Woody’s Smorgasburger

It was sad when they turned the last outpost of Woody’s Smorgasburger, down on Sepulveda just South of LAX, into an International House of Pancakes. Lo, how the mighty have fallen. In the sixties, there were Woody’s all over California, including a wonderful one in Westwood Village, a block or three from U.C.L.A., where I could often be found between (and once in a while, even during) classes. Woody’s was the first chain I know of where you could get a hamburger and then carry it over to a little self-service counter stocked with ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles, salsa, barbecue sauce, etc., and do whatever you wanted to it. Today, there are chains aplenty like Fuddrucker’s that offer this but at the time, it was something rather special.

Woody’s burgers were pretty darn good too, with a nice barbecue flavor…and every Woody’s also had a “make your own sundae” bar: You could get an empty dish at the counter, fill it full of soft-serve vanilla ice cream, then slather it in a diverse selection of syrups and sprinkles and crushed nuts and such. My old comic club buddies and I would practically have a contest to see how much sundae we could get in one dish, building structurally-unsafe vertical arrays, then trying to walk them back to the table and devour the top stories before it all collapsed.

One of the guys once asked if he was allowed to put the toppings from the sundae bar on his burger or vice-versa. When they told him yes, he began speculating on what hot fudge or whipped cream would do to a hamburger, and whether the maraschino cherries would blend with the mustard or if he should leave the mustard off. Each visit to Woody’s, he’d say, “Next time, I’m going to try it,” but he never worked up the courage. Or wanted to spoil a good smorgasburger.

240 Responses to Woody’s Smorgasburger

  • Daniel Kravetz says:

    Woody’s was one of my favorite burger places, and I remember eating dinner there on Friday, November 22, 1963, after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. We had to drop my father at LAX for a scheduled business flight and then get to a synagogue service we felt compelled to attend that evening, so it was a convenient place to stop on the way. It was business as usual at the restaurant, which was comforting in a way.

  • Mark Berney says:

    Loved Woody’s and remember putting peanuts on my hamburger. What a great addition to an already fine burger.

  • Craig Printup says:

    I loved Woody’s, we used to go to the one in Westchester, I think it was? I remember going to one somewhere in the South bay that was really large and more fancy one time. The burgers had an awesome char-broiled taste that I have never had since. The topping bar and the sundae bar were the best. And I loved their little salads, which had pickled beets on top, with bleu cheese dressing. The wood paneled, ski lodge decor was nice since it was SoCal, kind of like a trip to Europe…

  • AMBRO says:

    Great burger(s)….good size, good meat, great flavor. The add-your-own condiments were a unique treat at the time. They also had terrific bi-cut fries. They were the only ones I’ve ever had that had real f.f. flavor. Of course that was back when beef tallow was used and gave it a really good taste. Blast the Health Nazis!!! I went tot the one just north of L.A.City College between classes and later to the one on Westwood south of UCLA. I’m surprised no one has ever resurrected the stores.

  • fred walter says:

    I worked at Woody,s in El Segundo,California in the Fall of 1965. The best hamburgers anywhere. It was a fun place to work after surfing all day.

  • Bob Los Ranchos, NM says:

    Yo I’m swearing the above pic is the Woody’s in ‘Hollywood Riviera’ at the base of Palos Verdes where I worked from 6/62 for a year saving up to go off to grad school.
    Chopped nuts from the Sundae bar on a S-burger with a splish-splash of 1K Island?….indeed Kudos Mark B. for being a true gourmet as well!!. (Went especially well with a whipped thin coffee shake from 31 Flavors across the street.)
    Worked the smaller one in Culver City in a pinch…it had a pull down ladder to get into the attic-office if I remember correctly. (Nothing like riding home to Hermosa Beach about 11 P on a fog shrouded Sepulveda on a Vespa to enter the underpass of LAX for a brief respite.)

    Mr. Woods, the owner, was indeed a genteel man with a Small Businessman’s brain. The government isn’t the one who showed him how to go about the challenge of breaking into the mushrooming, casual dining market, e.g. Big Boy, McDonald’s, IHOP, etc. of the era. He…on his very own… figured he’d stand out per building the A-frames, dressing us in lederhosen/tyrolean hats, putting burgers on a Kaiser Roll!, offering folks a loss-leader on Monday nights of a hamburger steak dinner Special for $1.99 !!! which created a continuous line out the door for 2-3 hours every week the year I was there, or have a rack of varied newspapers on-a-stick (which Seinfeld years later would come to disdain!) Eh, the NY strip steak and Kabobs were good too, albeit Ambro, I don’t remember Fries in my time. Bravo!!! he took the risk of using what he’d saved and borrowed to make it possible for me to have a job while paying me a little bit above minimum wage.
    Some people were amazed to find that the gizmo I wrote your order on just before I made your green or macaroni salad (with a pretty green leaf decorating that yellow plastic dish), “electronically” transmitted my writing to a gizmo by the Cashier so Y’all didn’t have to go “Du-Uh” in remembering whatcha ordered!!!
    Alas Daniel, while I learned of JFK’s death in Kansas, we had the ‘good fortune’ of comforting Y’all (and ourselves!!!) during the nail biting times of the October Cuban Missile Crisis.
    Yes Fred, I worked with a great crew at both places too. Not knowing what plans and success Mr. W would have for expansion, I’ve often wondered if his “discussions” about “considering” a career in restaurant/hotel management at U. Hawaii, rather than my already set goal, might have been the better career choice.
    In any event to all: “Cheers” and don’t fail to enjoy a surviving LA Icon, where the French Dip Sandwich was ‘invented’ (albeit accidently), http://www.philippes.com/ (Have it Double Dipped!)

    Been to Lawry’s on La Cienega where you were served some sorbet after the salad; Scandia’s indeed; was it Don the Beachcomber’s or was it Trader Vic’s on the Strip? aah Brown’s in their big backed, dark brown booths after West Side Story at Grauman’s Chinese next door or a (vintage type) concert or two at the Hollywood Bowl etc. Say, ya gotta do Dino’s Lodge where I rode that Vespa with my ‘squeeze’ sitting side saddle on the back into the portico of it “being used as” 77 Sunset Strip (sans Cookie) to listen to jazz while overlooking LA through its expansive glass wall while sipping cocktails, e.g. Boo the Martini or Gimlet! How about a Harvey WallBanger, a Stinger, Grasshopper, Slo Gin Fizz, Mai Tai (oopsy – underage)!

    For my dear UCLA friends/alums, Copy/Paste this http://tinyurl.com/26uyb5h , and quickly close your eyes (NO PEEK), and enjoy!!!! Surely, you’ve listened sooo many times with a tear in your eye! Ok Ok….either way, let’s make this both comeback years!

    Be good to yourselves !

  • Marlene says:

    Does anyone have a recipe for Woody’s thick tomato paste salsa? I miss it so much!

    Thanks!

    Another peanut topped burger eater

  • Marshall says:

    Marlene, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but that delicious salsa was made by that famous chef, S.E. Rycoff, and came in a foot-tall can that we opened with a big honkin’ manual can opener.

  • Joe says:

    I was in high school and working at the Culver City Woody’s, and that was year 65-67. Started out bussing and dishwasher and kitchen prep. Later moved into the service line to do the drinks. Then I did order taking with the salad and deserts. Later on cooking on the grill, and followed last with the cash register. I eventually did the Asst Mgr work, but eventually moved on to college and found different work. For a teen, it was a good learning experience. Even at my young are I did not understand by they did not go national. They had good food in high demand. Just build a drive through which was what Jack In the Box was already doing.

    Everybody like the idea of iced mugs for root beer or cokes. We gave them root beer floats. The NY Steaks were the best served in those days. A real steak with no ingredients like today.

    I remember we ran out of burger meat, and sometimes had to drive to another store in the system or run to the local market and buy some.

    The whole idea was really efficient and people liked to really make their own condiments and yeah, that salsas was in high demand.

    It is a shame the whole concept feel to the wayside. It could be a winner if done by somebody else today

  • The ChocolateDoctor says:

    My dad first took my brother and I to Woody’s when we dropped some relatives off LAX. We used to alternate between Woody’s and Apple Pan. I loved the burger bar and was one of those peanut-topped burger lovers. I would have thought that a place like The Counter would have peanuts on their toppings menu, but then there are people with sensitivity toward peanuts—cashews and almonds are worth a try. I still like to add chopped peanuts on top of my burger.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello to all the former patrons and employees of Woody’s Smorgasburger!
    I hope some of you have returned to this site for review. What fun!
    I am Phil ( Mr A. ) who worked for Mr Ralph Wood during the mid 1960′s.
    I worked at his original unit in Culver City as a lineman and Asst. Mgr.
    followed by stints at El Segudo and Redondo as manager.

    I have the utmost respect for Ralph Wood, his partners and family.
    Woody’s always specified the highest quality from his food, meat and produce suppliers. The potato and mac salads plus the salad dressings were also of the finest available….. bar none.

    Woody did have three major policies that were out of norm.
    No mustaches ….. no female employees …. no french fries.

    Yes, the crushed peanuts were very popular.
    In fact, one of Woody’s early managers ( before my time ) resigned from
    Woodys so he could open his own burger joint featuring the peanuts.
    The restaurant was not a success and the man was rehired by Mr. Wood.

    Lets clear up the salsa issue.
    The salsa was made in house by the morning prep man. He used a
    Woody’s reciepe which called for ingredients bought from Rykoff CO.
    Catsup ( the large cans ), tomato paste, onions, salt , pepper and other non exotic items. The prep man would make one batch ( 5 gallons ) at a time to ensure freshness. Believe me…. there were no secrets in it !

    The #2 Woodys unit in Redondo was way overbuilt. It was a reaction to the cramped square footage in Culver City.
    The serving line was three times as long, the freezer and walk in
    refrigerator were both five times bigger than needed.
    But …… the terrazo floor from Italy was out of sight !
    Phil Hartman ( the comedian from SNL —- R.I.P.) was a lineman
    on my crew in 1967 or 1968. Phil was a real ” sparkplug ” even then.

    Years ago the Daily Breeze interviewed Ralph Wood and he made these comments. ( He owned and operated 28 different restaurants at seperate times in his career !! ) Mr. Wood said that when Culver City was opened in 1956 that he had the playing field pretty much to himself and in only twelve years later, it was a much different picture ; national franchise chains had units on every corner…… and yes, THEY ALL HAD FRIES !

    On a sad note : Mr. Woods wife Barbara passed away in June of 2012
    at the age of 87. They were life partners for 67 years !
    I think that pretty much says it all. Am I right ?

    Nice talking to you gang . All the best in 2013 !
    By the way ….. to this day when I know I will be having a burger out at
    lunch, I put some Planters peanuts in a small baggie and give them a few taps with my hammer…….then put them in my jacket pocket to be ready.
    A super upgrade is to use CASHEWS …. Wow !
    Phil ( Mr. A. ) 7/64 thru 9/68 at Woody’s #1, #7, and #2

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello friends of Woody’s ,
    This is Phil A. again with another correction for Bob Los Ranchos;
    The Woody’s photo featured at the top of these narratives was located
    in Culver City. It is most definently the #1 location opened in 1956.
    The ” Hollywood Riveria ” location you speak of was the #2 unit in Redondo and was three times as big !

    Other fun facts; All full time employees were allowed a free complete meal during their lunch break on a eight hour shift. ( steaks not included )
    In adddition all employees were allocated a free monthly tab.
    Full timers had a $10.00 per month credit.
    Part timers had a $ 5.00 per month credit.
    In todays $$$$, this does not seem a lot, but in 1965 dollars, the $10.00 tab could buy ELEVEN compete lunches. This could be used to treat family or friends that came in, or to buy your own meal if you stopped in on your days off.

    And just so you know; the soft serve ice cream machines were drained, cleaned , sanitized, then taken apart each night at closing.
    All parts were air dryed overnight. In the morning, the parts were reassembled and sanitized again before adding new mix.
    I do not know if this was Woody’s policy or mandates from the L.A. county health department. In any case, the health dept. came in every three months and took a sample for testing. NEVER a problem.
    I only assume that the above proceedure is practiced in todays machines.
    Sure hope so.

    Now that I have discovered Mark’s website, I will be happy to answer any questions or clarify misinformation regarding Woody’s.
    Best regards, Phil A.

  • Bob W. says:

    I worked at Woody’s Culver City in 1974. It was my first real job and I was paid $1.65 an hour. I ate around $2.50 an hour worth of burgers and root beer so it was a pretty good deal. I liked the Matterhorn burger the best. Sort of a takeoff on a Big Mac (of course without the condiments – you got to put those on yourself). Two patties on a split kaiser roll, American cheese on the bottom patty and Swiss on the top (snow on top of the Matterhorn). We cooks had to wear liederhosen and silly hats and I took a lot of grief for that from my Westchester High friends when they came in. Sad to see Woody’s is no longer.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Bob W. Thanks the posting. During my tenure with Woody’s, the hats, pants and suspenders were of course in use. ( 1964 -68 ).
    I was surprised to read that this uniform was still in use during your days in 1974. By then, I would have thought Woody’s might have gone to a polo shirt worn with pants from home. Anyway ….. do you or anyone else know
    when females were allowed to hire in ?
    I relocated out of state in 1970 so I enjoy seeing updates from people who followed. Thanks ! Phil ( Mr. A )

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    A summers day in 1965 ~ age 20 ~
    Arrive at Woody’s Culver City at 8 AM to start Ast. Manager prep work.
    Tune radio to 93 KHJ so I can continue listening to Robert W. Morgan.
    ( never was Morganized ! )
    Lunch rush is over at 1:30 so I fix myself a King Swiss, potato salad and
    two Lyons root beers. Have my lunch by the fireplace. (off )

    It’s 4 pm and my shift is over . I head to Playa del Rey where I have a rented room with ocean view on Rindge Ave.
    Next would be a shower, change of clothes, then a drive over to Loyola University to pick up a buddy.

    For dinner we decide on the Red Onion because we can park behind the Loyola Theater which is where we will be going after dinner.
    After enjoying the latest flick we step accross Sepulveda so I can run into Save On Drugs for a pack of smokes.
    Damn, if there aren’t several babes in the cosmetiic aisle with only bikinis!
    Westchester High should be oh so proud.

    Who likes ice cream ? Next we cross Manchester with sights set on Tiny Naylors for a hot fudge sundae. More Westchester girls are inside who stopped in after the movie as well. One girl was raving about her dinner at the Buggy Whip. Well la de da ….. no matter, this chick knew how to fill out her ” Jeans West ” jeans and a tube top. I love Boss Angeles !!!

    After dropping my friend off, it is time to head home …. but first a final stop of the day. I drive to the beach and park on Mar Vista near a public access. Yes, KHJ is still on….. as loud as my ears can stand.
    Now I am in heaven, or at least at peace with the world.
    ( even with the brand new 747′s departing Lax. )
    Socks and shoes are left in the car, time to meet the oceans roar.
    Who knows, I just might find my surfer girl.
    I gave my surfer girl a half hour to make her appearence, but not tonight.

    So, I’m back in the car, swinging around past the La Marina Inn and up the hill hoping the tranny will hold yet one more time. Yea ! It does.
    As I am about to turn off the ignition, the Beach Boys start to sing
    ” Lets Do It Again ” and I think… damn straight guys… we love you Brian!
    ~ I had fun doing this for all the old geezers out there. 93 KHJ ~
    Phil ( Mr. A )

  • Debra Scanlon says:

    OMG the memories! Woodys in The Riviera Village, Redondo Beach! Days at the beach AVE I , then 31 flavors and WOODYS!! whoooooooooo hooooooooooo

  • Michael Galloway says:

    I remember my dad taking me to Woodys on Saturday afternoons, I had almost forgotten !

  • Mike says:

    no one’s mentioned the Woody’s on Figueroa by USC. my sister would take me there for my birthday, since I was in the birthday club. We would also go after churh on Sundays.

  • Gary Wilcut says:

    I workd at Woody’s, Culver City from ’62 to ’65 for college money. I worked along side of Dick Roletta and Steve Claypool who are still friends to this day. We catered to the general public, as well as, UCLA students. Needless to say work was fun. I have fond memories of my days at Woody’s and have a deep respect for Ralph Wood’s the owner, who was very good to us.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Yes Mike, we cannot forget your Woody’s on Fig and 28th. For many years the location was the highest grossing unit of the six units in which Mr. Wood retained ownership. ( All others were owned and operated by IHOP under a master franchise agreement. )
    The ” Birthday Club ” was an on going promotion from the advertising budget. A customer would fill out the blank card and leave it with the cashier and then the main office would file it until it was time to send it back out in time for the customers birthday. The free lunch included a sundae and drink together with a ” Smorgee.”
    Mr. Wood’s policy on outdated, expired cards was ; accept all cards regardless of date with a smile and a wish for a happy birthday.
    He understood the benifit of his customer thinking ; ” hey, this is boss.”
    The promotion was very low key and low volumn, but we all had fun with it.
    So, here’s a toast to unit # 4 on Fig and 28th !! ( now a taco stand )
    Phil ( Mr. A. )

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    For Gary Wilcut ; Other names from Culver City in 63/64 were Ron Blasio,
    Ty Messersmith, Randy Ewing and Dick Grafman. Do any of these fellas come to mind or has it been too many years? In any case, thanks for your contribution. Phil ( Mr. A. )

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Thanks, Phil (Mr. A) for clarifying the salsa issue. It seems in my golden years I’m forgetting some of the details……. Yes, I do now remember making the salsa every morning shift. A lot of you former employees are the ones i admired when I first went to the Culver City Woody’s as a kid. In addition to the good food, I was impressed by the organization and teamwork you displayed taking care of the customers. We came quite often on ‘special’ night with a line out the door, but it was never a ‘slow’ line – probably only 5-7 minutes from the door to the register. I was very proud when I became a part of that crew at the age of 17 at the Westwood Village location, in 1968.

    Another little story….
    The Culver City Woody’s originally had a ‘carport’ like structure that crossed the driveway at the main entrance. Kinda protected the customers from the elements when it rained. Cars drove under it to get to the rear parking areas. In the late 50′s / early 60′s my dad was the guy who delivered the dairy products to Woody’s. Well, one morning, instead of driving around the building on the right to get to the stockroom door, he tried to drive straight through on the left, under the carport. Yup – truck too tall. No more carport structure after that – took it all down.

  • Mike says:

    Thank you Phil, I was thinking that my memory was faltering. so many good times on that streatch of Fig, like Coopers doughnuts, I also recall a drug store with a soda fountain,not to mention Felix Chevrolet on Jefferson/Fig

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Marshall L.
    I am so glad you returned to this site with your new posting of additional storys. Also glad to learn that you are one of us; an employee of Ralph Wood. In 1967 I was managing the Redondo location and Mr. Wood had just secured the lease for the new Westwood location. He was just so pleased ( like little Ralph getting his be be rifle for Christmas ! )
    Anyway …. all of Mr. Woods managers were offered a chance to invest in the new location via a $5,000. LP ( limited partnership).
    Too rich for my blood.
    Marshall, I am hoping you know the year in which Westwood closed.
    If you do not, would you please do a little research and let us know.
    Also, was ” JR ” ( the general manager ) spending a lot of time there ?

