with a wholesale cotton T shirt business.
    Readers here should not take this sentence as absolute fact because I do not recall who I learned this from. Anyway, I am thinking Lorin was probably your manager.
    Evan, if you write again, why not let us know what city you are in and which career path you followed.

    Finally a dry, sunny day here in Ohio. I am off to cut the grass.
    ( a proper Father’s day doing , don’t you think ? .
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    One last addition is in order for the surviving eateries with little or no changes. RANDY’S DONUTS !!! Located on Manchester Blvd. @ the 405.
    When this donut shop first opened in the very early 1950’s, it operated under it’s original name and became Randy’s some time later.
    All of you guys who lived in Inglewood and Westchester can probably offer additional facts ……. and perhaps some stories as well.

    This Randy’s was probably equally distant between the Woody’s in Culver City and the one in El Segundo. My point would be that if you lived in Westchester you could have all three of your daily meals covered between these three locations.

    Phil A.

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

    A rationale for making this comment for a recommendation for Phil’s Mary Ann’s affinity for Bette Davis in a Blog about restaurants: Many restaurants/bars etc. celebrate Cinco de Mayo. My presumption is most people don’t know what Cinco de Mayo is all about and presume its Mexican Independence Day. That’s 9/16! Cinco is actually not much celebrated in Mexico! My guess is a NM beer distributor started it for promoting “celebratory” sales between St. Paddy’s Day and the Fourth!!!
    Anyway, Bette, using her best facial hysteria (a carryover from going from silent movies to the Talkies) did a movie in ’39 named Juarez http://tinyurl.com/ntzg4b9 which explains what Cinco is actually all about as well as gives us insight into a previous Mexico/US bonding. Occasionally, Mary Ann might catch it on TCM or she can find it via Amazon http://tinyurl.com/qc5l4ec In addition, I recommend her Bio http://tinyurl.com/nbbxklk which was an eye-opener given my lead-in “Have never been a fan…albeit we are from the same hometown of Lowell, MA ((http://tinyurl.com/p7adusd )) to a Review as ’50s Guy…LOL

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Bob,

    Thanks for the movie star links, but my Mary Ann already knows as much about BD and KH as Mark Evanier knows about comics.
    ~ Looks like the big comic gathering starts this weekend in san Diego. ~

    We just saw the Brian Wilson bio ; Love and Mercy.
    I have followed Brian’s life and career plus concerts and yet it was very heartbreaking to see on the big screen what Brian endured at the hands of his father and therapist. He not only survived, but Brian went on to triumph.
    ( similar in some ways to Tina Turners life ) God bless you Brian.

    The Woody’s tie in would be this ; One of the early commenters on this site posted an item saying that Mike Love once worked at the Woody’s in Culver City circa 1960. Since that posting I had contacted Don Steinke who was the manager of Culver City store from mid 1956 to mid 1962.
    Don had no recollection whatsoever of Mike Love working for him, and Don certainly was aware of who Mike Love was. So be it.
    Do see the movie. Great casting all around .

    Phil A.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    ~ CORRECTION !! ~
    For any of the Readers here that were or are comic book fans, the annual
    COMIC ~ CON gathering in San Diego is set for July 9th thru 12th.
    Plenty of advance notice.

    In a very recent posting, I had listed the event for this weekend. WRONG !
    For further info, jump over to Mark Evanier’s ME site and scroll back
    for the informative comments.

    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    This is a ” heads up ” regarding a few current ebay offerings under the
    Woody’s SmorgasBurger banner.
    One is a coffee mug more reasonably priced @ 15.00
    Another is the Culver City postcard @ 7.00

    I am now wondering what the Original ( not IHOP ) dinner platters would
    go for.