    I am always amazed to find ” Woody’s ” ashtrays, plates, and mugs show up on Ebay. ( $39.00 for an ashtray !!! )
    Well guys……. now that this site is growing, I plan to monitor it even closer as I am really enjoying this stuff. What fun !

    My thanks to all of you for posting your comments. Please return !
    Phil ( Mr. A. )

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    I was hired around November or December in ’68 IIRC. The Westwood location had been opened maybe a year or less. (Coincidently, my dad had changed his milk route to the Bel-Air area, and was now delivering dairy there. He was the one who told me to go apply…). Now that you mentioned JR, I do vaguely recall him. Saw him around quite a bit at first, but not so much later on. I remember assisting with new Woody’s openings in Woodland Hills, and later, in Orange. After a while, J. Stephen Dabbs, our manager, bought controlling interest in the location from the partnership. I left around May of 1972 IIRC, getting a full-time day job in downtown L.A. A year or so later, a buddy who had worked at the Westwood location was now working at the Figueroa store, and I needed some extra money, so I worked a few weeks there. I’m not sure how long Woody’s Westwood survived – maybe early 80′s?

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Marshall L. ,
    Thanks for the swift and informative reply !
    First, I am betting my retirement money that your dad worked for
    Carnation Co. The name finally came to me last night after reading how your dad tore up the canopy in Culver City. ( smooth ice cream! )
    Your mention of the ” Orange ” location is totally new to me.
    I thought Westwood was the very last to be built. Can you be more specific as to where the Orange location was. ( crossroads ). Was it a free standing unit like Culver City or a contained unit like Woodland Hills. ?
    I remember Steve very well as we attended the monthly managers meetings together. Just so I am clear ; did Steve Dabbs end up controlling the Westwood Village location or the newer ” Orange ” location ?
    When you left in 1972, were you in management ?
    In your opinion, which unit had the higher customer volumn, Westwood or Fig. ?
    You may also know Chris Pingle who ended up buying the Culver City and
    El Segundo locations from Mr. Wood. ( do not know the year ). I understand he now owns more than 20 El Pollo Loco units.
    ( IIRC = I do not understand this term ?? )
    Thanks again Marshall …… hope you are having a great life.
    Phil A.

  • Gary Wilcut says:

    For Phil (Mr. A);

    Randy Ewig and I were friends many years ago, 63/64. Chris Pingle was hired to take my place, circa early ’60′s, because of my recommending him. Chris was a friens of my brother Dennis Wilcut. Chris has done well for himself since his early Woody’s days. ” Thanks for the memories “.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    For Gary Wilcut, and others too !

    I am quite sure Randy had a hand in my employment in July, 1964.
    My female cousin came into the restaurant while I filled out the application and it turns out they knew each other from Westchester High.
    When I was ready for the interview, Randy sat down with Ron Blasio and myself. I was hired part time with the promise of full time as soon as a lot
    of guys left for college at the end August.

    The one thing I will never, ever forget about Randy; his 1964 Mustang !
    I have never known anyone who loved his car as much as Randy loved that Mustang. It was dark green with black interior, black wall tires with those fabulous chrome wheels. I think he also had an 8 track in it as well.
    He was also very proud of his girfriend, Penny.

    Randy was something to see in action on Monday nights.” Hamburger Steak night ~ .99 cents Special “. He would just lung into that grill, all ablaze , loaded with too many 10 oz. patties. The ventilation hood could hardly keep up with all the smoke, grease and flames.
    In hindsight, I think a lot of patrons came in to see if the whole damn place
    would catch fire on their particular Monday night visit. Just like how NASCAR fans go to the track to see an accident !
    I can still see Randy in his ” yellow shirt ” with the spatchula fighting through all those flames to reach some patties that needed to be turned.
    A call for ” medium rare ” was most often a joke.
    Randy and I were not” friends” as we did not hang out together, but we did work well together. I hope Randy is having a peaceful life.

    In closing this narrative , I have a question ; Does anyone out there
    have a known reason OR opinion on why Woody’s did not have fries on the menu ???

    Reading all these comments and contributions has been a wonderful exercise for my memory recall. My Thanks to all. Lets keep it up !
    Phil A.

  • Gary Wilcut says:

    For Phil (Mr. A.)

    I have personal and confidential information about your inquiry into fries. It’s a private story if you wish to here it you can E-mail me at garywilcut@earhtlink.net and I will reveal a little known story about Wood’s and fries.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    For Woody’s employees or patrons ;
    I need help with this list of Smorgasburger units.
    #1 Culver City
    #2 Redondo Beach
    #3 Gardena ( I think ? )
    #4 Fig. @ 28th USC
    #5 ___________?? ( must have been a short life )
    #6___________?? ( ” ” ” ” ‘ )
    #7 El Segundo
    Woodland Hills 1967
    Westwood Village 1968
    Orange ?

    Question ; why did Mr.Wood reject female employees ?

    I remember the Vietnam years were pretty skimmpy for the homefront labor pool.

    Alright readers , who can help me out ?
    Phil A.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Thanks for filling in some details, Phil. My dad worked for Edgemar Farms in Venice (no longer in business). Steve Dabbs purchased a controlling interest in the Westwood location. I don’t remember the store number – maybe #11….? Steve later sold the store (don’t know to who) and went into accounting, which I think he still does. The Orange Woody’s location opened around 1970 sometime (I’m a bit hazy on that – could have been ’71 – not too long after Woodland Hills opened. It was a ‘stand alone’ building, but not built to a normal ‘Woody’s’ design. It was on Main St (East side) just south of the intersection of La Veta. The building is still there, but probably not for long…..go on Google Earth and look for a small one-story building with ‘CHOC’ over the entrance.

    I started as a busboy, but was working the line after about 6 months. Was a shift supervisor for about the last 2 1/2 years I was there.

    I can’t say for sure which store had a higher volume, WV or Figueroa. I know Figueroa was the one we were always battling for the numbers, though. My personal experience working at Figueroa was only a few weeks in 1975, and then only at night when it was slow……

    I don’t recall Chris Pingle. May have met him, maybe not. I did notice that on some current public records, the property for the El Pollo Loco unit that sits where the CC Woody’s was is owned by ‘Smorgasburger, Inc.’.

    Store #’s, locations….
    Gardena? – Where?

    Redondo Beach….. I remember a fun night. Some of us Westwood guys went down to the Redondo store after hours, just to BS a bit and hang out. I was impressed by one of the workers who owned a Lotus…….

    Women? We had one in Westwood! After Steve Dabbs took over. Wasn’t part of the rest of the chain, actually. Some menu and uniform changes as well.

    And ‘IIRC’……”If I Remember Correctly……”
    As to my personal life, I’m living in Oregon since 2009. Spent 1981 to 2009 living in of all places, Orange California, where that Woody’s that I opened was…. Grew up in Mar Vista, Went to Venice High School.

    Regards,
    Marshall

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    For Marshall, and others too !
    I must tell you that both you and Gary Wilcut have made the start of 2013 very interesting and a lot of fun for me. Thanks ! I am a big history buff.
    Thanks for the notation on Egdemar farms rather than Carnation.
    Thanks also for the info on IIRC. I learned something today !

    I did find the intersection in Orange and found a couple of small units
    near the Childrens Hospital. I am happy to learn of the location.
    Orange ; what a beautiful city !!! I always lived in or near the beach communities and I only drove inland for the Pomona Fair.

    I cannot be of further help on the Gardena unit. I just remember that other coworkers used to mention it after it was already closed. (1964 or prior ). Well, bless Steve Dabbs for hiring a girl !

    Although I am six years older, it seems we traveled the same paths while in the Culver City, Santa Monica areas.
    I emigrated from Detroit in the summer of 1964, found a rented room in Playa del Rey, then work at Woody’s CC.
    I had a short term girlfriend who lived on Marshall Street. I do not know if her home was in Mar Vista or CC. A lot of dates at Bruno’s !!
    I was her escort to her 1965 prom at Venice High !

    I attended SMCC for three semesters ( part time, two classes. )
    I always picked one Monday night class. The reason ; I dearly wanted to avoid being selected to work that grill for the Hamburger Steak Special.
    Even in the summer, the manager kept me off Monday nights just because he was so used to doing my schedual this way.

    The Hamburger Steak Special ( .99 ) was of course offered at all the other units, but it was not anywhere near as popular as it was at CC.
    El Segundo and Redondo may have served 10 to 12 dinners on Monday, while at CC, the grill was ROARING with FLAMES from 5:15 to 7:30. !

    While on the map blaster, I looked up Springfield as well. Looks like a very lovely location. I have family and friends in Bend, Lincoln City and Portland. As for me, I relocated back to Michigan in early 1971 where I soon met the love of my life. For many years I worked for a food distributor similar to the Rykoff Co. in los Angeles. In 1998 , our family relocated to Dublin, Ohio for a job offer we could not refuse.
    As of April, 2012 , we are both retired and are now looking to do a final relocation ……….. but to where ? This is the question.

    In one way or another, we ( the readers ) all shared in a ” Woody’s ” experience. But think of all the other things we shared and enjoyed as well;
    The near perfect climate, living steps from the beaches, walking steps from the gorgeous girls on those beaches, the ocean surf and the related life style, the Southern Cal. car culture, the free tuition at SMCC, and all
    the music which was created at the Gold Star Sudios by all of our favorite singers and songwriters. I tell ya gang , we all lived in a place and time that was like no other. We were all very , very fortunate indeed.

    Just think ; what in the hell did those poor suckers have who were living in Buffalo, Pittsburg, Columbus, Chicago, Kansas City, Phoenix, or Milwaukee? Not much my friends. nothing like we had.

    So, at dinner time tonight, let’s raise a toast to those times,places and people who made Southern California so special. Amen !
    Phil Ankofski ( Mr. A )

  • Mike says:

    question for everyone,
    was there any connection between Woody’s & Admiral Rusty’s in Palos Verdes?

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Mike,

    Yes, the most direct connection possible; Ralph Wood opened the first Smorgasburger in 1956 and then he and his wife Barbara opened The Admiral Risty in 1966. This dinner house has been open continuously for almost 47 YEARS ! They have several web sites which report mixed reviews.
    To my knowledge, Smorgasburger employees were NOT brought in to work at the ” Admiral. ”
    If more detailed info is desired, please write again Mike.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Lisa Dare says:

    There was one in Oakland. You could get a blue plastic boat to use as a dish.

  • Scotty Cramolini says:

    Ahhh…those good old days at Woody’s!! When we lived in Torrance (1957-1969) my parents would often take my sister and I and to meet our good friends of my moms (many of them belonged to La Primera and Welcome Wagon) on a friday night at the “Hollywood Riviera” location in the mid early to mid-60′s. The Matterhorn Burger, the classic thousand island dressing, (I still make my own in honor of Woody’s to this day…), the soft serve sundaes in the blue plastic dish with choices of your own toppings, the fireplace and swiss alpine atmosphere…memories you couldn’t pay for. Im glad we grew up when we did.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    If Woody’s was operating today, I am sure they would be offering crisp lettuce leaf, chilled tomato slices and grilled onions ….. in addition to the classic condiments we all knew and loved.
    Who remembers the chocolate Alpine Malts ?
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    I just finished my lunch at home ; a homemade 1/3 lb burger with cashews ! ( 50% less salt , an upgrade from the chopped peanuts. )
    As I was eating, it occurred to me that we all are probably missing another feature of Woody’s which would be unique today. Real silverwear ! Real china platters for dinners ! Real china coffee cups ! Real glass mugs for root beer and floats ! Woody’s did have some plastic wear for the small salads and the soft serve sundaes.
    How nice would it be to have the real silver and glass wear back in your favorite burger joint or sandwich shop ?
    I for one, would love it.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    The word is ware ….. not wear !
    Phil ( Mr. A )

  • Craig Printup says:

    Hey, all. Was the Westwood Woody’s location the place with a ’57 Chevy mounted to the wall? I remember that it was called Woody’s but did not realize it was part of the Smorgasburger empire. It seems like it was mostly a beer bar from the few times I went in it. Thanks.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Craig – you bring up some history of the Westwood Woody’s that I had forgotten about. When the Woody’s Smorgasburger in Westwood Village was first opened, it was run as a limited partnership, with Ralph Wood and a few others (including some Woody’s management personnel) investing in it. Later on, it was decided among the partnership to accept an offer from the manager, Steve Dabbs to take over ownership. (I worked there during this period.). Some changes were made over time to attract more of an upscale UCLA crowd. The decor was changed (including that ’57 Chevy wall art that I had forgotten about…), uniforms were changed, and yes, they even started serving …..beer. I left for good around the summer of 1973 and don’t know what happened after that. The food though, remained basically the same, with some additions.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hi Marshall,
    Thank you for your very informative response regarding Woody’s WW.
    I am so glad that you return to this site and proceed to help us out.
    Phil A.

  • Laura DeMarco says:

    My dad worked for SE Rykoff for 3o years…Woody’s was an account of his. Before he worked for them he worked for Dohrmann Hotel Supply CO. of Culver City…next to the Helm’s Bakery…this was our FAVORITE place to eat burgers (then 2nd was Clancy’s on Marine and Sepulveda) another chopped peanuts on my burger person ;)

  • Laura DeMarco says:

    anyone remember Rob’s next to Woody’s in the 60′s? Became the Jolly Roger…

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Laura –
    I’m not recalling Clancy’s, and looking at MapQuest, I can’t find a Marine Ave. or Street in the area. (The only Marine St. I know around there is on the north side of the Penmar recreation park, directly west of the Santa Monica Airport – and it doesn’t cross Sepulveda). I’ll do a bit more searching about Clancy’s…..

  • Marlene says:

    Phil… You almost gave me the complete recipe for the salsa! I always thought the onions were reconstituted or similar.

    I’d make 5 gallons because my brother would take half.

    We began eating at Woody’s in Culver City in the 60s when the line went out the door.

    In the 80s to closing I ate at the El Segundo location 4 of more times a month.

    My burger… slather as much salsa as I could on the burger and more on the plate. Top with chopped peanuts (and on the salsa on the plate) and top with the thinly sliced sour pickle slices. I can still taste it.

    The salad in the end wasn’t as good as it was at the Culver City location.

    Blue Cheese dressing with beets. I still eat my salads that way but they’ll never be the same.

    It was a sad day when they switched to plastic mugs for the root beer. It was worse when the El Segundo location closed their doors to become an IHOP.

    If you could write down that salsa recipe with all the ingredients… WOW!

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Marlene,
    Welcome back ! I can see that you are on a real ” mission ” to replicate
    the salas recipe and I commend you for this. Do not give up !
    At this point, I have no additional info for you.
    If we were to get lucky and have a Woody’s employee find us and provide the ingredient list…….. we would still need the recipe describing the amount of each ingredient.

    Basic recipes call for the addition of bell peppers, olive oil, vinegar, etc.
    These items MAY have been included ……… but I am only suggesting.
    So ……. I will not abandon you. I will make it my mission also.
    Of course Marshall and Gary W. are most welcome to join in.

    I will have to work like a dedective by developing leads which connect us to
    ex Woody’s employees. What fun ! !
    Check back on this wonderful site perhaps once a week.
    I will post my progress and advise you when my search is concluded so that I will not leave you ” hanging ” in the wind.
    In the meantime, enjoy this spring time wherever you are.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Marlene,
    Thank you soooooooo much for sharing your enthusiasm for
    Blue Cheese dressing and beets. The last time I had Blue Cheese was in 1968 when I left Woody’s to relocate. I was at the grocery today and I remembered your comments so I picked out a bottle of the dressing but forgot the beets ! Anyway, we all enjoyed our special salads at dinner
    and we look forward to the addition of the beets. Such fun !
    Phil A.

  • Gary Wilcut says:

    Marlene,
    This is not a replica of Woody’s salsa but my own version which is very good. Go on the internet and type in ” Gary Wilcut ” . Go down the list until you find ALLRECIPES.COM, highlight and click the mouse. Hope you enjoy my Spanish Salsa Picante recipe.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Salsa recipe, salsa recipe………
    Sadly, it’s been way too long since I mixed up a batch. And we’re talking a BIG batch here, folks – it was stored in one of those big 5-gallon pails. All I remember about it is it involved S.E. Rycoff tomato paste (or was it tomato sauce?), some freeze-dried onions and I don’t remember what else….

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Marlene, Gary, Marshall and all other Woody’s salsa fans,

    Direct from the horses mouth; I have just communicated with a most wonderful guy who was associated with Woody’s more years than
    Mr. Ralph Wood himself. I have made him aware of this web site and invited him to join us. In the meantime, his words on the salsa;
    Pizza sauce ( tomato sauce and tomato paste ) dehydrated bell peppers and onions with salt and pepper. This was the company wide recipe until the later years when only the El Segundo store remained.
    Once El Segundo was on it’s own, the dehydrated bell peppers and onions
    were nixed in favor of fresh produce, freshly chopped.
    That’s it gang . I am most happy that I could keep my commitment
    to Marlene.
    PS . modern recipes call for Oregino and olive oil as well.
    Anyway, I am off to check out Gary Wilcuts recipe, and a thank you to Gary for sharing. Hello Marshall.
    Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that my former Woody’s coworker
    will join us on this web site.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Yes, Oregano it is !

  • Marlene says:

    Outstanding my friends!

    I heard in the past that Pizza sauce was involved. I also always suspected freeze dried onions.

    I must try my own version but I’m leaving here now to check out Gary Wilcut’s version.

    Of course I need to also buy thinly sliced sour pickles and chopped peanuts to top my chargrilled burger.

    If it tastes anything remotely similar to the burger of my dreams I’m inviting my brother’s family over for a surprise dinner!

  • Marlene says:

    Gary, your recipe is a keeper. Not Woody’s but a keeper just the same.

    Thinking about a pita bread and a lamb burger.

  • Chris Pingel says:

    Well,well, well. I just discovered this web site and have read every comment.
    You all sure have brought back a lot of memories form the past.
    Gary mentioned that he recommended me back in 1964 for a job at Woodys #1 Culver City.
    I got the job.
    Ron hired me and Ty was his assistant manager at the time.
    I started as a busboy, nights mostly and weekend days.
    Boy we were busy in those days and it was so fun working there.
    I worked there from 64 till 66 when our family relocated to the San Gabrial Valley. I came back in 1970 after I got married.
    Back in 64 I remember getting some of my school buddies jobs, Mike Schuler and Mike O’Rourke and, I’m sure a few others. We all had so much fun.
    I have so many stories from those years and from 1970 on.
    As Phil mentioned I did purchase the last 2 stores in late 1978. #1 and #7.
    #7 El Segundo was still doing very well, a line out the door everyday, Culver City was just hanging on.
    I have a lot to info and history but I’ll have to do it in stages if you all are interested.
    Salsa #10 cans SE Rykoff pizza sauce, dehydrated bell peppers, dehydrated onions, salt and pepper. I’d have to really jar my memory to remember the quantities.
    Phil and I just talked a few weeks ago and it was so intresting. He and I closed together for awhile in the 60′s. He was always very nice and we worked well together.
    I did hire the first female in Culver City and, I believe, I was the first to have a mustache. The reason I got to keep the mustache was Ralph and John R, after I was told to take it off said I looked better with it on. Ralph later grew one himself.
    Anyway, I’ll keep giving you more history or answer any questions, if I can.
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Chris !
    I am so pleased you have found this site ! I was sure it would mean a lot to you knowing so many past patrons and employees loved your lifes work too. I am glad you mentioned the window of time that you were in the valley with family. It explains why I did not see you while I was working at #7 and #2. Your quip about the mustaches is great !
    Questions; In what year did you close Culver City ?
    When you introduced fries at # 7 and # 1 , what kind of equipment did you select and where was it placed ? I cannot picture in my mind where fryers and heat lamps could fit in on the line.
    Once you had fries, did they have a big effect on buisness ?

    That’s it for today Chris …… and THANK YOU !
    Phil Ankofski

  • Chris says:

    Hi, Phil.
    I closed Woodys #1 in 1985. It was really hard for me because it was my first real job and there were so many memories there. I kept it closed for close to a year until I figured out what to do with the property. I then decided, with my friend’s advice, to try a new concept.
    I watched each day as they dismantled the building and it was so sad for me. Remember this was the first Woodys.
    I still kept #7 El Segundo.
    When we took over the 2 stores in 1971, first thing we did was put fries in El Segundo. Business boomed, although it was already doing well.
    We installed a new hood over the back counter behind the broiler.
    We put 2 high efficiency, large capacity counter top electric fryers under the hood, We didn’t use heat lamps, we used a warming unit with quartz tubes. Everything worked well. We sold 250 to 300 lbs. a day at the time.
    Needless to say potato salad and mac salad slowed to a crawl. I eventually took out mac salad.
    #1 C.C. Put a slightly smaller gas grill in and installed the floor model frymaster fryer next to that under the same hood. It worked out well.
    I’m not sure this design would have worked in Woody’s hayday do to the large volumn of grilled items we sold back then. It did work for us at the time though.
    Next time I’ll explain, what happened in 1971 when Woodys split came about and who went where.

    Chris

    Just a note:
    They torn down Redondo about a month ago to make way for a whole new restaurant.

  • Chris Pingel says:

    Hi Everyone again,
    Thanks, Phil.
    I closed #1 Culver City in 1985. Couldn’t decide what to do with the building for quite sometime and then was introduced to another popular concept by a friend and decided to demolish the building, which was 30 years old, and try that. It’s doing very well.
    Anyway, we put fries in at #7 in 1971. We installed two high efficiency, high capacity counter model, electric fryers on the counter behind the grill, on the back wall. We installed a stainless steel hood with fire system above that and put in a Quartz tube electric fry warmer next to that.
    It worked out very well. We sold 250 to 300 pounds of fries daily.
    Needless to say Potato and mac salad sales dropped dramatically. I dropped mac. after just a short time.
    In Culver City we put in a smaller broiler and installed a floor model Frymaster fryer next to it. Worked well.
    I don’t think we would have been able to do it that way with the business we did in the 60′s, though. We needed all the broiler space we could get, as you all know.
    Woody’s #1 had a very small line and couldn’t fit many extras.
    More later.
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Good morning all,
    Thanks Chris for yet another informative narrative.
    Your explanation of the fry layout is excellent and I can now visualize
    just how you did it. Knowing these facts, I can now rest in peace.

    Some additional names from Culver City, circa 1964 / 1965 ;
    Jerry Walters ~ Wally Roga ~ Dave Fujiwara ~

    I will always remember Dave as the guy who made me aware of Bob Dylan.
    Dave was taking daytime classes and therefore was always working the closing shift. Anyway, after all work was done and the back door was locked, Dave would sit on his motorcycle with his guitar and play several of Dylan’s tunes. Dave was very good.
    ( PS ~ I now have a 30 year old daughter Kate who has enjoyed 35 live venue concerts featuring Bob Dylan. How could I have ever known ? )

    Chris, aside from ashtrays and coffee mugs, did you select any major items
    from the Culver City demolition to serve as momentos?
    I hope you saved some table and chair sets plus a picnic table or two.
    Please tell me you saved the stainless steel spatchula !

    I have been trying to repress your comment about the King Swiss Extra Rare. My stomach cannot handle it.

    Have a great week everyone !
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    For MARK EVANIER ~

    Thank you for creating and maintaining this web site.
    I too am a big history buff and your site has enabled me to satisfy my curiosity on many issues regarding the Woody’s Smorgasburger operation.
    I looked up your bio on the search engine, and I must commend you on your very interesting career. I hope you will keep this up for a long time.
    Best regards,
    Phil Ankofski ~ Woody’s employee

  • Gary Wilcut says:

    Hi Chris,

    I remember you well from when you and my brother would come to Woody’s and I would treat you and my brother to a free Smorgasburger and beverage, thanks to Ralph’s generous food allowance he gave to his employees as a perk.
    I also have found memories of your brother Steve, as we were in the Boy Scouts together in Westchester circa 1957. We had a reunion in Las Vegas in 2011 of the Westchester Boy Scouts, many of which worked at Tiny Naylors, but could not locate your brother. Phil A. might be interested in putting together a reunion of Woody’s employees. What a lot of stories we would here about those times.
    Chris, I hear you did well in the restaurant industry from those days at Woody’s. Congratulations !

  • Mike Sheffield says:

    I remeber all of them grew up in mar vista and used the one near the studio drive in to get food to go for the moives the ymade the most awesome bake potaes too ,and when they did fries it was teh french cut one looked like little fans .. miss the MAterhorn my fave burger of all time :).. that placeand sterns bbq are still in my head .. sterns used the most incredible sauce made from brisquit drippings. god i couldve eaten the sauce alone LOL.. so sad they are all gone people dont know whatthey are missing

  • Stephen says:

    During the 1960s I ate at the location in or near Gardena, on Rosecrans I think. I also ate a few times at Hollywood Rivera. In 1973 I moved to Reseda. I lived there for 27 years. I did not see a Woody’s in Reseda or Woodland Hills. Can any tell me where the restaurants were located in those communities?

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Good Morgan ! ( in honor of the late and great Robert W. Morgan ~ KHJ ~)

    I for one cannot assist Stephen with unit location info. I am sure someone will find us and provide some answers.

    Thanks Gary for the reunion nomination but I do not have the skill sets for arranging parties plus I am 2400 miles away in Dublin, Ohio.
    It is a fabulous idea ! I think it would take guys like Chris Pingel and Steve Dabbs to be on board since they would have the broadest range of contacts with ex employees.

    I do have a suggestion for the gathering place: It is right in Ralph Wood’s and Chris Pingel’s front yard : The Admiral Risty in Palos Verdes !
    Wouldn’t it be awesome to gather and give a toast to the two men who made and maintained ” Woody’s ” as we all knew it ?

    The Admiral Risty opens for dinner at 4 PM to the public.
    We could arrange with Wayne Judah ( general manager ) to take over the Risty from say 10 AM to 3:30 PM.
    At 11 o’clock we would fire up the grills and then serve only a 100 %
    Woody’s Smorgasburger lunch ; The smorgies, King smorgies, Materhorns,
    Green salads, plus the potato and mac salads. Potato chips and root beers
    of course. ( cannot forget the chopped peanuts and salsa ) . At 2PM the ” Do it yourself sundae bar” would be set up and ready to go.
    At 2:30 , Mr. Wood might be receptive to opening the Risty’s cocktail bar.
    Sounds like a chance in a lifetime to me.

    ( for readers who did not know ; Mr. Wood and partner originated the
    Woody’s Smorgasburger in 1956. Mr. Wood and his wife Barbara opened the Admiral Risty in 1966 and this restaurant has now been operating
    continuously for 47 years ! )

    Mr. Wood will be 88 this year and I understand from Chris P. that it would be pretty rare now to find him ” at work .”
    I cannot wait to see comments and suggestions regarding the above.
    Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Stephen –
    The Woodland Hills Woody’s Smorgasburger was on Topanga Canyon Bl (near Victory?), on the west side of the street. It was unique in the Woody’s restaurant group in that it was not a stand-alone building. Not sure what else was with it, bu could have been a clothing store, jewelry store, etc. Was only there a couple of times….

    Phil – Great idea for a reunion. I might just be able to come down from Oregon for that. I’ve lost touch with Steve Dabbs long time ago, but he might be living in Orange County – not sure. He always liked to keep a low profile.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Stephen – Regarding your visit to a Woody’s in Gardena (maybe on Rosecrans?), that’s a new one on me. Are you sure you couldn’t be thinking of perhaps of the El Segundo location? I know the Gardena area pretty well (but not until the mid 70′s), and I don’t recall seeing any building that could have been a Woody’s. What surroundings do you remember about it? There were some Woody’s franchises in the 60′s, but I don’t have any specifics on locations. I do know there were some in northern California.

  • Chris says:

    Anyone remember the do it yourself coffee break in the mornings?
    We would put out a manual cash register on the front counter with donuts, pastries and coffee.
    Customers would come in and help themselves and ring up their own sale.
    Wow, what a trip. I wonder why that stopped, hmmm.
    Also remember April 15th income tax special.
    2 Smorgasburgers for the price of one, all day. Free coffee for people waiting in line. The line at Culver City was out the door.
    I always looked forward to that, all the excitement.
    These were all from the mid sixties
    Also, there was a location on Rosecrans on the north side of the street. I think Gardena, not sure about that.
    Anyway, just a few things more for everyone to remember.
    Later,
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Chris P.
    During my tenure with Woody’s, a six day work week was the norm for
    unit managers. Questions ; was there a point in time when the work week was reduced to 5 days? What is the industry standard today?
    How many days per week do the EPL managers work?
    I am thinking the annual pay for a unit manager must be aroung 50K
    in California. Am I far off ?
    Where did you go to high school?
    Thanks Chris.
    Phil A.

  • Stephen says:

    Marshall it would not have been El Segundo as that was not my area. As Chris indicated it was on the north side. I think there was a roller skating rink nearby. Thanks for the location in Woodland Hills. I rarely went farther north than Vanowen.

    I found a match book cover that indicates there was a location in Reseda. I can’t imagine where.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Good Morgan ! ( as in Robert W. ~ KHJ Boss Angeles )

    This narrative will focus on Woody’s GARDENA.
    I have delayed putting my two cents in because I was hoping another individual would come forth bringing 100% facts.
    It occurred to me that it could take months and months for this to happen
    and none of us are getting younger.
    This is what I have to offer;
    100 % facts : Woody’s did have a unit in Gardena. ( free standing )
    It was on Rosecrans
    It’s life was short lived ( within initial 5 year lease )
    ( early 1959 thru late 1963 )

    The following info MAY NOT be 100% fact because I learned this from conversations in 1964 and 1965 AFTER GARDENA WAS CLOSED.
    There is a guy in the following scenario who I will refer to as Mr.X
    because of the preceeding sentence.
    Here we go; Gardena was the third unit opened and had the designation of unit #3. After three years, sales were not reaching the desired levels
    so a sub lease was offered to the man who was the current manager.(Mr.X)
    Mr X took over in the forth year and changed the name, but kept the self serve condiment and sundae bars. In addition to the name change, Mr X did some things to put a very large focus on the ” chopped peanuts”
    for the burgers. I DO NOT know what these actions were.

    With Mr X at the helm, sales continued to slide …… to the point when it was decided that the lease and sub lease would be allowed to expire.
    With the closing of Gardena, Mr X REJOINED the Woody’s operation and remained in management until Mr. Wood closed his Figueroa unit many years later.

    The conversations I heard in 1964/64 seemed to cast a feeling that GARDENA was the ” black sheep” of the family and yes there was some snickering about Mr X and his ” peanut burger “.

    In closing, I now wonder if Gardena suffered from the same problems that IHOP had with their units. I say this because the vast majority of IHOP units did not survive past three years. In addition we have to remember that investors who bought into the Woody’s IHOP franchise had to pay the fees and monthly royalties set forth in the contracts. Those fees could very well be what squeezed the bottom line.

    I do enjoy these tests on my memory.

    For Memorial Day, I intend to write a narrative in honor of two men who died in Vietnam during battles in 1968 / 1969.
    They were both employees of Woody’s El Segundo . We worked together during my tenure there as manager 1966/1967.

    Please join me if you feel that you have something you also would like to share.

    All my best,
    Phil Ankofski

  • chris p says:

    Woodland Hills was in the bottom of an office building.
    It originally was opened as a carvary, I believe. It was converted to a Woodys not long after. It had carpeted dining rooms with chandeliers. It was a challenge running that store because the line was so large it took a lot of steps for everything. The carpets were a constant mess because people would spill ice cream from the ice cream bar on their way back to their tables. We kept that store for a short while but decided to close it when the lease was up. The sales we never really that great, at least, while I was connected with it. After the earthquake in 1971 all the windows broke out including the grill glass. The whole building sunk about a foot.
    When you went to the storeroom upstairs you had to duck under a steel beam which used to be above you head. My friend Mike Schuler was the last manager there then he moved back to #1 after we closed it.
    I hope I got my facts right.
    Phil, managers usually work 40 hours, but are on salaries so that can change. You’re pretty close on your salary estimate, most more some a little less.
    St Bernards.
    Everyone,
    Take care,
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    For Chris P.
    Thanks for giving us the insight into the Woodland Hills unit. I can see why John C. was not in love with this store.
    Question: Once WH closed and Mike Schuler returned to Culver City, how many years did he remain with you? I am wondering if Mike stayed until the CC closing in 1985.
    Chris, I must tell you that I have been sleeping much better since you told us how you finally installed fries in El Segundo and Culver City. Amen .
    One King Swiss extra rare coming up !
    Phil A.

  • Chris P says:

    Mike went into the airforce in 1967 for 4 years then came back and worked with us in Woodland Hills until we closed it and then went back to #1. I was at #7 at the time.
    Mike did help open The Risty before he joined the service.
    I do have a few original oval plates, not the ones with the Uncle Woody IHOP logo,the original ones with the yodeler. I also have a set of straps and yellow shirt and checkered pants. I think they are in my attic somewhere.
    When I come across them I’ll take a picture and send it to Phil.
    I used to have some matchbooks too.
    I think I’m pretty accurate on my facts but I could be off a little but generally they are the way I remember them.
    Have a good weekend everyone.
    Chris P.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Love all this information that is coming in…..

    Thanks for the details on the Gardena location, Phil. No wonder I didn’t know anything about it – before my time. I’m curious though as to where on Rosecrans it was – wondering if the building is still there? I drove around that area a lot in the late 70′s / early 80′s.
    - And thanks for the Robert W. blurb. He was my all-time favorite DJ – and I’ve been listening to radio since about 1959. I cried when I heard he had passed. I bought a Jazz Crusaders CD just to have his theme song.

    Chris – Your post on Woodland Hills caused me to recall some of those same things. I went there only once (if I remember correctly). It was to deliver some stock item they were short on, or something like that (hamburger patties?). I remember the carpet. Westwood had carpet as well. It was a constant problem.

  • Chris P says:

    I heard that in Westwood the UCLA students would come in and order one sundae and get a bunch of iced tea spoons, put the sundae dish in the middle and fill the entire tray with ice cream and toppings and drip from the sundae bar to their table.
    I’ll check out the location of the Gardena unit soon and let you know if the building is still there.
    Later,
    Chris P

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hi Chris.
    Thanks for the Mike S. updates. I remember him well from work plus being in his parents home with some of his other friends.
    If Mike ever reads this ; a big hello and God bless from Phil A. !

    I would love a photo of your Woody’s uniform items and I hope you can have your wife take the photo with you in it. That would make it priceless.
    Phil

    Marshall Loveday ……..” you’r Morganized !!!! ”

    Yes, Robert W. was my all time favorite as well. It would be hard to imagine driving to work or having a Southern California cultute without him. I will try to describe my all time favorite episode from one of his morning broadcasts.
    Here we go ; Robert W. is in studio and on the air with his four year old daughter by his side. ( Susie, I think ). Anyway, it must have been around Easter time as Robert W. was explaning how little chicks sound when making their little ” peeps “.
    Well, little Susie was not buying into her dad’s rendition at all.
    She jumped right in and started giving her dad hell for not doing the “peeps” correctly ……. and then proceeded to perform her version to everyone’s astonishment.
    I have yet to hear a more hillarious radio segment. RIP Robert W.

    Now Marshall, a tip for you which should make your day.
    The CD ” Cruisin 1965 ” was made featuring Robert W. exclusively on the air playing records, and doing commercials as well as his ” shtick “.
    The CD includes 10 of the best songs from 1965 and is available for ten bucks from Amazon.

    I keep my copy in the car during summer so if I am out and about in the early sunshine, I just slide the CD in and let Robert W. do his thing.
    Of course if we had palm trees in Ohio ……. it would be perfect.
    ” save a nickel, save a dime, save a dollar and much more at your Thrifty Drug stores.”

    Well gang, I am off to the paint store. Hope to start staining the cedar fence this weekend. Not a small job.
    Best regards,
    Phil A.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Chris –
    Yes, the UCLA students, and the University H.S. students would buy a sundae, put it on a tray, then they would see how high they could stack the soft-serve before it fell over. After a couple of goes at this, we would have to go out to the machine and stand over them and go, “Ahem……”

    Phil –
    Thanks for the tip on that CD. I’ll check it out. Now, still have to hook up a CD player in my ’81 Pontiac Bonneville Safari wagon (a ‘woody’, of course). Pics here:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.472488122771134.114916.100000298509093&type=3

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Marshall,
    I have not been able to open your photo post so I went to the BING IMAGE site and found plenty of photos of the 81 Safari. Nice ride !
    Since you lived in the City of Orange for so many years I only assume you do not have the surf board to hang out the back. ( tee hee. )
    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Good afternoon Readers,
    I just finished lunch ; my best Swissburger ever ! ( upped to 1/3 lb. )
    Toasted bun with mayo, catsup, crushed cashews and a nice slab of swiss cheese. Cooked in a fry pan on stove top. ( NOT RARE ) Dill and potato chips on the side. Fruit Punch instead of Lions Root Beer.

    This tip is worth passing on to all of you: There is a regional burger chain in Michigan called the ” Halo Burger “. Their claim to fame is their offering of sliced green olives for a burger topping. It really adds a new and tasty
    dimension. I really want you guys to try the olives. Cashews would be for a seperate time and not together with the green olives.
    That’s it. Enjoy the weekend.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Not going with the olives, as I don’t like them. I’d try the cashews, though. Probably go great with the teriyaki burger. As to pickles, I’ve got a ‘sweet pickle’ tooth. Hey – did anyone ever go to Pickle Bills restaurant on Ocean Park Bl?