    Phil

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

    1) In sending on info to Rock & Brews about it being on the original site of Woody’s in “Redondo”, I got carried away and asked them to consider doing an “On this site in 19xx…” plaque featuring a collage of Mr. Wood by Adm. Risty (as pictured in the “obit” article) along with a pic of Woody’s (albeit CC’s).
    Please renote its years of existence to pass on. I suggested the hanging of the plaque at a dedication ceremony would give R&B a photo op/story for the Daily Breeze, i.e. free advertising as well as trying for some old timers.
    2) Pardon: Just found a full length!! version of Juarez (regarding Cinco de Mayo) to view online!!! http://tinyurl.com/pu49e39 Don’t know how long it will remain ‘active’.
    3) PV memories: Yes Phil, indeed there is nothing more ‘mystical’ than trying to find one’s way around PV in the fog (day or nighttime!!!!) while one lawn of ice-plant looks like every other and ya hope not to run into a eucalyptus tree per being drawn by its fragrance after a Happy Hour somewhere off the hill. Look familiar? http://tinyurl.com/oy6mgpw (put cursor down the street & click) Hopefully, ya had time to rummage around the rocks of Portuguese Bend looking for abalone shells or catch a malt or latte here http://tinyurl.com/qb4s74e !

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Bob,

    I agree that a Woody’s plaque would be a fun idea for all of us older dudes, but I cannot fathom the owners of R&B wanting to honor Woody’s since it had been closed for 43 years already. Your heart is in the right place !
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Bob,

    Your ability to produce appropriate links is remarkable ! Thanks for doing so.
    Yes, the mapping sites of PV are familiar. As the Google Mapping truck leads me down Pat’s road , I remember wondering at the time if she would greet me at her door wearing her favorite hot pants and tube top.
    Believe me, her favorites were my favorites too !

    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Palos Verdes, Los Ranchos or Dublin , Ohio ……… no matter.
    We all want the same things ; a comfortable place to live in good health
    with an awesome burger joint just around the corner.

    Here’s to all the guys who ever worked at Woody’s SmorgasBurger !

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    How about reincarnating a new Woody’s SmorgasBurger in 2016 ?
    Several friends and relatives do an awful lot of cruising and it occurred to me that an onboard Woody’s food service option could be a hell of a success.
    No more drive thru headaches for the patrons or the managers !

    Next year the biggest cruiser of them all will be launched with a passenger capacity of 6,200 plus the crew of 2,100.
    All of these folks are going to eat a lunch and a dinner which brings the total possible patron exposure to 16,600 Smorgie’s per day.
    With such customer counts, A Woody’s unit would be needed on each deck.

    While sailing outside the 12 mile limit, the Woody’s staff would be exempt from the new $15.00 minimum wage and a workers shift could extend to twelve hours. Except for the manager who could go to fourteen !

    Unlike Cassell’s new LA digs which has reduced topping selections, Woody’s would increase topping selection to 53 ! ( including crab meat )
    Many now defunct eateries offered the bottomless salad bowls.
    ( Olive garden may still offer )
    Anyway, Woody’s would offer the bottomless ice cream sundae boat.
    The amount of available sundae toppings will make Ben & Jerry sick.

    If Carnavel Cruises or Disney picks up on this idea, I will be happy to negotiate a 2% ” idea placement fee ” for a 20 year renewable term.

    Contact : Phil Ankofski

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

    Pardon, hope this is not too far afield, but I can’t remember: did Woody’s have Muzak? or any of the Old LAX Restaurants featured herein by Mark?

    In trying to encourage my G-daughter not to get rusty on her Sax for her hi-school concert band, I suggested giving it a shot to just sit and play some things “by ear” during the summer for fun….stuff I thought might be out of the ordinary are below. If we did have music, was it more the genre of The Beach Boys, Bee Gees, Kingston Trio? Did any of Y’all go to the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach or the Coffee House across the street or where?
    Speaking of the Lighthouse and Jazz, I wonder if having a mid-week night of such music might fill up those picnic tables a bit more after the dinner rush was over. In any event, hope Y’all might enjoy some food for the soul of the era:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHdU5sHigYQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9GgmGLPbWU&spfreload=10
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj4zp3i9hLc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR9d1l6oOxI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kTcjXhGbxU
    (Ya gotta love Keely Smith in the background!)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1Tdwi9tx1g Hear other cuts, e.g. Cubano Chant over on the right.
    – Ya, After ringing Pat’s doorbell in PV, picture ole Phil trying to hear her coming by trying to listen through the front door as he hears this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfWbRWTfKFg and then the door swings open wide at the end of the initial 18 second count when he’s met by….and all he can see is…. hot pants and a tube top Oooeee, he wont be a pretty sight at that point especially when he soon realizes its Pat’s Mom!!!! Wish I was a fly on the Eucalyptus tree that night listening to the topic of converstion with “Dad” while having a smoke on the patio.