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Readers,

    A self correction ; The spelling is LYONS root beer. By the way, the company is still in business offering the concentrate in one gallon jugs.
    I sure hope Chris Pingel has one or both of his Lyons barrels at home.
    I cannot think of a better item for him to have as a memento from his units in El Segundo and Culver City. Having the stainless spatulas would be just over the top.
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Readers,

    Whoever said afternoon naps cannot be productive?
    Todays nap session brought forth several names from Woody’s which must be acknowledged.
    Rudy Bennet : manager at El Segundo 1963/1964 which was the same time frame Ron Blasio was manager at Culver City. Rudy was a real handsome guy with a personality to match. He could have made it on the big screen.

    Les Simmons : Les was yet another guy with looks and personality.
    He also worked at El Segundo as a ” as needed supervisor ” to cover for managers who wanted to go on vacation. Les also covered for me several times when I was managing Redondo. He also covered at Figueroa.
    Les’s personality made him perfect for this role. He would show up for his new assignment and the whole crew took to him like they were all brothers.
    As I remember, Les was not available year round because he was in college.
    I know he had his heart set on going to Notre Dame but do not know if he accomplished this.
    If any of our readers know of Les, PLEASE advise me.

    Bob Anderson : Now here is the guy that Mr. Ralph Wood should have had as his son. Bob was dedicated , loyal and focused. He had a tremendous repore with all the El Segundo office patrons accoss the street.
    Bob had the same repore with his coworkers. He was hired in 1964 and worked many years until he took a break to try insurance and carpentry.
    After this stint, he returned to Woody’s El Segundo and worked many more years with Chris Pingel who was now the owner.

    Here is the lineup I came up with which shows the men who were associated with Woody’s Smorgasburger for the longest time.

    Chris Pingel ; Bus boy , lineman , manager , multi unit manager , and finally owner/operator of Culver City and El Segundo.
    Chris earns the top #1 spot because of the long life of his El Segundo store.
    Nice job Chris !

    Mr. Ralph Wood Jr. and partner John Cramer. ( 2nd and 3rd place )
    Originator / owners/operators of Woody’s Smorgasburger, Inc.
    Start date ; 1956
    Mr. Cramer sold his two units to Chris Pingel on 12/25/1978 ~
    Mr. Wood allowed the leases on his two remaing units ( #4 and #2) to expire in the time frame which was shortly after 1978.

    Bob Anderson ( fourth place ). Bobs many years with Woody’s was also due to the long life of the El Segundo store. He was hired in 1964 with Ralph Wood at the helm and retired in the early 1990′s with Chris Pingel’s ownership.
    ( there was a time interuption as indicated above. )

    JR:( fifth place ) This fella started with Mr. Wood around 1958 or 1959. He was a unit manager for some time and then was made general manager when Woody’s had five units up and running. To my knowledge he was associated with Woody’s until Mr. Wood gave up his leases for the Figueroa
    and Redondo Beach stores. ( late 1970′s or early 1980′s )

    Mr. Chris Pingel is the only individual among our readers who can affirm my pronouncements regarding the above. Chris, if I have made any errors I will gladly stand corrected.

    A friend of mine who worked at Woodland Hills in 1968 has suggested that I write a book. It is a cool idea, but the story line would need a love interest and that my friends I cannot provide.
    All my best,
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Dear Readers,
    We have all expressed an appreciation for Woody’s in one way or another. On this Memorial Day, I would like to use this forum to remember and honor two men who died in Vietnam. They both worked at Woody’s in El Segundo when they were yet boys.

    Stanley Vossin – Killed in Action May 6, 1968

    Stan worked as a part time lineman during the lunch rush. he also attended college part time with an interest in art.

    In early December of 1966, I asked Stan if he could replicate a picture of Santa’s smiling face onto the large glass panel next to the front door. He assured me he could, and he did. Stan’s beautiful painting gave a unique cheer to the restaurant throughout that holiday season.

    In the time frame in which Stan died, the TET offensive was on; Martin Luthor King was killed; and Robert Kennedy was killed in June. The songs of that time included “Hey Jude”, “Mony Mony”, and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.

    Yes Stan, we do remember you.

    Amen
    *****************

    Garey Grubbs – Killed in Action May 27, 1969

    Garey was a part time bus boy who worked the closing shift so he could attend day time college classes. Garey was a handsome boy with very dark hair and a non-stop smile. At a very young age, he found the love of his life who was a very beautiful girl. Of course, the plans they had been making were to be short-lived.

    Garey was such a wonderful asset to the staff, that his brother Cliff was hired in as well.

    In the time frame in which Garey died, Woodstock took place; the first 747s were delivered; and the moon landing occurred in July. The hot songs of that time paying on KHJ were “Sugar Sugar”; “Whole Lotta Love”; and “Bad Moon Rising”.

    Yes Garey, we do remember you.

    Amen

    – Authored by Phil Ankofski – May 2013

  • Susan B says:

    I worked at Woody’s in Culver City in 1978 when I was 15 years old! My first job and I worked as a hostess/cashier and then learned the best way to make hamburgers and did that for awhile! Sure wish I could remember the name of the manager at the time, he was awesome :)

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Dear Readers,
    An important correction on my part for Stanley’s misspelled name;
    The correct spelling is:

    Stanley Joseph Vossen ~ Inglewood, CA. ~ Age at loss : 21

    I was pleased to discover that a portion of Sepulveda Blvd. in El Segundo has been dedicated to the men of Los Angeles County who served in Vietnam. This sign cannot be very far from the Woody’s location.
    How fitting for the families and friends of both Stan and Garey.
    Amen.

    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Susan B.
    Thank you for your appearance and comment on this site. Such fun !
    Since Woody’s was a semi cafeteria operation I am most curious as to what your duties as a hostess were. I think Marshall and Gary Wilcut are wondering as well.
    Anyway, Chris Pingel is the the guy who will be willing and able to answer your question about the manager. In fact, it probably was Chris himself, but I will let him speak to this issue after he reads your comment.
    I wish there was a photo of you at the grill !
    Regards,
    Phil Ankofski

  • Chris P says:

    I believe the managers name in 1978 was Pat C. He was a heavy set man and one of the nicest people I have ever met, always smiling.
    I was his boss. When I took over he still worked for me for a few more years.
    I remember hiring a girl named Susan S. but not sure what the year was.
    I took a picture, the other day, of the new Brew House in Redondo beach.
    That’s a new restaurant that replaced the Redondo Store that was torn down a few months ago. I wish I had gotten a few pictures of that. That was a sad.
    I hope I’m accurate on my comments today. 1978 was a long time ago. I’ll try to remember back and give you more facts.
    Chris

  • chris P. says:

    Phil,
    Is it possible to share pictures on this site some how?
    I have a few and probably other people do as well.
    Chris

  • The Management says:

    If you have photos that should be up here, send them to me. The address is on the “About This Site” page.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Chris and the Management ( Mark ? ) and all our Readers,
    Man O man …. this site is gonna catch on fire if we can post photos !!!
    I have many from Culver City and several from El Segundo, Redondo and the Admiral Risty. I myself have never posted photos before, but I assure you all that I will learn so that I can be in on this.

    Chris, Thanks for the Redondo update. Looks like this is unit #2 for the
    Brew House. First location is on Main street in El Segundo.
    I guess we should wish them well.

    I will be absent for a bit starting June 3rd as I am going north to Michigan to be with family. Please feel free to start without me regarding this photo
    posting. What fun !!!! Thank you Mark.
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    For Chris Pingel,
    Please comment on my narrative regarding my list of men who operated with Woody’s for the most years. I would like your opinion as to whether or not it is correct ….. or if I have left anyone out.
    Thanks,
    Phil

  • Steve says:

    To Phil (Mr. A) Thank you for mentioning the fellows who were KIA…God bless them, and you, sir…and it puts a face so to speak on what the day is about.

  • Chris says:

    Had dinner at The Risty last Saturday. Saw Wayne there. He’s always there. We love that place it’s our comfort place. Had Risty’s flank steak and lobster. I love their food. We always have a nice relaxing time.
    I remember back around 1970 the managers got an employees discount at the Risty.
    Some of us went there one New years eve, JR was there too. I remember drinking their famous Margaritas. They had a hint of mint, if I remember correctly. All of us managers , I was manager of CC, #1, at the time, had such good times together when we would get together, sometimes after we’d take inventory we’d go have a few beers. it was fun.
    Back later,
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Chris,
    WOW ! Steak AND lobster at the Risty ! Let’s see, last Saturday I think my wife and I shared a chicken burrito from Chipotle. ( tee he )
    Wish we had some EPL units here in the midwest.
    Did you learn how Ralph Wood is doing ? Please advise if you have updates. Thanks.
    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all the guys out there!
    I was really straining my memory for this one: The last time I had steak and lobster on the same platter was at the Latitude 20 on the Coast Highway just north of Hawthorne. ( 1967, 1968 ) ( Torrance )
    Hop Louie owned and operated this exotic Hawiian venue for a good number of years. He featured big name talent to compliment the Island dancers. I was considered a regular and Hop always lamented about the trouble and headaches that came with booking live entertainment.
    The live shows, cocktails, and food were always excellent. Every visit !
    Boy, did I spend the $$$$ in that place. ( and always had two of the best seats for the shows. )

    In that time period I was managing Woody’s Redondo which was just a
    five minute drive from the ” 20″. Anyway, I invited Hop to come in and
    have a meal at Woody’s and on one late afternoon he did come in with his bookeeper. They each ordered the New York Strip with baked potato, salad and roll. At the time , I think the menu price was $2.49 or $2.89.
    They could not believe that Woody’s could put out this meal for the price.
    Well, that’s my story on ” Surf and Turf. ”
    Was anyone else a patron of the Latitude 20 ?
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    I just brought out my copy of ” General Rules at Woody’s “.
    It is 49 years old and in pristine condition ! Each new employee was given a copy when hired.
    I thought I would share some of the rules with you.

    ” On the Job ” ….Leaving your station without the consent of your supervisor is not permitted as it interrupts the service.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Rule ” Clothing ” ….. Do not adjust your clothes or comb your hair out in the service area or dining room.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Rule ” Spillage ” …. No charge is to be made for food portions spoiled or spilled by accident, even if it is the fault of the patron.
    Replace immediately.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Rule ” Cleanliness ” …. Never serve food that has fallen off a plate or on the floor. Silverware, china or napkins must never be picked off the floor and used.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Last rule for today, ( although there are 10 more. )

    Rule ” Laziness ” …. Do not lean or sit on tables, counters or in any way
    give an impression of laziness. Also, we prepare and serve food off and out of most of these areas.

    This summer is my 49th anniversary marking my start with Woody’s.
    I know it is the same for Chris Pingel and Mike Schuler.
    I think a toast is in order. So …… Chris, Mike, Gary W. , Marshall, and all
    other employees and readers ; ” here’s to the great people we met and the great times we shared. ”

    My best regards to each and all.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Chris says:

    Hi Phil,
    I remember Latitude 20. We used to live around the corner many years ago.
    We always enjoyed going there. Hop would always be there to introduce the entertainment. He always looked like he was having so much fun and your were treated like a guest in his home.
    The food also was great.
    He sold the restaurant to some friends of mine who in turn turned it into a country western restaurant and bar with line dancing. That was the big thing at the time.
    The building has long sense been torn down.
    I hope everyone is doing well. back soon,
    Chris

  • Chris says:

    Almost 49 years. That’s amazing. AUGUST 1964 is when I started at CC #1.
    I was 18. I sure miss the old days. Things were so much simpler then.
    I always loved my job there.
    I’ll talk to Wayne and maybe he can tell you how Mr. Wood is doing. He sees him quite often. He should tell you about him. He is ok, I know, but Wayne can really bring you up to date.
    I’ll call Wayne tomorrow and give him the web site.
    Later,
    Chris

  • Ken says:

    I found this site during a moment of nostalgia. I worked at Woody’s #2 (Redondo) from September, 1962 to December, 1965. Started out as a part-time lineman, then later worked full-time as a supervisor, then assistant manager. I worked many shifts on the line with Steve Dabbs and Ron Nestlerode, both of whom went on to manage other Woody’s. Because of its location (several blocks from the beach) and the fact that Woody preferred to hire guys in their late teens and early 20′s, the place was somewhat of a “chick magnet,” and some of us (me included) eventually married girls (women) who came to eat there. BTW: JR is John Rudberg, who was Woody’s second in command at the time, and often circulated around the various stores to put out “brush fires.” Many, many memories about Woody’s, and it was years before I stopped having dreams about working the grill on hamburger steak night. lol

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hi Chris,
    Small world. I lived across from the Latitude 20 on the other side of the Coast Highway in the small berg of Walteria. On Neece Ave.! ( 1967 ‘ 68 )
    My favorite entertainment was Ernie Menahune with his all of his hip swinging dancers. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!

    It would really be cool ( bitchin ? ) if Wayne could show Ralph Wood this
    web site with all of the wonderful comments. It would convey to Mr. Wood how much we all appreciated him. I do hope Wayne will find time to join us.
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Ken,
    Thanks for your insight into Redondo #2. Please return and share some additional comments and stories. What fun !
    You may have worked with these two guys as well: Richard Ingram
    and William ( Willie ) the opening man and bus boy at #2 for many years.
    Redondo did not have a lock on the chicks. Girls in Culver City used to submit multiple ” birthday club ” cards with more info than was called for.
    They would simply fill the card out and hand it back to the guy they were interested in. I am sure Chris Pingel was getting the lions share.
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    What happened to our new friends Gary Wilcut and Marshall Loveday ?
    Miss you guys !
    Phil Ankofski

  • John Hindsill says:

    This is probably the most interesting thread owing to the number of alumni from Woody’s posting here. In the late sixties I lived in the Palms area, and occasionally ate at the store on Sepulveda Blvd (nr. Jefferson, I think). But I worked in El Segundo at Imperial and Sepulveda. Our section manger loved Woody’s a couple of miles down the road, and when he treated, Woodys was the place. He used to really pile on the condiments even those more suited to the ice cream. That was a really big store , as I recall, for a place that specialized in burgers.

  • chris pingel says:

    I gave Wayne the information about the site last Saturday. I too hope he fills everyone in on Mr. Wood’s condition.
    Wayne runs a great restaurant! Everything is always perfect.
    My oldest son worked for Wayne for awhile during school and so did my daughter. She was a hostess. It was always fun going in when she worked there.
    Back to Woodys. I remember before we had the ice cream machine and had to hand scoop the ice cream into the yellow boats. I remember one Sunday night, it was so busy and I was working the register and had to scoop the ice cream too. That was a real pain, especially when we ran out. I’d have to go out to the block house and get another carton of ice cream, frozen hard. I’d put it in the large microwave to soften it up otherwise it would have been impossible to scoop. It was still fun, though, because I loved working with people.
    Two regular customers at #1 were Don Knots and Rod Serling (Twilight Zone). You know the studios were very close by and they would come in frequently.
    Got to go,
    More later,
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Fun to learn the Pingel family was tied into the Admiral Risty as well.

    More on Woody’s Redondo ; This location was the absolute best for working the cash register. The back of the condiment bar ran parallel with the serving line and was made from a shiny black material which reflected as good as a mirror.
    So ……. Redondo had all these beach babes coming through the line that were unaware that their back sides were being featured so clearly.
    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!
    Phil A.

  • Ken says:

    I remember Willie but especially Rich Ingram, who was the day assistant manager while I closed nights. I think he went on to manage after I left Woody’s for the Air Force. Some other names of managers at #2 during that time include Galen Neff, Fred Wilbur, John Bray, and Rudy [something]. The latter had a bad leg and somewhat of a Germanic attitude. lol Speaking of Willie, I recall that there was a policy at that time of not letting “people of color” work out front on the line, which was generally typical of the South Bay Area in those days. I think it was Steve Dabbs who rebelled against this policy and persuaded one of the black busboys to put on the suspenders and funny hat and work the salad bar for a short time. I also recall that Woody always threw a great Christmas party for his employees, with a generous bonus.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    For Ken and all others too ,
    Rich Ingram did become manager of Redondo and resigned in the spring of 1967. He intended on relocating to Las Vegas and become a cop !
    I do not know if this came to pass.
    I followed Rich as manager at Redondo from spring 1967 to 10/1968.
    Rudy Bennet went on to manage El Segundo around 1964/1965.

    A fun story about Willie ; Willie lived in or near Compton and on one particular weekend , Ike and Tina Turner were appearing at a very small club in his hood. Willie invited me to attend the show with him so he drove the two of us over for the late show around 10 PM.
    Holy crap ……. I was the only white dude in the place! At the time it was of no concern to me and Willie seemed to enjoy the attention from his friends because he brought in a white dude.
    The show featured the Ikette dancers along with Ike and Tina, but it was a lip sync venue ……….. which was okay by me as I am a big fan of Tina.

    Someone on the Utube site made this comment; ” Tina is the only person who can scream and sing at the same time. ” Amen to that statement.

    I must have been out of the loop regarding a Ralph Wood sponsored Christmas party. Of course we had holiday parties with coworkers, but they were always off site at someone’s apartment.

    Ken, I can see you have a great memory with names, times and places.
    Please continue to post additional comments .
    Phil

  • Ken says:

    Okay, then, Phil (Mr. A.): another anecdote. Woody’s #2 was close to a lot of bars, and people would often come stumbling in around 11 (we closed at 11:30), especially on weekends. Also, on Friday nights it was a tradition for Redondo High students to go to Woody’s after a home football game. So the place could suddenly get really PACKED! One night a customer was threatening one of the employees with a switchblade knife. I slugged the guy and took the knife away from him, then dropped the knife into the floor safe (remember the safe?). Along comes JR the next day, who looks into the safe, sees the knife, looks at me, and I reply, “We had a little trouble last night.” From that day on he stopped looking at me as if thinking, “Who are you, again?” lol

    Cross my heart this is a true story.

    P.S. loved your story about Willy and Tina Turner. :D

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hello Ken,
    Wow , what an awesome story ! I am thinking you must be a pretty big guy to stand up and go against a blade. Brave to be sure.
    Yes, I do remember the safe ….. but the combination would be a stretch.

    My story of the Watt’s riots and Culver City #1 ;
    I hired in during the summer of 1964. So, in the summer of 1965 I was working full time on random shifts.
    August 11, 1965 , I worked the Noon till 8 Pm shift. Afterwards, I made myself a meal , ate in the dining room, and then went out back to the
    free standing uniform changing room. ( 8′ X 6′ )

    Well ………….. our fellow coworker ( Jerry W. ) who had not worked that day , came running into the change room all excited about a riot in Watt’s
    and how it was expected to expand to the suburbs.
    ( Jerry’s dad was a detective with Culver City and had the inside scoop.)