    An enigma of life that I hope someone can explain: Like genres of food, e.g. fondue, shish kabob, Swiss Burgers with nuts and K-Island, etc. rocked peoples’ boat as did many genres of music…Big Bands, ’50s, Folk, Jazz, how come they can’t be “popular” today given its been generations since last eaten or heard…e.g. they’d be like “new” today. Whoa! didn’t people love Mad Men!!!!

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Ahhh….. for the days of Woody’s SmorgasBurger in the South Bay ~

    This may be a bit lengthy as I am home alone this weekend and it is still raining ….. so I may be chatty this morning.
    This will be a follow up to Bob’s fun narrative on the South Bay.
    I guess I should start this trip at the beach communities and work my way up the PV hill.
    Yes, I was a patron of the Lighthouse one time. Friends and I went to see Dizzy Gillespie blow his horn. That night I learned that God did not give me an ” ear ” for Jazz. Plus, the cigarette smoke was so thick , one could hardly see the man.

    Just up the road was another unique spot ; The Oar House !
    On weekend nights this joint was packed tighter than the New York subways.
    Everyone was standing or moving around very slowly. I am now thinking the place had no tables and chairs on purpose.
    These nights were always ” grab ass ” nights.
    Guys would let their arms hang straight down with the palms of their hands inverted outward so they could brush or grab the girls as they squeezed by.
    There was no fear of being smacked as the girls loved it more than us guys.

    Going toward the hill on the PCH was The House of the Rising Sun.
    This joint had a semi permanent host Stewart Clay, who also entertained with his banjo and comedy routines. Stew and all the beers were great fun on their own, but Stew also found so many local singers and musicians to add to the nights entertainment. Always a lot of fun.

    Next stop would be the Woody’s at Palos Verdes Blvd.
    Woody’s of course had no entertainment. In hind sight , I regret not hiring a couple of 18 year old girls who played the accordion.
    They would stroll the dining room from 5PM till 8 PM in their skimpy
    Tyroleon outfits and braided hair.
    I would have loved to do this without Ralph Wood’s permission and then wait till Monday when he would call asking why sales had tripled over the weekend.

    Now turning up the hill , seeking the hidden entrance to Abalone Cove.
    I feel the vistas from these bluffs are the 8th wonders of the world.
    One picnic here with your yoga pants girlfriend and a bucket of EPL chicken
    would show you how maxed out all of your senses could become at once.

    Now we are in Pat’s old neighborhood with all the Eucalyptus trees.
    Bob, I do want to spare you being a fly on a tree.
    To accomplish this I must describe a favorite movie : Meet The Parents .

    I enjoy this movie many times a year because some scenes replicate my situation with Pat and her parents. I love recalling these feelings.
    Not to far into the movie, Ben Stiller is having dinner while being grilled by DeNero about his farming days in Detroit and other stuff.
    Then Ben excuses himself from the table and goes to the kitchen fridge for
    the bubbly. He has become so hot and ticked that he starts yanking the shit out of his sweater. This is how I felt with Mr. D on his patio !

    Very soon in following scenes , Ben is berated by everyone for being a male nurse and not continuing school to become a doctor. Such a hoot.
    Like Mr. D suggesting that I should advance myself from being a burger flipper to being the next CEO of the Marriot Corp.

    In real time today, my wife knows of guys who have taken early retirements
    from their big jobs in the insurance industry, relocated to Arizona and enrolled themselves into LVN classes. ( Vocational Nursing )
    Now , how is that for a spin on the movie ?