    So ……. Jerry takes me to the back of his station wagon and shows me a rifle and several handguns. Mind you, I just turned 20 and Jerry was a year younger. Somewhere Jerry got the idea that the firehouse directly behind Woody’s needed protection because the cops would be too busy elsewhere.

    Now, it was already dark so Jerry repositioned his station wagon so the front end faced the banks wall and the rear end faced the firehouse.
    Next , with the tailgate down he had us lay down on our stomachs and began giving instructions on the handguns. ( to a guy who never even saw a gun up close, let alone hold one ! )

    At this point I do not recall any interaction or communication with our coworkers inside Woody’s who were still conducting business as usual.
    It was just Jerry and me and perhaps a sniper on the firehouse rooftop.
    ( so claimed Jerry )
    I loved KHJ, but I am sure we layed there in silence.

    As it was now getting later, the Woody’s crew was wrapping up their closing procedures and turning off the sign and lights.
    The three closers and Ast. manager came out the back door and locked up.
    All were talking about the riots so I suggested we vacate our post and join them. Jerry cautioned me to say nothing of the guns.

    I had been scared ……. for about two hours.
    If this situation was so dire, why was I putting my own safety on the line
    without any knowledge or training ? Would the CHP, the LA county sheriff,
    and the Culver City police department be so overwhelmed ?
    Would the rioters swarm over us like locusts in a wheat field ?

    If Jerry W. ever reads this ; Yes, Jerry you scared the hell out of me !
    Phil Ankofski

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Hey – I’m still around. Just forgot to check in on the site for a few days.

    William / Willie – now there’s a name that brought back some memories. He worked some shifts in Westwood on occasion. Kind of quiet with a stoic demeanor, but he warmed up once you got to know him. I remember giving him a lift home to south L.A. once in my Corvair. This was after midnight and he was going to take the bus home. Not gonna happen.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Good Morgan Marshall,

    I see your temps in Springfield will be in the mid 90′s today so I hope
    you will not have a high humidity factor as well. ( as in Ohio )
    Now that the San Diego nuclear plant is permanently off line I fear for all the people there regarding power outages.
    Good to see your name again !

    For Chris Pingel,
    I just realized that I have no idea what type of heating and cooling the Woody’s units had. I cannot remember ever setting a thermostat , or calling repair guys for service. I do remember #1 and #7 having large screen panels in the dining rooms, but was that it ?
    Perhaps the broiler was enough to keep the units warm in the winter months. I need help on this one Chris.
    Phil A.

  • Chris says:

    We had swamp coolers for make up air and windows and doors that would open for fresh air. Both number 1 and number 7 were not too far from the beach and had a breeze most of the time, still summers were a little tough.
    #1 Culver City had sky lights across the top of the building for light but no ventilation. In 1972,after the split, in Culver City we covered the skylights and installed vents to let the hot air escape. That made it a little better.
    Remember we had open beam ceilings so all the heat would be stuck in the upper part of the building.
    I did install AC in El Segundo a few years after I took over. El Segundo had a heating system and a fireplace for heating.
    Culver City had the fireplace, I can’t remember if we had heating.
    You had asked awhile ago about the root beer barrels, unfortunately I didn’t keep them. Now I could kill myself for just letting them go.
    When diet sodas came out, as well as a lot of other soda flavors we needed to upgrade and had to replace the root beer barrels with new upgraded drink dispensers that could hold a larger variety.
    We took out Postum and Sanka after they came out with regular decaf coffee.
    In El Segundo we did put a beverage bar in the 80′s. That actually worked out very well and customers loved it as well, besides the fact it took the pressure off the busy line.
    With all the new rules and regulations in California I think Woodys would have to make a lot of changes. Things out here in California are very different than they were in those good old days. I’d go back to those days in a minute. It was so much simpler.
    Anyway, hope you liked the information.
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Hi Chris,
    I LOVE your information and quips.
    On a trip to LA in 1991 I last saw Bob Anderson and your son at El Segundo.
    Bob showed me some of the newer upgrades; Beer, bacon and I am thinking you had a chicken sandwich offering as well. Plus you had installed a satellite dish for the customers. I like your description of the beverage upgrades in El Segundo. I was so sure that you had saved a root beer barrel. Sorry to learn you did not. Perhaps you can find one EBay.
    In the later years, I understand you tried some breakfast offerings as well.

    All this goes to show how interested you were in staying on top of your game. Well done Chris !
    Funny, I did not remember #1 being uncomfortable in the summer.

    I do remember Monday HS nights being VERY uncomfortable !
    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Chris,
    I just checked Ebay and they have several Richardson Barrels available.
    The first listing is a nice one for $2,400. Whhhhhoa !
    The site also has listings for the Lyons mugs. I may just remind my wife that my birthday is coming up and buy two.

    This may help you feel better about giving up the barrels. Perhaps not.
    In 1966 I feel in love with a 1964 all black Pontiac Catalina Ventura.
    I bought it even though I still had my 1957 FORD SKYLINER.
    This model had the all steel convertible top which divided into two sections and then swung into the trunk with a touch of a button.
    After a month, my landlady said she was tired of having my extra old car parked in front of the house. ( I was renting a room )
    She told me that her friend’s husband would be interested in buying it.
    Since I could not trust the engine and tranny for longer drives, I sold it.
    ( worth many, many thousands today )

    Chris, if I was to tell you what I took for that car, YOU would cry for me.
    You would cry for a week. Your eyes would be so red from tears that
    your office staff would think you took up drugs.

    I know the majority of the readers here can share our remorse because of
    their own losses long ago. At least I still have my Dinky Toys from 1954.
    Phil

  • Ken says:

    I hate to be a one-upper, but my Mom threw out my baseball cards, which included a Sandy Koufax rookie card. lol

  • Chris says:

    Phil, I believe Gary Wilcut had a Ford Skyliner as well. It was very cool watching the hard top retract into the trunk. Beautiful car!!!
    Chris

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Phil – While I wish it were the Ford Skyliner like yours that I also owned, it was actually a ’64 Pontiac Catalina Ventura 2-door hardtop (turquoise) that I also owned. My second vehicle, I bought it around January 1970 and sold it later to buy the Corvair that I mentioned previously.

  • Ken says:

    Re Phil’s comments of the Watts riots in 1964: We had a part-time lineman who also worked as a process server in SW L.A. Just before the riots started, he showed up at work quite upset. Seems he had gotten into a ruckus earlier that day while serving a subpoena to a guy in Watts. He couldn’t understand why the guy got very angry when our guy called him “boy.” The man got some friends and chased him out of the neighborhood. Later on, we accused him (jokingly) of having started the riots.

  • Phil ( Mr. A. ) says:

    Good Morgan, ( as in Robert W. ~ 93 KHJ Boss Angeles )

    All owners of the Ford Skyliners were scared to death that they would be rear ended while the top was in the trunk. Ouch !

    The loss of the Sandy Koufax card, Ouch !

    Chris, have you tried posting photos via the advice given by management ?
    Please give us an update on this issue. Thanks.
    If your attempts are successful, you can then walk me thru the procedure.
    Phil

  • Chris says:

    Phil,

    I have not gotten around to it yet, sorry. I’ll work on it soon.
    Thanks for reminding me.
    Have a nice 4th of July, Phil and everyone.
    Chris

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Happy 4th to All !

    For Chris Pingel;
    During my tenure with Woody’s management, Mr. Wood used the
    ” sales per man hour ” figure to determine the efficiency of each unit on a weekly basis. In the time frame of 1967, 1968 a figure between $10.60 and $10.90 per man hour was considered very good and where Mr. Wood wanted to be regarding labor costs.
    Did you also use this system and if so do you continue to use it with your
    EPL units ?

    Here is a sales issue that has had me wondering for years;
    During 1966, 67 and 68, the menu prices were very stable so the following issue would pertain to customer counts or check average.

    While at #1, (64,65 ) total sales on Friday and Saturdays ALWAYS came in around $ 1,050. NEVER broke $1,100.
    While at #7 ( 1966 ) SAME THING ! Never broke $1,100.
    While at #2 ( 1967, 68 ) SAME THING ….. Friday and Saturday totals came in at $1,050, $ 1,080. …….. always just short of that elusive $1,100.

    In hind sight, I should have rung up an extra $30.00 and put my own money in the till just so I could hear Ralph Wood exclaim how Phil’s unit finally broke the barrier.

    After having said all of the above, can you explain why this happens?
    Is there a dynamics in the neighborhood or what ?

    Do you experience the same or similar issue with your EPL units ?

    In my Woody’s model above, the average check was .85 cents without the sundae desert. So, how come we could never get an extra 30 people
    to walk in on a Saturday from 11AM till 11 PM ?
    It is all beyond me.
    Look forward to your comments.
    Phil

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Hey, all – Got a question for either Chris or Phil. Look at the Woody’s #1 pic at the top of this page. The ‘Woody’ character on the sign appears to have a blue something in his mouth. I’m guessing this is supposed to be one of those really long alpine horns. Anyone know if there was another part of the horn on that sign that went away? Or, if my assumption is wrong, please correct me!

  • Phil A. says:

    Hi Marshall,
    I will bet my wife’s retirement pension that the item you are questioning is a blue mitten or glove. ( matches his hat )
    What fun !

    I just bought a pair of the Lyons root beer mugs on E Bay.
    $15.00 for the pair including shipping. Not too bad.
    I guess I should not actually drink from them since I do not know where
    they have been during the last 50 years.
    Phil

  • Phil A. says:

    Marshall,

    I am positive on the clove. Our mountaineer mascot is raising his hand to help broadcast his yodel; ” Welcome all beach babes “.

    I think this sign was replaced in early 1966 in favor of the new soaring
    rotating sign. No graphics, just words.
    Phil

  • Chris says:

    It was a glove.
    That is a very,very old picture.
    When Woodys opened it had a charcoal broiler. I don’t know when he converted to gas. Do any of you know?
    I started in 64 and it was gas.
    The charcoal must have been a challenge, trying to keep the heat even and hot enough but not too hot. Must have been pretty smoky.
    Mr. Wood’s beef recipe was very precise and it also was pretty lean, somewhere around 18 – 20 % I believe. I was at 18 to 20. Any higher than that you’d need to where asbestos gloves to keep all the hair from burning off your arm.
    I had a fat content machine that I could test the meat at any time and know exactly what it was. If it flamed up more than normal, I would test it and notify the purveyor.
    That’s it for now.
    Take care everyone,
    Chris

  • Ken says:

    I always wondered what that blue thing was. I suspect it’s supposed to be the top part of one of those long horns they use to call in the cows in the Swiss Alps (saw one once).

  • Phil A. says:

    Hello Dear Readers,

    I have just been reading about the Santa Monica Civic and the plans to close it this month. It sounds like it will be closed for quite some time while
    the city fathers consider their options. None of the options will come cheap and since the Civic is city owned, the taxpayers will be on the hook.

    As with Woody’s, if the numbers are not what they need to be, then a closing or sale are the only options.

    I know many of our readers were in their late teens in 1964 when the
    Santa Monica Civic hosted the T.A.M.I. show featuring the Beach Boys,
    Jan and Dean, and of course the Rolling Stones.
    If any of our readers were blessed by the gods and had attended that show, please post your comments. As for me, I had only been in LA for a couple of months so I had few friends and just was not yet aware of all that was going on. In hind sight, I would have done ANYTHING to have attended that concert in person.

    We have covered a lot of topics regarding Woody’s; from the Alpine malts and salsa to the staff, Mr. Wood, Mr. Pingel and patrons. Well done !

    I must say, I have really enjoyed this site, and hope to see and learn much more. How about if we try to hit 200 comment postings.
    Photo postings will be awesome !
    Phil

  • Phil A. says:

    Hi Chris and Others too,
    Thanks for beef patty percentages. What was the butterfat percent for the soft serve ice cream ?

    A new story on the beef;

    During my tenure as manager 1966 thru 1968, Mr. Wood held monthly managers meetings at his office. His objective was to help the managers feel more involved. The issue that interested me the most was new desert items like pies, brownies, fruit tarts, etc. It seemed like we could not come up with a winner.

    Back to the beef. Early on Mr. Wood had the Patman Meat Co. supply 100%
    of beef products to all of his units. All fine and dandy.
    Until …….. one or two of his managers decided that Patman’s may not be the best available. So they had some meat purveyors come to their unit
    with samples for taste tests. Someone decided that Young’s Meat Co. was superior to the Patman hamburger patties.

    Well now, the two out of five managers were really gung ho for the Young’s patties and proceeded to come to the monthly meeting trying to get more support. I could care less. I thought with all of Ralph Wood’s experience
    that it would and should be his call.

    Anyway, this put Mr. Wood between a rock and a hard place.
    I could tell he was not interested in a switch and how irritated he would get in discussing the subject.
    So after much stonewalling ( and to show his credence in valuing the managers input) Mr. Wood did turn over one or two of the units to the Young’s Co. for the hamburger patties. ( perhaps the steaks too ).

    …………..and yet another story; during this same time frame Mr. Wood hired a business psychologist ( Gunther Klauss ) to attend the monthly meetings and observe the managers and how each behaved during the discussions. Gunther was also sent around to each unit for a 2PM private one on one discussion. The unit manager was expected to be the discussion leader and talk about whatever he wanted.
    I remember NOT saying much at all. ( no points for me ! )

    Gunther also hosted weekend management workshops at his office complex just north of San Diego. About eight different guys ( all managers ), each from his own company, gathered in a large group to conduct these social skills seminars.
    Money well spent ? Don’t think so. Ken from Redondo commented about a Wood’y Christmas party.
    I would have thought Mr. Woods money could have gone further with
    a much expanded guest list for such party.

    Well gang, time to start dinner which features sweet corn from Florida and strawberries from CA.
    All my best,
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    THE $21.00 LUNCH IN CULVER CITY !! ( one person, 2013 )

    Since many of our readers are very familiar with the Woody’s location in Culver City, I am sure they are equally aware of the Studio Drive In and
    Johnnie’s Pastrami. Of course the Studio is long gone …. but not Johnnie’s !

    I just looked up their gorgeous web site to learn their current menu prices.
    Wait till you see this info my new friends.
    The Deluxe Pastrami Plate , $16.00 ( sandwich, fries, and slaw )
    beverage, 2.00
    —————–
    $ 18.00
    tip $ 3.00
    ——————
    TOTAL $ 21.00

    I know, I know ……. the Pastrami is so flavorful and melts in your mouth.
    And the French roll is heavenly , but $21.00 !!

    I am thinking a Smorgasburger , potato salad and drink would come in
    around $6.50 in todays prices . ( July, 2013 ) Cheese and bacon , extra.
    Am I in the ball park, Chris Pingel ?

    Should I come out of retirement and open a ” Philly’s Pastrami ” ?
    Have a great week everyone.
    Phil Ankofski

  • Chris says:

    Phil,

    $6.50 sounds about right.
    Matinos Bakery for pies and brownies as long as I can remember.
    The brownies were the best. I’d heat then in the microwave and put vanilla ice cream on them, mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
    I believe we were using Alta Dena for our soft serve but I can’t remember the fat content. It has to be a certain percentage to be called ice cream, though, otherwise it’s ice milk and has to be called something else, like sundae or cone not using the term ice cream.
    Later, Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hi Chris,

    I bought two Lyons glass mugs from Ebay and they arrived in perfect
    condition…….. but they look so small.
    They hold 10 oz. if filled to the very top.
    I am thinking Woody’s mugs were larger, perhaps 14 oz.
    Please clarify or confirm. Thanks !

    In any case, I am delighted with the purchase and may go for the china
    coffee mug in the near future.
    It amazes me to see that these Woody’s items are offered from locations
    throughout the country.
    I hope everyone is having a great summer.
    All my best,
    Phil Ankofski

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Yeah, Phil, those mugs didn’t hold as much as you would think. It’s the thick glass. I loved the root beer and always had to go back for a refill.

    The wifey threw up the header pic of #1 Culver City store on FB this morning, asking if it was the El Segundo store (which she was more familiar with, since she grew up in Manhattan Beach). This got me to thinking if there are any other Woody’s store pics floating around out there? Sure would like to see some for old time’s sake. Westwood (of course), USC, Redondo. I’ve done google searches, and got zip.

  • Chris says:

    10 0z is correct.
    I do have a few heavy china plates with the old yodeler logo on them.
    International House of pancakes created the “Uncle Woody” logo later on a lighter weight plate. I may have some of those too but I know I have a few of the very old original plates. I sure wish I had kept more.
    Phil, I did pick up a current menu from The Risty if you’d like me to mail it to you give me your mailing address, not on this site.
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Marshall and Chris,
    Thanks guys for the confirmation on the 10 oz. mugs.
    After 45 years most things do seem smaller, like the house you grew up in.
    I was holding the mug and thought; if I put ice cream in here for a root beer float, there sure won’t be much room for the root beer.
    Did we give the customer extra root beer on the side ? Can’t remember.

    I too have several original ” heavy plates ” which have only seen the light of day perhaps three times in 45 years. NEVER been used !

    Marshall, I have several exterior pics of Culver City with various staff
    and coworkers. I have a couple of exterior pics of El Segundo and one
    exterior of Redondo. Plus two interior of Redondo with staff.

    I am hoping we can get the photo posting up and running on this site.
    If not, I will be more than happy to make other arrangements to get photos
    to those who are interested.

    Chris,
    I would love a menu from the Risty ! Thanks for thinking of me.
    I will connect with you via email.
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Dear Readers and hello to all,

    On this wonderful web site we all have professed our love for the Woody’s Smorgasburger, King Swiss, and Matterhorns plus the chopped nuts.
    Of course they are long gone and Chris Pingel has turned his talents and attentions to chicken while Mr.Wood has been with seafood for 47 years !
    I would like to invite all of you to participate in this survey.

    I relocated back to the Midwest in late 1970 , so I am not aware of all the burger offerings in the Southern Cal. areas. ( yes, I am aware of the
    In N Out system ).
    In the absence of Woody’s please tell me your current favorite place for
    a wonderful juicy burger and the reasons why they earn your vote.

    My thanks to all. I am looking forward to your responses !
    Phil Ankofski

  • Chris says:

    With all the new burger places that have sprung up in the last few years like: 5 Guys, The Counter, and more. I can honestly tell you that they really can’t even come close to the Smorgasburger, especially the KING SWISS with freshly made tomato salsa
    I eat a lot of burgers, believe me, I know.
    Chris

  • Miriam Lyon Gertsen says:

    Woody’s is part of our family’s history, starting with the original Woody’s Smorgasburger in Culver City….LOVED the peanuts on the cheeseburger. When I chose my wedding dress at Lucky Gown Shop (nice at the time) near USC, my cousin and I celebrated my euphoria by going to Woody’s and ordering two burgers each!

    When we moved to the Napa Valley we served “Woody Burgers” to my son and his friends for his 16th birthday. We still have these burgers for July 4th, etc. There is always a bowl of chopped peanuts to complete the perfect burger.

    I always fix my “Woody Burger” the same way….meat, cheese, a little mayo, a little ketchup, dill chips and lots of thousand island dressing with lots of chopped peanuts on top. I scoop up the spilled over thousand island dressing and peanuts with Lays potato chips.

    We’re now back in SoCal, and we skip around to find our favorite burger…sometimes The Counter, sometimes The Habit, and often In N Out. These burgers are always fresh and juicy, but Woody’s hasn’t been replaced as a favorite.

  • Larry Sturchio - Wich Stand says:

    Woody’s was great…Unlike a lot of you, I never worked there, but I sure eat a lot there….

    Tiny Naylor’s on Manchester & Sepulveda and the Wich Stand Slauson & Overhill were also great.

    Anyone have a picture Tiny Naylor’s on Manchester & Sepulveda, If so please send it to: Larry@wichstand.com

    Thanks and I love this blog…

    Warm regards,

    Larry Sturchio

  • Steve says:

    Mr. A, re: your survey…I really don’t like any franchise or restaurant burger as much as Woody’s. If I want to simulate the Woody’s experience, I just make burgers at home from scratch. I’ve never had anything that compares to the wonderful char-broiled flavor of Woody’s.

  • Barry says:

    The Woody’s in Gardena was at Rosecrans and Van Ness around the corner of the Fox Market. My family ate there often. Just discovered this site and the memories of the burgers was awesome. Grew up in the old Holly Park in the late 50′s and early 60′s.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Barry,
    Please more details if you can.
    Which corner ; SW, SE, NW, NE ?
    Which road did the front of the restaurant face ?

    We know the Gardena unit had a short life. Would you remember
    what company came in after Woody’s ?

    Phil A.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    I’m fairly familiar with that corner, having lived in that area from ’74 until ’81. Just checked the intersection on Google Earth, to see what it looks like now. N/W corner has a fairly large open shopping center that’s been there for years – at least before I got there. It’s been recently remodeled. I kinda doubt the Woody’s was on this corner. N/E corner had a gas station, now gone. Next door to the gas station property along Rosecrans to the east is a very small restaurant. This location is a possibility, but I don’t think the Woody’s would have been in this building – too small, and looks too new (flat roof). Continuing around the intersection, the S/E corner has a very small strip mall with maybe 6-8 businesses on. Going to the east on the south side of Rosecrans is the start of some small industrial businesses. Don’t think the Woody’s was on this corner. On the S/W corner right now is a Church’s Fried Chicken – newer building. Not sure, but I think a gas station may have been on this property before. Next door to the Church’s, going west on Rosecrans is a former Denny’s restaurant, now something else. I suppose it’s possible the Woody’s was here, but the style of the building is noticeably ‘Denny’s – looking’.

  • chris says:

    I believe it was on Rosecrans, north side, near Van Ness. Don’t know what came in right after but the last time I saw it, it was a Mexican Restaurant but that’s been some time ago.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello my detective friends !

    I did not expect this Gardena unit to take up so much of our time.
    No matter, as it is much fun to address the issue while taking breaks
    from my exterior house painting and staining. ( a job well done ).

    To carry on …. Marshall did a FABULOUS job of detailing the four corners
    and the remaining possibilities. Thank you Marshall.
    Chris is affirmative that Woody’s did front on Rosecrans and was on the north side, but NOT RIGHT ON the corner of Van Ness.
    Barry also said that Woody’s was around the corner from a FOX market.
    The FOX market could well be the structure at the N/E corner which now looks to be a U Haul rental site. The structure does look to be the size of the neighborhood food markets in the 60′s.
    So, at this point I will bet my wife’s retirement that the very small flat
    roofed structure was indeed the Woody’s. I DO AGREE with Marshall that the unit looks so small, but here is another fact that may prevail;

    Ralph Wood’s partner was an older man ( MR. J. Cramer ) who was also
    part owner in the FOX food markets.
    My current suggestion ; when Mr. Cramer became aware of the availability of this restaurant site ( which shared his FOX parking lot ) , he gave a
    ” heads up ” to Ralph Wood to check out if he liked it for his unit #3.
    In this scenario, not too much upfront $$$$$ was needed.

    As I said, this is conjecture on my part. I now hope Barry will return to this
    site and give a clarification as to whether the Woody’s building is yet standing or if it was in a location that has been redeveloped.
    Help us Barry !!!!
    In the meantime ;
    Chris, please tell me you had enough chicken in Oceanside.
    Only 4 weeks left of summer gang . Enjoy !

    PS for Gary Wilcut ; Are you okay ? Miss your postings.
    Phil Ankofski

  • chris says:

    I will try to get by the location in the next couple of days. if the building is still there I’ll let you know. I believe the Woodys Gardena had a flat roof.
    Gary give me Dennis’s email address, please.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Dear Readers,

    This comment posting is #150 ! A real milestone.
    I would like to use it to thank Chris Pingel for his time and effort in
    revisiting the Gardena location for us.
    Let’s put this baby to rest.
    Phil A.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Late tonight I’ll post up a pic of the building on my FB page. Go to the album labelled ‘Woody’s’. (not there yet)

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    While prepping my deck for re staining , this thought occurred;
    If Chris can verify that the flat roofed restaurant near the N/E corner is indeed the former Woody’s site, well then, how many of us would be up for the proposition of restoring the building to a new Woody’s ?

    Chris would need to find some time away from his chicken and join
    Gary Wilcut in operations. Gary would of course feature his salsa along with the Woody’s original salsa. Marshall and I would be silent partners who chip in our ideas and suggestions from Oregon and Ohio.

    We could replicate the practice of the Paul Newman Food Co. and donate all the profits to charity. Who doesn’t need another tax exemption ?

    The nice thing about this N/E location on Rosecrans is that there is enormous opportunity to expand the square footage as the $$$$$
    rolls in. Hell, you could have a FOUR lane dive thru at the back of the unit.
    One lane for each language ; English, Spanish, Korean and Asian !!

    As business continues to explode, we would take over the U Haul joint
    and feature a Sunday afternoon Luau like the ” Latitude 20 ” had.
    You would have your Smorgees, beers and drinks while being entertained by the most curvy and slimmest Island dancers. ( in honor of Hop Louie )

    Well gang, in reviewing the above narrative, it is obvious that I have been
    affected by the fumes of the Behr Deck Stripper.
    I gotta get back out there and hose that stuff off.

    PS ; Because I did not list more than four names as investors in the Woody’s project, this does not mean others are excluded.
    More the merrier….. plus females are most welcome !

    It’s been fun,
    Phil A.

  • Marshall Loveday says:
  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Good Morgan Marshall, ( as in Robert W. ~ KHJ )

    Thank you for posting the photo on your FB. The more I look at it, the bigger it looks. We are looking forward to Chris’s drive by so he can proclaim his yea or nay on this building.
    Your personal photo is cool too. I am trying to imagine you with the Woody’s Tyrolean hat.
    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    For All Readers, Employees and Patrons of Woody’s,

    I have come to learn that Mr. Ralph Wood is ” slowing down ” .
    Mr. Wood will be 88 years old at some point this year.
    So, for those of you who still say your bedtime prayers, please join me in adding Mr. Wood to your prayer list.
    Please, do NOT interpret this comment as something dire. It is not.
    I pray that Mr. Wood will maintain the strength that he has for many more wonderful years with his family and friends. Amen

    Warm regards,
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    This is for all you old Geezers, ( like me )

    This is probably Monday morning and if any of you need a ” jump start ”
    to begin your week, let me suggest the following;
    Switch out of this site and go into UTube.
    Punch in Jan and Arnie for ” Jennie Lee ”
    and then Jan and Dean for ” Baby Talk “.

    These guys were your home town favorites ( like Woody’s ).
    Jan was a master in obtaining the best sidemen on the west coast.
    The saxophone bridge will get those ol bones movin today. Guaranteed.

    So, what’s this got to do with Woody’s Smorgasburger ?
    Only that they were both really great and at the top of their game.
    Am I right Gary Wilcut ?

    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Readers,
    ” You are all ” Morganized ” ! ~ in remembrance of Robert W. , KHJ ~

    I found the Woody’s Wooden Dime. The site is one of the many listed under Woody’s Smorgasburger with the Google search.
    The photo shows the wooden dime to be about the size of a quarter
    with a printed inscription on each side.
    ” One to a customer ” and ” Worth 10 cents on purchase at any
    Woody’s Smorgasburger.”

    I myself have never saw one and this is the first I have learned of its
    existence. It must have been put in circulation in the late 1950′s and early 60′s. I suppose each unit manager was given a few bags to toss about his local area like the Redondo Pier, Studio Drive In and high school ball fields.

    ” save a nickel, save a dime, save at Thrifty every time ”
    Thrifty Drug of course was one of Robert W.’s biggest sponsors.
    KHJ Boss Angeles !

    Phil

  • Miss Karen Wood says:

    You all made my day – reading about all the Woody’s memories brought it all back to me, too. No relation to the owners.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Miss Karen,
    What a fun comment. I am so thankful you added the last phrase as you would have had a number of us trying to find out where Karen fit in.
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Readers !

    I think this posting will be of more value to those of us who have not been in the El Segundo area for quite some time.
    I had an inkling to use the Google map site to check out Sepulveda Blvd.
    south of LAX and in particular the immediate area south of the Woody’s site. ( now IHOP )

    Holy smokes ! The city fathers may rename this road section ;
    ” Burger Blvd. ” I see Carl’s Jr. and a Five Guys with a new INnOut
    planned for the East side of the Blvd.
    Both Ralph Wood and Chris had this strip to themselves for sooooo many years. I understand Chris goes thru the area once per week so he his certainly aware of present and future developments.
    As for Mr.Wood , I would like to think that one of his kids would invite him on a little car trip into El Segundo so he too can see the transformation.

    Of course there are plenty of new eateries on site besides burger joints.
    My favorite would be the juicy chicken dinners at El Pollo Loco !
    So, for a fun trip without spending gas money, use the much improved Google map site and check this area out.

    I gotta get back out to LA next year as it will my 50th anniversary of my relocation there in May of 1964. I want my wife and I to see and taste all this stuff for ourselves. Amen

    Only two weeks left of summer vacation. Enjoy
    Phil Ankofski

  • Chris says:

    The wooden dimes, I thought they were nickels, were, I believe for a frosty mug of root beer. I had a couple once many years ago but don’t remember for sure what the value was.
    In El Segundo for many, many years, Woodys was pretty much the only burger place on Sepulveda Bl. That all changed in the mid to late 80′s when they tore down the old Leonards store. Leonards was kind of like a Sam’s today, but on a much smaller scale. On that large site on the corner of Sepulveda and Mariposa, just a block for Woodys. They put in, along with a few in-line stores a number of different type of take out restaurants and a couple of sit down restaurants as well. One being an El Pollo Loco.
    The free standing Sizzler was the largest tenant.
    That Sizzler just closed a few weeks ago to make way for an In and Out drive thru.
    Anyway, needless to say, all those restaurants, along with the huge layoffs from aerospace, because of the cold war ending. It took a toll on Woodys.
    We still did ok but it wasn’t like being the only game in town anymore.
    We still had the best hamburgers in town, or anywhere, but we now started selling grilled Chicken and a lot of other new items as well.
    I remember when they opened the new Bob’s Big Boy just down the street from Woody’s #1 in Culver City the huge impact it had. We never really quite recovered from that. That Big Boy has now been gone for many years as well as the Woodys.
    I hope, for those of you who follow this site, that this little bit of history gives you a little in site to Woody’s history.
    Chris

  • Chris says:

    The Woody’s in Gardena was on the north side of Rosecrans just east of Van Ness. Not on the corner of Van Ness but very close.
    The building is still there, but is now abandoned.
    I sent Phil some pictures I took the other day.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Phil – Come for the climate – stay for the traffic!

    Actually, I never minded the traffic. Kinda went with the territory. I do remember one drive from Orange County out to Camarillo one Friday evening in January, 1989. Normally, this drive takes maybe 2 hours. In a heavy L.A. rainstorm, this time it took 5, with 2 or 3 detours around clogged freeways. Then, after dropping off our daughter with her aunt, we left for Vegas. Got in at 3AM Saturday, which was otherwise uneventful. Sunday morning, our vehicle burned up in a coffee shop parking lot. Fun trip.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Good morning Chris, Marshall and all Readers,

    As Chris promised, he did a drive by and photo shoot of the Gardena unit.
    Thanks again Chris for validating this location for all of us.
    Yes Marshall, this Gardena Woody’s is the very structure that both you and I thought was too small. Perhaps the huge vertical windows are an architectural feature that put things out of scale.

    So, we have the personal, physical validation by Chris and wait till you read the second item for validation.
    Chris took seven photos from different angles, and three of the shots feature the large sign located at the front entrance.
    It is a Woody’s Smorgasburger sign ! No doubt.

    The sign is a smaller version of the original sign designed for the Woody’s in Culver City. The both feature serrated edges which replicated stacked wood logs. On top of the sign , in the middle , is a cutout oval where the name Woody’s was painted.
    Both structure and sign look in pretty good shape to me for 54 years old.
    No telling what the future holds.
    Back in a minute.
    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Okay, I am back.
    I am glad we have been able to put the Gardena issue to rest with such positive and affirmative results. Thank you guys ! Amen.

    Marshall,
    Come for the climate is right on. I suffer from allergies here in the Midwest and I need to be back right on the beach in Playa del Rey or Santa Monica.
    ( wherever has the nearest El Pollo Loco store . )

    Chris,
    Thanks for telling us of the business climate in your areas during the mid to late 1980′s. We all have learned to expect and live with change, but when it gets personal it can be disappointing to say the least.
    The history you provided helps me understand in more detail what had transpired while I was out of the loop for so many years. I love history !

    Well Gang, I am closing now in hopes that I can beat the Managements
    Sunday morning cutoff time.
    All my best,
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Readers,
    Here is another issue regarding change ; prices

    In 1966, a Smorg @.49, cheese @.05, salad @ .25 , and a drink @.10 cents totaled .89 cents.

    25 years later ;

    I found a receipt from my 1991 vacation visit to El Segundo.
    It lists a double smorg @ 2.39 ( could be code for the King size )
    Swiss cheese @ .25
    Potato salad @ .89
    M drink @ .89
    Tax @ .31
    Total $ 4.73

    My guess this meal would now cost $ 7.99 in mid 2013. Plus tax !
    Still far cheaper than a $21.00 lunch at Johnnie’s Pastrami in Culver City.
    I’ll have to look up the current price for a corned beef sandwich platter at Canter’s Deli on Fairfax. ( $$$$$$$ , I bet )
    Enjoy your coming week,
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Dear Readers,
    How can you guys afford to live and eat out there ?
    A Woody’s meal @ $ 7.99 would be quite reasonable ….. I guess.
    I looked up the menu prices at the one and only Cantor’s Deli.
    Corned beef sandwich 12.50 ( with slaw or potato salad )
    add cheese .75
    beverage 2.00
    Matzo ball soup 6.75
    ~ TOTAL ~ $ 22.00 plus tax and tip !

    And the real estate …… my aunt bought her 1000 sq. ft. bungalow in Westchester in 1952 for $5,000. Her estate sold the house a few years back for $520,000.00. Zillow has it valued today at $ 580,000.00

    Chris thought it would take at least 1.5 million to get a Woody’s unit up and running today.
    Question ; with the ” drive thru window” being a mandatory feature these days , how would the do it yourself condiment bar work ?
    Phil A.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Phil, I’m afraid your estimate of a current-valued meal at a modern-day Woody’s is somewhat low. My guess is that it would be closer to $9.00, maybe more. I went to a ’5 Guys’ for the first time a few weeks ago. Bought a double cheeseburger, fries and drink. My total came to $11.17!

    If I was doing a Woody’s today, I would NOT do a drive-thru. Part of the Woody’s experience is to fix the burger yourself, your own way. I’d try to focus on the ambiance – the way the Culver City, El Segundo and Redondo Beach stores were in the beginning – fireplace, interesting decor, benches, a grill that customers can watch, FRIENDLY employees. Mr. Wood’s ideas are still relevant today.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Chris,
    I am most interested in learning from you the precise location of the
    Big Boy unit which was down the street from your # 1.
    Which business is now in its location? I want to use the maps sites to scope it out. Also what year did it open ?
    Thanks Chris,
    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hi Marshall,
    Is that $11.17 in Oregon, or are you back in LA ?
    Anyway, that is a lot of money !
    I hear you loud and clear regarding ambiance and friendly employees, but it is hard for me to visualize getting investors to throw in with you on plans for yet another burger place without the ” drive thru. ”
    As far as having the grill which customers can watch, yes I guess that could still work, but I remember plenty of moments when I had wished it was not exposed. ( like the grill man sneezing over 26 patties , 4 k bobs , 2 hot dogs
    and 2 Halibut steaks. )

    What do you think of the results from the Gardena validation ?
    That was a fun research project.
    Keep in mind Marshall that this location is now vacant and available.
    You could probably get in for a song.
    I do think your neighborhood clientele there in Gardena would require a menu featuring meals costing less that $ 11.17.

    It’s always fun with you Marshall.
    Phil

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Yup, Phil. That’s what I would do for a Woody’s in today’s market. Probably wouldn’t make much money though. Sorry, not interested in the Gardena location. Absolutely no spare income or savings for an investment.

    And, I’m up in Oregon, permanently, since August, 2009. Haven’t made a SoCal trip since last November though, so I’m due……

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Forgot to add……
    The Bob’s Big Boy location…..
    Going waaaay back in my memory, I seem to recall it possibly being on Sepulveda, near Culver Bl. perhaps? I don’t think it was around after the late 60′s. I did a ‘tour’ north on Sepulveda, using Google Earth, but didn’t find any buildings that stand out as being a former Big Boy…… Lots of changes in that area.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hi Marshall and all Readers too !
    I have not checked the weather in Springfield lately , but I hope you are having a nice summer. It has been hot and very humid here , although we had a two week respite which I used for house painting and deck refinishing. Everything turned out really nice.

    A thought on Woody’s dining rooms ( the three on Sepulveda anyway )
    Besides the fireplaces, the dining rooms did have some darker secluded corners which were out of the line of sight of the cash register.
    Very nice spots to entertain a girlfriend. I cannot think of a current
    burger venue which could say the same. They all have the dining rooms lit up like it was 3 in the afternoon.

    I too did a map search looking for a possible Big Boy site. With all the super expansive development there, it could well have been bulldozed to make way for all the retail shops. Anyway, I asked Chris to put his two cents in regarding the precise local.
    Speaking of Chris, he sure came away with a gorgeous El Pollo Loco unit
    to replace Woody’s # 1. The design, colors and landscaping on the EPL
    unit has sooooooo much curb appeal. I love it.