    I hope my narrative provides Bob and others a few chuckles today.
    ~ 93 KHJ Boss Angeles ~ How I miss thee ~

    Phil

  • chrisp says:

    Randy’s Donuts. YES,YES,YES.
    They used to be called BIG DONUT when they opened. There were several locations. I know, very well, the location on Manchester, now right off the 405 freeway. The freeway wasn’t there when it opened.
    The reason I know about the BIG DONUT is because I sold them door to door every Saturday morning. I would have to buy 25 dozen donuts to get a discount so I could make a decent profit. I would sell the glazed type donuts for 65 cents a dozen and the cake with frosting etc. for 70 cents a dozen.
    My dad would take me there early Saturday morning to pick them up and I made a cart to hold them and would deliver them. After a few weeks people would just say “Just bring us the same next week” That made my job a lot easier.
    Anyway, just a story.
    They were, and still are really good donuts.
    By the way, this was all done before my time at Woodys.
    Take care,
    ChrisP

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Hello Chrisp,

    What ??? You did not offer the iced jelly filled or cream puffs ?
    That is akin to Ralph Wood not offering fries. Anyway ……..
    Perhaps you remember Nancy Anderson from Will Rogers St.
    Nancy and her family may have been your best customers.
    My cousin Carol Ankofski and Nancy were best friends and they both
    knew members of your family. Apparently Carol spent a lot of time at
    Nancy’s home.

    During your absence the comment count here has surpassed 800 !

    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Chris was telling me how certain songs ( oldies ) could take him back
    and help him recall special girlfriends and places.
    Of course this is why music is such a gift to all of us.

    I got to thinking which five songs would be my favorites during the same time frame of Woody’s early days. ( 1956 – 1964 )
    Here they are;

    Blueberry Hill ~ Fats Domino
    To Know Him Is to Love Him ~ Phil Spector
    Only The Lonely ~ Roy Orbison
    Rave On ~ Buddy Holly
    Be My Baby ~ Ronettes

    Over the years I have always loved Buddy Holly and his music.
    Two years ago , my bride of 39 years and I made a special road trip
    to Clear Lake, Iowa. We were able to do a self guided tour inside the Surf Ballroom which is the site of Buddy’s last performance.
    Mary Ann and I were allowed to go up and stand on the stage and look out onto the dance floor just as all the entertainers had done that night.
    For me, this was an ” out of body ” experience which I will remember till
    the day I die. Yes, the power of music.

    Did Woody’s have Muzac ? I think the answer is yes……… but I would invite
    Chris to comment because some stores were different in some ways.
    ” Rave on to me ”

    Phil Ankofski

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

    Bravo ChrisP for your Capitalistic endeavors way back when! Hope lessons learned, served you well! Hope you find a pic of your Randy’s here: http://tinyurl.com/omwpx3k where others can see why they had been called Big Donuts!!! Bravo that you didn’t cop one of these http://tinyurl.com/qhn85tz so you could do this http://tinyurl.com/pzg6s7m (Click on)
    – 65 cents for a dozen!!! What? 85 cents now for just ONE at Krispy Kreme? No way! Besides, just looking at one of their frosted ones makes my teeth….OK…gums ache! Of course for those of you into Breaking Bad, you can come here to Albuquerque and buy some Blue Sky donuts http://tinyurl.com/nm9235u at the actual real live Rebel Donuts, amongst about twenty other Br Ba sites.
    – Lest I said this before, my Mom would buy a prepackaged box of plain donuts at the grocery store, not a bakery, in a box kinda like this http://tinyurl.com/o3cld5g. They had magical ingredients in them, in that unlike bakery donuts that were hard as a rock the next day, these would seemingly last for an indeterminate time!!! Anyway, she’d spread out some cinnamon or powdered sugar on a plate and then by rolling a plain donut thereon, we’d have a fancy one. Best bet tho….and still today: hold/stand a donut on its edge; slice it through; lightly toast the slices in a toaster and butter those inner halves….can’t get that at Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme!

    – Phil’s ‘Meet the Parents’ Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2djcavCEajA RE “To know him is to love him.” Kudos to Spector writing the song re his Dad, but Carol Connors’ (nee Annette Kleinbard) plaintive voice http://tinyurl.com/pwcnbqw of the Teddy Bears was fantabulous. Attempts by Parton/Ronstadt, McBride, The Shirelles, The Beatles simply fall flat. Alas, memories of flames/steadies….like those of Swiss Burgers with nuts and 1K dressing…are bittersweet and like those songs, can become earwigs, but hopefully nothing like http://tinyurl.com/karvuh5 ….sorry ’bout that! Congrats on 39 years!

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