    Yes, I did look up the 5 Guys menu. All I can say is that they are a big success appealing to the market segment they are after. 1,000 stores !
    Anyway, we have several in our area and I have yet to get the guts to go in.
    I think I would rather gamble my $ 11.17 at a penny slot machine in our new casino.

    Back to Woody’s ; the laundry expense for all the Tyrolean uniform pieces plus the hats must have been a huge operating expense.
    For Chris, When did you finally phase out the uniforms?

    Too bad about you passing on the Gardena unit. It looks so forlorn.
    It needs some smoke and grease rising to the heavens.
    What fun !
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Dear Readers,
    This short narrative will inform you of the newest restaurant venue which is built on the site of the former Woody’s #2 in Redondo Beach.
    It is called ” Rock and Brews “. I am amazed how fast the original structure
    was bulldozed and how quickly the new venue was up and running.

    The new unit already has multiple web sites which you should check out yourselves. Many are ” review ” sites which seem to rate the food very poorly and drinks are rated as expensive.
    I myself am not a fan of sports bars with all the TVs, so I would not be a patron even if the food was free. Plus, the business wants to be known as pet friendly and thus invites patrons to bring all their dogs onto the patio.

    When I worked at this Woody’s site in 1967/1968 , the only ” rock ” being played was on my radio ( KHJ ) prior to the 11 AM opening.
    ~ The Stones and Tina Turner ! ~
    After 11 it was Muzack .

    Anyway, I suppose we should wish them well, but I am not feeling the vibes of success. ” You never know, even when you think you know.” Let it Ride.
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Good morning Chris,
    I was updating my ” Woody’s File ” and I have come across a notation that
    the #7 unit was opened in October of 1963. Can you confirm ?

    I have Redondo listed as built in 1958 and #4 on Fig. opened in May, 1959. Our beloved Gardena unit was dated somewhere in between at #3.
    Hope all is well in Oceanside.
    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    A question for Marshall Loveday,
    This one may really test your memory.
    When Steve D. took over the store in Westwood, was he required to
    modify the name of his operation ( like Woody’s Broiler ) or was he
    allowed to operate with ” Woody’s Smorgasburger. ” ?

    It is not important, but I am just trying to get a handle on when names are required to be changed from the legal point of view. Good luck !
    Phil

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Phil…….
    From what I remember, initially the Westwood unit was known as a full-fledged ‘Woody’s Smoorgasburger’. It may have been incorporated differently though. I believe our paychecks came through the normal corporate account. Later on, when Steve took over, the incorporation at least became known as ‘Woody’s Westwood, Inc.’. Lots of things started to change at that point as well – uniforms, menu offerings, the decor, etc. Steve was trying his best to keep it relevant to the Westwood crowd. We had area business people during weekday lunch, as well as students. Quite a high school hooligan problem on weekend nights. Sundays were fairly quiet.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Marshall,
    Thank you for your swift reply. Yes, the ” Woody’s Westwood ” would have
    confirmed the legal separation. Your description of Steve with his location challenges is informative as well. Are you a professional writer ?
    Hope you have a state or county fair to patronize this Labor Day weekend.
    Entering the ” wife calling ” contest is always fun !
    Phil

  • chris pingel says:

    Hi Phil and everyone,
    Woody’s #7 opened in February 1963.
    Phil,
    When you mentioned Muzak, it reminded me of something.
    When I was the manager of number #1 Culver City (forgot what year now) we had a 3M music system. It was a tape player. It played music from a large cartridge. It was a loop system so it would play over and over during the day, probably 4 or 5 times. It seemed like when I would come in in the morning it would always be on the same song. I kind of liked it for awhile but got tired of it pretty fast.
    Anyway, one night we got broken into and one of the things they took was the 3M machine along with a number of other things.
    Needless to say I was not too upset about that.
    What really got me was that after a month or so the machine was recovered by the police somewhere in northern California , nothing else, just the machine.
    I couldn’t believe it. You rarely ever get anything back but this time we did.
    I thought I was thru with that music for good.
    The only saving grace was it was close to Christmas and we got a Christmas tape so I did get a little break.
    Also, On Westwood, I believe it was a limited partnership with multiple partners. I think they all had to agree to sell so Steve could take over.
    I believe Mr. C. helped take care of that.
    I also believe Steve put in Beer, and a new product called Gatorade along with games.
    Steve was always great at coming up with stuff.
    I liked him a lot and was good friends with him.
    Hope these tid bits help.
    Talk to you all soon.
    Chris

    P.S. almost 200…..

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Wow, Chris – you remember more about Woody’s Westwood than I do…….

    And no, Phil, I’m not a professional writer. Thought at times about doing a blog though. Not too much time right now. Just started a new full-time job a few weeks ago. Not connected to restaurants or vehicles.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Good morning Readers,
    Chris just noted that our 200th comment is now well within reach.
    We should bestow special honors to whoever posts #200 !

    I never gave the music system much thought except at Christmas time.
    I loved when the Phil Spector Christmas album was played. I turned the volume up quite a bit and the customers seemed to love it as well.

    Chris, thanks for the story on the CC music box. Helen must have been astonished to learn of it’s return too.
    Chris ….. Marshall and I are still wanting to learn the Big Boy location in Culver City and the approximate year it opened.
    Thanks for the updates.
    Phil

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Readers,
    And yet another tid bit regarding the Woody’s unit in Gardena;
    While browsing the many Woody’s sites, I found an interesting ad display in the Torrance Herald dated SEPTEMBER, 1963.
    The ad features a coloring contest entry blank and a list of the 3 participating Woody’s locations. Each location provided a brand new bike as the grand prize.

    What is important in this narrative, is the Date and the three locations that were being promoted : Gardena , Redondo Beach and El Segundo.
    El Segundo was the newest unit , having been open for 7 months. (2/1963)
    This ad date also shows that the Gardena unit was still in operation and being promoted under the Woody’s Smorgasburger banner in Sept, 1963.
    However, the Gardena unit ( #3 ) was nearing the end of it’s life ( and lease)
    as a Woody’s. I am currently thinking this unit was closed in early 1964.
    I say this because I hired in at the Culver City unit in July of 1964 and there
    was still plenty of buzz about the Gardena closing.

    A short time ago, I told Chris that I intended to ” step aside ” for a bit and
    decrease the amount of my comments. Not because of a lack of interest, but just to give others ” more room “.
    Anyway, I seem to be here more than ever. An addict perhaps ?

    For Chris; I was window shopping on Ebay the other night and was inspired to punch in ” El Pollo Loco ” and what do you know ?
    A couple of vendors are listing the EPL uniform patches for a few bucks and so I thought , what the hell , and bought one !
    When it arrives , I will ask Mary Ann to sew it on one of my favorite sport shirts ………. so I can feel like one of your team members. ” Bitchin “.
    Have a great week everyone !
    Phil

  • Chris says:

    Phil & Marshall,

    I’ll get by in a day or two and take a picture of where the Bob’s was.
    It was almost directly across the street from #1, though.
    Chris

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    I think if I found a pair of the old Woody’s suspenders on E-Bay, I’d give them to my younger daughter to wear. She’s always up for trying something different.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Yes Marshall, the suspenders would be a treasure indeed. However, I myself would cherish a used Woody’s toaster. Those babies sure took a beating and I never saw a single one go in for repair service.
    I have been thru so many ” at home ” toasters that I have lost count.
    They are all pieces of —- ! In recent years I have checked the commercial toasters and they START at $ 450.00. for a two slicer.

    If any Reader can recommend a brand, please advise.
    Phil A.

  • Terry K. says:

    My wife and I ate lunch at the Woody’s South of LAX on August 7,1965 on our honeymoon. We were married in Redondo Beach on Friday night stayed at the pen and quail hotel first night then on way to LAX for my first airplane flight to San Diego we enjoyed Woody’s. We just had are 48th year of marriage.

  • chris says:

    I have 1 pair of suspenders.
    I’ll take a picture and send to Phil.
    Sorry, though, they aren’t for sale.
    I wish I had the hat.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Chris,
    If I ever come across ” the ” hat, I will get it for you.
    You really should have the hat.
    Phil

  • chris says:

    On my September 3rd comment I made a slight error.
    I said the Bob’s was almost directly across from #1 Culver City. What I meant to write was: almost directly across from Woody’s office.
    I’ll be passing it today and will take a picture of the location.
    It’s right on the fork in the road in front of the post office. Jefferson and Sepulveda. It was a Cocos for a long time. It may still be I just haven’t paid much attention. I’ll find out today and let you all know.
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    I have just added the Woody’s china coffee cup to my collection.
    It had been listed on EBay for quite some time @ 15.00 plus shipping.
    Some family talk started about Christmas and I thought about how nice the cup would look with my oval china platters and two Lyons root beer mugs.
    I wonder whose lips sipped on the Maxwell House coffee in this cup.
    After the cup arrives, Mary Ann can take and put it in her closet until
    Christmas gift giving time. What fun !

    Chris, I am looking forward to the pics. PLEASE, PLEASE include photos of you with your family members.

    Posted comment #200 is just days away !
    Phil Ankofski

  • Chris says:

    Thanks, Terry for your comments and Congratulations on 48 years.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Dear Chris, Marshall and all Readers,

    I don’t know about you Marshall, but I will be sleeping a lot better after learning from Chris P. the precise location of the CC Big Boy.
    ” Right in front of the post office at Sepulveda and Jefferson.” ( COCO’s)

    I want to thank Chris again in this public forum for following thru on this location I.D. project. On behalf of all of us Chris, Thank you !

    Many readers are wondering what the hell the big deal is over this location,
    but for someone like me who has been out of the loop for 43 years it
    helps clarify the business environment in Culver City during the 1970′s and 1980′s. Having a new Bob’s Big Boy open up within walking distance of your Woody’s ….. well, I can imagine how I would feel.
    I know I would be chugging a lot of Pepto Bismol.

    The only thing worse I guess, would be facing the grand opening of
    a brand new gigantic McDonalds right across the street !
    Like Woody’s #4 at Figueroa and 28th street , Los Angeles.
    I do NOT know the year this happened.
    Mr. Wood’s stomach must have been tied up in knots for months.
    ……………..and so it goes.

    My fingers are tired, as I have been talking Chris’s head off all day.
    May God bless us all.
    Phil

  • Gerry says:

    I lived in El Segundo and was a Woody’s customer for years. A lot interesting stuff posted here. Thanks All.

    One question…. What does IHOP have to do with Woody’s other than the fact the El Segundo store was converted to one?

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Dear Readers,

    As we approach our 200th posted comment, I thought I might entertain you with two short narratives. They both pertain to my tenure as manager at the Woody’s El Segundo and Redondo Beach.

    ” The Napping Manager ”
    While at El Segundo, we would wrap up the lunch rush about 1 PM.
    I would then clear out the cash register and deposit the $$$ in the safe.
    Next was my lunch time, after which I returned to the line as others took their lunch breaks.
    After breaks were over, I made out the meat and produce orders.
    It was now around 2:30 and I had nothing else to do .

    So, I went to the back office desk and put my head down in my crossed arms. I could nap till 3:30 0r 4 o’clock.
    Well, this time frame happen to coincide with the time our general manager most often made his visits to this unit.

    The kicker; The GM would stay out front for a half hour and NEVER had me awakened ! In fact he had the crew promise him that no one would tell me of his visits. This went on for EIGHT MONTHS !
    I found all this out 25 years later when I visited this same unit in 1991.
    Bob A. was my assistant manager in 1966 and was the guy on duty out front while I was napping. Bob was yet working at this same unit in 1991, and so while having lunch together, he spilled the beans.
    Bottom line; I rarely saw the GM. He gave me my weekly “numbers ” on the phone. )

    ” The Sleeping In Manager ”
    My next stop as manager was Redondo Beach.
    This location was just down the hill from the GM’s home in Palos Verdes.
    So, of course it made sense for him to make this unit his first visit of the day, probably around 9 AM or 9:30. I say probably because I NEVER saw him at this #2 unit at this time of day.
    I lived in Walteria which is but a 5 minute drive to the unit. I was most fortunate in having opening guys who were very dependable.

    So, I took advantage of my good fortune and did not roll into work
    till 10 AM or 10:15. ( opening was 11 …. )
    Get this; again the GM would stay for a half hour and visit with Willie
    and then had him and Randy promise not to tell me.
    At some point, I did find out but did not adjust my arrival time since
    I felt the 9 1/2 hour day was more than fair.
    I was never asked to start my day earlier by anyone.

    I saw the GM occasionally at dinner rush hour because he could make this stop again on his way home. But at 5:30 we could not sit down in the dinning room so we would talk just a bit as I worked the cash register and he stood next to the coffee urns.
    Bottom line; I rarely saw the GM at #2 .
    I was not a napper at #2. I have no recollection of any projects which would have kept me busy in the mid afternoon , but I did not nap.

    I suppose I felt that I was a very ” low maintenance ” manager.
    I never heard from other managers that they were having any problems which warranted on site assistance from the GM.

    In the mid to late 1960′s, Mr. Wood did have the GM stationed at the #4
    unit by USC to help out at lunch. Not only was the serving line very busy,
    but I think the dining room needed some extra supervision with the USC students.

    Tom Hanks might have said ” there’s no napping in food service. ”

    I hope these stories gave you a little smirk or smile and get you all off to a super nice week ……. whatever you may be doing.

    Phil

  • Bill James says:

    A couple of restaurants missing from the “Golden Old Days” of Los Angeles are as follows:
    Tiny Naylors
    Mister Angelo’s
    Thrifty’s Drug Store Coffee Shops area
    Delores

  • Vincent Chiesa says:

    Chris: I too have been intrigued by finding this site, therefore, I had to chime in and add my comments. I worked at Woody’s both in El Segundo and Culver City from Nov 1976 until about May 1985. Hopefully you remember me Chris. I answered an ad in the paper, went to your store #7 and you hired me. As it turned out, I met my wife Elena in the Culver City store (manager there was Pat C., and yes, he always had a great smile) and got married in 1982. Still happily married; and once again what a great experience (from another employee in the 70′s & 80′s circa) and time I had working there for nearly 9 years. I have a lot of fond memories there as well. Vincent (aka Vinnie).

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    TERRY K…………………

    In August, 1965 I was a 13-yr old kid cruising around West L.A. on my bicycle. Quite often in the summer I would make the approximate 10 mile trek to LA International Airport to do some plane watching. Maybe I was there the day you took off. Happy Anniversary. I’m quickly approaching a 40th myself.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Readers,

    Our 200th comment is just a day or two away ! Who will it be ?

    Welcome Vinnie ! Please return often and share some of those memories.
    You can tell all of us what kind of boss Chris was.
    Was your bride Elena a coworker or customer ?
    I am thrilled to learn of all the long lasting marriages of Woody’s people.
    Ralph Wood was married for 67 years ! I myself am at a blessed # 37.

    Gerry,
    In 1962 , Ralph Wood and partner agreed to a Master Franchise agreement with IHOP. This agreement gave IHOP exclusive rights to expand the
    small chain. For this, Mr. Wood received some form of payment or stock.
    In exchange, Mr.Wood could NOT open any units on his own for 5 years.

    IHOP had been doing this same format with many, many other local chains. The most notable were Love’s Bar B Q and the Copper Penny.

    The units built under the Woody’s IHOP banner were all A Frame
    structures with soaring roof lines. All these units had a very short life.
    Two to three years at the most. I do NOT know why.
    I suspect the margins were too slim for the franchise owners who bought into the IHOP system. Once the Woody’s unit was closed, the first option was to convert to a IHOP pancake house. If IHOP passed on this option the lease could go out to a ski shop or car dealer …. or whatever.

    When the five year agreement terminated, Mr., Wood and partners then
    proceeded to open their own units in Woodland Hills ( 10/ 1967)
    followed by Westwood Village in 10/ 1968.

    Marshall,
    While you were cruising on your bike, I was having my US Army physical
    in downtown Los Angeles. ( age 20 )
    As I walked out the door, a sergeant checked me off and said ” 4 F ”
    I had a significant hearing loss and flat feet.

    A big thanks to all the Readers , Commenters , and Mark Evanier for
    establishing this site. THANK YOU ! Perhaps we will see # 250 .
    Phil A.

  • Chris says:

    Bill,

    The Tiny Naylor’s, in Westchester, on the corner of Manchester and Sepulveda was torn down and replaced with a medical building, I believe, in the late 70′s early 80′s.
    Loved that place FYI Biff Naylor had another coffee shop in Westchester, not a drive up, on the other end, a block south of Will Rogers St. That was torn down as well. There is an In and Out on that corner and an airport parking behind that.
    Thrifty’s in Westchester did have a lunch counter. As a kid my friends and I would sit there order a soda and when the waitress wasn’t looking we would stick our gum on the end of the straw paper and blow it to the very high ceiling and hopefully it would stick there. Most of the time it did, so the ceiling looked gross.
    Thrifty was redone many, many years ago and I can’t remember what was there but it has changed a number of times since the old days.
    Hope this helps a little.
    Chris

  • Chris says:

    Bill,
    I forgot to mention the name of the other restaurant in Westchester.
    It was called Biff’s.
    Chris

  • Chris says:

    Vinnie,

    How’s your Jeep? I certainly remember you and Elena.
    Boy, that was a long time ago.
    You were great to work with.
    Hope you’re doing well.
    Chris

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Time to celebrate !
    The 200th comment was posted by Chris Pingel !
    This benchmark posted by Chris is most fitting because in his adult life he was associated with the Woody’s Smorgasburger banner longer than anyone else, including Mr. Ralph Wood.

    For Readers who may not have learned of Chris’s tenure from previous postings I will just give Chris a ” shout out ” in this way;
    Chris started as a busboy/lineman, returned as a manager, then multi unit manager, and finally as the owner/operator of the two surviving Woody’s units. Well done Chris !

    In recognition of the number 200 th comment, I think we should pitch in and send Chris 200 Dinner Discount Coupons for the El Pollo Loco.
    Somewhere I got the idea he likes chicken .

    All my best to all,
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    A suggestion for Chris Pingel ;

    After you locate the Woody’s suspenders in the attic and take a few photos,
    why not take them to a professional framer and have them framed under glass. I think it would make a fabulous decoration for your current office space or your den at home. What does thou think ?
    Phil

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    OK. this is comment #204 here in the Woody’s Smorgasburger section of Mark Evanier’s Old Los Angeles Restaurants web page.

    We’re far and away the #1 commented on page out of all those listed. #2 is Love’s BBQ, with (to date) 68 comments.

    Thanks to Mark for making this page available.

  • Vincent Chiesa says:

    Mr. Phil: Thanks for the warm welcome to this site. I met Elena in 1981 at the Culver City store while Pat was manager there at the time. She was a worker there who Pat hired and introduced us. I was working at night and she was days. And as they say….the rest is history. Chris was a great boss! I learned a lot from him about the restaurant business, and if it wasn’t for him, I may not have learned and enjoyed this type of business later on in life. In fact, I opened a fast food restaurant business in 1996 and had it for about 3-1/2, always thinking about the days of Woody’s.
    Chris: No I don’t have that Jeep, but I do remember trading you vehicles for a day and you loaned me your brown VW so you could take your family to the mountains in the Jeep. Those lines at Woody’s were out-of-this world. You helped me master cooking through those 3 hour lunches with lines out the door and often wrapped around to the newspaper stands. Oh the pleasures of scrapping off an inch of burger grease from your skin by the end of lunch. If you made just one mistake on the line, you could easily throw off everything. Precision and reading those codes..SW, KSW, FS, etc…fast! To this day, I have never seen a restaurant to have the clientele that Woody’s #7 had in its heydays. I’ll have to dig out some pictures sometime. More at a later time. Vinnie.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Chris,
    A clarification on the prior note; I am suggesting that you frame the actual suspenders ….. not the photos.

    Some amount of time after we were married, my wife found her maillot swimsuit from our honeymoon days. She was about to add it to some “Goodwill ” donation items when it occurred to me that it should be preserved. Yup, I had it framed under glass and to this day I am so happy with myself for having it done.

    To all Commenters,
    We should start thinking about doing something really nice for Mark Evanier. If we can come up with a winning suggestion, I will be happy to be the line leader to follow through.
    Let the suggestions begin !
    Phil A.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Dear Readers,

    In Mark Evanier’s opening narrative for this site, he states ;
    ” Lo, how the mighty have fallen. ”

    This phrase is magnified when you consider;
    1984 ~ Gold Star Recording Studios closed ~
    1985 ~ Woody’s #1, Culver City closed ~
    1986 ~ KHJ Boss Angeles closed ~

    This three period had to be very rough on you folks in the Southland.
    As for me, I had already relocated to Michigan in 1971.
    Phil

  • The Management says:

    Hi, it’s Mark. I appreciate that you folks are enjoying the board and that’s enough. You don’t have to do “something really nice” for me. If you’re among those who made Woody’s such a great place to get a burger, you already did something nice for me.

    This comment thread is getting pretty long. If it continues at its current pace, I’m going to lock it down in a few weeks and start a new Woody’s page. The old messages will still be available for reading. If anyone has any photos or other Woody’s memorabilia, I’d like to post them on the new page. I have a Woody’s coffee mug that I bought off eBay long ago so I can post a photo of that…but does anyone have other photos of Woody’s outlets? Or a copy of any sort of menu? You can write to me at me@oldlarestaurants.com.

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Good morning Readers,

    For Mark, ( our manager )
    You are not only a wonderful writer, but a nice guy too !
    I can tell from the language of our Readers that we all appreciate your time and efforts. Once again, thank you for that and also for giving us a
    ” heads up ” on your future plans for this Woody’s site.

    My Woody’s coffee mug from Ebay just arrived yesterday.
    I paid $15.00 plus shipping …. and worth every penny.
    I am most fortunate to have received a pristine mug. Very little use.
    It will be a wonderful memento for many years to come.

    All my best,
    Phil Ankofski

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Good Morgan, ( as in Robert W. ~ KHJ )

    I am a fan of Tyrolean music, and it just occurred to me that perhaps
    Mr. Wood overlooked having Tyrolean music played in his units.
    Granted, the guys staffing the units would probably go nuts if it was played
    all day and night, but if it was featured say 20 % of the day it could have been loads of fun.

    Readers, you’re Morganized !

  • Phil ( Mr. A ) says:

    Hello Readers,

    Wow ! More than a week has passed without a comment.
    Everyone must be out doing final autumn yard chores ….. like me.

    All is well with me here in Ohio, but I seem to have run out of new issues to discuss regarding Woody’s operations and employees.
    I assure you that my interest level in this site is as high as ever.
    I will continue to monitor this wonderful site and will certainly respond
    when needed.

    As many of you know, Mr. Ralph Wood is also the originator/owner of the Admiral Risty dinner house in Palos Verdes.
    This coming month of October will mark his 47th year of continuous operation. Gosh, I wish I was in the area so I could meet some of you there at the Risty to help celebrate.
    Since I cannot, I will think of another way to convey my good wishes to Ralph Wood at his ” Risty “.

    All my best to everyone !
    Phil Ankofski

  • Kristen Langley says:

    Just found this site…

    I remember going to the Admiral Risty back when I was, maybe, in 4th Grade at Montemalaga Elementary. We were doing a special school performance (songs).

    Two years ago (after having moved from the area in the mid 1970s), I did a ‘bucket list’ trip to see the old neighborhood, and drove up PV Drive West, around the Point, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the Admiral was still in business after all of these years.

    Also remember going to Woody’s down in the Riviera Village

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Hello Chris P. and all the fans of Woody’s.
    I hope this note finds everyone well and happy. Except for the Dodgers loss.
    This is what brings me back this morning;
    A seller on Ebay ( under Woody’s Smorgasburger ) is listing a very interesting and questionable print item from a 1963 magazine.
    It presents six menu offerings from different LA eateries and features the
    ” Matterhorn ” sandwich from Woody’s.

    Now check this out;
    The photo and print description shows the Matterhorn made with THREE
    quarter pound meat patties !
    I myself am only aware of the TWO patty Matterhorn which I always found
    too hard to handle since the Kaiser roll top was cut in half.
    Since I cannot fathom a manageable THREE patty sandwich, I am inclined to think that a prank was pulled on the reporter who took the photo.

    There had to be at least a couple of Woody’s managers around in 1963 who would have found this fun to pull off.

    If my thinking is incorrect and someone can affirm that a THREE patty
    Matterhorn was indeed a regular menu item in 1963, I WILL BE HAPPY TO STAND CORRECTED.
    In the meantime, go to the EBAY site and see this for yourselves.

    This issue of concern occurred 50 years ago …… this year !
    Such fun.
    Phil A.

  • Chris says:

    As far as I know there has never been a 3 patty Matterhorn.
    The Kaiser roll wouldn’t have worked the way we cut it.
    I remember seeing a full page color ad, I believe, featuring the Matterhorn in the Times or Examiner, maybe in one of their Sunday magazine sections. I remember seeing the piece of romaine the Swiss and American cheese, It looked so tempting. I think I’m going crazy.
    I did love those Matterhorns as well as the ribeye steak sandwich with AI sauce.
    Boy, those were the days.
    Chris

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    It looks to me Phil like the photographer took a bit of ‘poetic license’ in the presentation of the Matterhorn. The copy doesn’t exactly say what the burger is supposed to have on it. Here’s a link to the pic in question, conveniently copied to my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=679806352039309&set=a.437063499646930.110283.100000298509093&type=3&theater

    Phil – I never really appreciated the Matterhorn either. A bit to clumsy to eat, and it was kind of a pain to make on the grill, as well. It LOOKED great though!

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Hello Chris, Marshall and all Readers,

    I always thought that the King Swiss on a full Kaiser roll was the better choice than the Matterhorn. The Kaiser roll was a nickel extra and we gave a Romaine lettuce leaf free to anyone who asked.
    The taste was the same and the sandwich was very easy to hold. Amen !

    The ribeye steak sandwich was a favorite of Rod Serling at the Culver City
    store. Rod did his TV work at the MGM studios which were just a couple of miles up the road. Rod was always happy to sign his name on a Woody’s napkin.

    A quote from Bob Dylan ; ” treasure your memories as they cannot be repeated”.
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    I STAND CORRECTED ON THE ABOVE DYLAN QUOTE.
    My daughter Kate corrected me via her FB site.

    ” Take care of all your memories, for you cannot relive them. ”
    Phil

  • Chris P says:

    I remember seeing Rod Serling also. He did come in a lot. I also remember Don Knotts coming in. Once, when I was working drinks, he ordered a chocolate shake. I was so excited to see him that I tipped over the shake on his tray. I was so embarrassed. He was very nice about it, though.
    Another little story, sometimes when it was slow I would make a shake in the silver container for a customer, I would put the long white plastic spoon standing straight up in the middle of the shake. I would then cover it with whipped cream so you couldn’t see the spoon but it looked really funny a tall thin strip of whipped cream and then I would put a cherry half on the top and another spoon to eat it with. I would do it so the customer couldn’t see me then I would turn around and put it on their tray. People would stare and laugh because it looked so odd just one 5″ high thin strip of cream and a single cherry on the top, they’d wonder how I did that.
    Anyway, I had lots of fun.
    Hope everyone’s well.

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Hey Chris…we have a Don Knott / Woody’s connection! Working at Woody’s in Westwood, I found a GF working at the Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors around the corner. Also working at B-R 31 was Don Knott’s daughter. Gave her a ride home one evening…….

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Marshall,
    I would like to connect with you via your email regarding some issues I think you will be interested in. If you would like to proceed, please post your email address and I will contact you promptly.
    You are so right about the Matterhorn LOOKING great.
    When the completed sandwich was placed on the customers tray, well, it was like a work of art!
    Phil

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    Sure, Phil! I just ‘officially’ retired, so I’m up for anything, as long as I save time for a couple of items on the ‘Hunny-do’ list! mloveday541@gmail.com

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Good afternoon Readers,
    I have a new Woody’s topic to discuss and it is not about salsa or peanuts.
    In 1966 Woody’s Culver City replaced it’s original road sign with a giant soaring road side sign that must have peaked at 100 feet !
    The signs main feature was that it also rotated.
    To this day I cannot fathom how the city fathers in the planning department gave the okay for this sign.
    If it blew over in a Santa Anna wind storm the folks traveling on Sepulveda would have been in serious trouble, or how about the folks inside enjoying a ” do it yourself sundae . ” ?

    This sign was so huge I bet the pilots coming into LAX used it as a homing beacon starting back in Phoenix !
    As for the cost , I would also bet it cost more than the restaurant in 1956.

    The sign must have proved to be of some benefit in sales because the Woody’s unit in Redondo Beach had the exact sign installed there.
    Again, what were the city fathers there thinking ?
    I remember some strong winds coming up Mar Vista !

    The Woody’s unit #4 on Fig. by USC may have had this sign installed there as well. I think it did ……. but NOT positive.
    Since our friend Mr. Chris Pingel owned and operated the Culver City store until 1985 , I now wonder if he has some interesting comments about
    his particular sign. Perhaps Chris wishes he had kept the sign but changed it out to feature the new El Pollo Loco banner.
    Such fun to think about all this stuff.
    Time for my lunch.
    Phil

  • Marshall Loveday says:

    I don’t remember that big sign at all, Phil. But then again, my detailed memories of Woody’s don’t start until 1969. Did the big sign stay?

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    At the very top of the newer signs was a huge rectangle in yellow with a red script ; ” Woody’s” . Below that was a horizontal “rail” section which was at 180 degree angle to the above. One side of the rail had ” STEAKS ” and the other ” HAMBURGERS”.
    Both sections rotated together at the same speed.

    I think the morning shadow from this sign was cast all the way to the marina !
    Of note ; Mc Donalds was the first ” biggie ” to use the red and yellow combo on signs and etc. These newer Woody’s signs used the color combo as well. Wendy’s followed the same color formula starting with their very first units. Art and design schools do teach that red and yellow is the best combo for attention grabbing.

    Now close your eyes and imagine this sign soaring into a beautiful blue sky with just a few white clouds ………
    Phil

  • Bob in the Village of Los Ranchos, NM says:

    Yes Phil, I stand corrected re my posting of 8/31/12! The from-the-street view of Hollywood Riviera’s Woody’s was more elongated with a ‘windowed’ wall with the entrance being on the westward end. If seated at a picnic table inside by that wall, there was a bit of view of the ocean across the tops of the village wherein there were shoppes like Kurt’s, which sold Scandinavian fine home accessories, and a tropical/South Seas themed restaurant. Don’t know how long this map http://tinyurl.com/l77geq9 will stay active, but here’s Woody’s on Vista del Mar where it meets PCH; Palace Verdeeez (as some might say) Blvd was on its backside. In my era the watchword was “Surf’s Up!” when the first “dinner” customer would come in after 4:30.
    Remember adding a splash of beet juice to make the lemonade pink?
    I can’t but help to think that Mr. W., being the astute businessman he was, would in today’s world have a bowl of chopped New Mexican Green Chile (not salsa nor jalapenos) http://tinyurl.com/medlrfk on the condiment bar, let alone some slices of CA avocado.
    Ron Chrisman(sp?), a tall lanky guy, was the manager, at least ’62-’63, and Mr. W. would drop in at least once a week. Above minimum pay was $1.32/hr.
    A See’s Candies was just up the street on PCH. Does anyone remember a narrow funky beer-bar on the way to Hermosa on the east side of PCH? Maybe a moose head adorned a wall and a ‘horn’ or something would sound when a gal would enter/exit Le Toilette. T’wasn’t it just about this time that another A-Frame was built as an IHOP on PCH in Hermosa Beach? My biggest regret was not staying in the area and buying up several of those tiny cottages along the Strand in Redondo, HB, MB to supplement my SS now…LOL

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    I will let Chris P. answer Marshall’s question as to how long the sign was allowed to stay. Perhaps all the way to the sad day in 1985 when the stores demolition occurred.
    Phil

  • Bob in the Village of Los Ranchos, NM says:

    Hmmm…Richard Ingram at Hollywood Riv…maybe ’63? Kinda of a quiet shift manager, a bit nasal voice, with primly combed black hair and always diligent as compared to his more layed back Joe-football/surfer counterpart with blond/reddish hair…LOL?
    Hmmm, a Willie in CC?…nice Dude, but sometimes hung over and ‘always’ working the ‘back room’? Also, maybe a Sergio or was the name Felix with a cheery smile working the line giving me hints on slicing the Kaiser Roll…X2…when I had to sub from the Riv. Again, no one remembers a folding/pull down stairway to an office?
    Re your July query Phil about burgers elsewhere: when you and cohorts come out to New Mexico to explore Rt. 66 and/or in search of site locations for Breaking Bad in Albuquerque, you can use a freekin trail map to find New Mexican Green Chile Cheeseburgers!!!! http://tinyurl.com/pv6j2sl LOL, I forgot I wowed ‘em about Woody’s in the Comment section….LOL Lest one should ask, here’s a mapping for Br Ba http://tinyurl.com/plpve6a which personally, I never watched…LOL
    - Yo Phil, you should figure out a way to have this always playing in the Blog’s background… http://tinyurl.com/k6rdtx5

  • chris p says:

    Regarding the large rotating sign in Culver City, I remember having to lower the sign and make the sign stationary (no rotating) according to the new city sign ordinance. I think I had to bring it down around 20 feet. I can’t quite remember but it was substantially lower. This was done in the early 80′s. I actually thought the sign was a little more appropriate for the area and the building.
    Eventually when we brought down the building in 1985 the sign had to go completely because the City now required monument signs on or near the ground. Which is what we did for the new restaurant.
    I remember seeing the guy totally underground in his bobcat trying to get to the bottom of the pole foundation to remove it. You couldn’t even see the top of the tractor when he was down there. I had to look down the hole to see him. Because of the height of the sign the base had to be really , really far into the ground. I have a picture of the guy in the hole in the bobcat somewhere but right now I have no idea. When, and if, I ever find it, I’ll sure share it and a lot more pictures as well.
    FYI, The fire station behind Culver City has been closed for a few years now and they just store old city equipment there now.
    Taht’s it for now.
    Take care,
    Chris P.

  • chris p says:

    I forgot to mention on my last comment that I had to remove the lower portion of the sign. I only kept the top yellow sign. It would have been much to big an out of proportion keeping the lower sign,
    Chris P.

  • Tam says:

    I worked at Woody’s in Tustin 1982 to 1984 for Chip Wood. I don’t see any mention of that restaurant or Chip. I thought Chip was the owner’s son?

  • Howard says:

    For Phil (Mr. A)
    There was a Woody’s at 1027 N. Vermont Ave (at Santa Monica Blvd).
    I’m looking at their newspaper ad dated 1960. Plumbers found the paper today hidden in the ceiling of my house.

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Hello Tam and all Readers,
    I must start by saying that I myself am totally unaware of the Tustin location. Several months ago, Marshall Loveday tipped us off about a Woody’s in the City of Orange. This was also a revelation to me.

    This is my current thinking ;
    Sometime during the mid to late 70s Mr. Wood allowed his two remaining leases to expire. These leases covered the Los Angeles store ( #4 ) and the Redondo Beach store ( #2 ). His unit in Westwood had already been sold to Steve Dabbs.

    I thought the above scenario was the absolute end to the Wood families involvement with the hamburger units. Of course they had the Risty and several other dining venues in the South bay area.

    So now I see comments about locations in Orange and Tustin which lead me to think the Woody’s name and theme was resurrected by or for the benefit of Chip Wood. Yes, he is the son of Ralph Wood, co founder of the Original Woody’s.

    If the above is correct, I would consider these units the ” third wave”.
    The first wave; inception in 1956 to mid 1970s.
    The second wave : IHOP partnership , 1963 to 1968
    The third wave ; Units operated and associated with Chip Wood and possibly other individuals with previous Woody’s experience.
    These units look to have been targeted for inland locations which were new to the Woody’s venue.

    I would really like to welcome back into our fold Mr. Gary Wilcut who is in the Brea area. I would ask him to visit the respective city offices to see if he can learn what had transpired from the city records.
    ( listed owners, dates of opening and closure ).

    Yes, I feel like a detective ……. and love it.
    Phil

  • chris p says:

    Tam,
    Chip is Mr. Wood’s son. Not sure where he is now but he did work for El Pollo Loco for a short time as an executive chef a few years back, that was in Tustin as well at our test kitchens. I saw him again with their family, Mr. Wood included, at Mr. Woods Restaurant The Admiral Risty, on the Palos Verdes peninsula.
    I believe Mr. Wood opened that store in Tustin with a real charcoal broiler.
    They had clear coffee cups if I’m remembering correctly. It was a long time ago, and I only saw it the one time.
    I don’t believe the store lasted too long, but, they did do a nice job on the building. Don’t know why they closed.
    I wish I had more info. for you, but keep following the Woody’s link, maybe someone will have more answers for you.
    Chris

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Howard and all Readers,
    Looks like things are hopping again here. Fantastic !
    Howard, I think you just provided the answer to my question of where the Woody’s unit #5 was. Figueroa #4 was open in 1959, so this must have been the one that followed. We still are looking for #6.

    Howard, please tell us more of what the narrative in the ad has to say.
    This info is very, very cool. Thank You sir !

    Chris P. ,
    Just so I have a clear understanding about the Tustin store;
    Are you saying this unit was opened as a Woody’s Smorgasburger with same name and theme as the Original Culver City store….. including the charcoal broiler ?
    Phil

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    I just used several map sites to check out the Vermont Ave Woody’s.
    The site looks to have been a great location.
    L.A. City College is a block or two to the south and there are hundreds of apartments to the east of Vermont. Plenty of business and industry in the area as well. Plus, the Gold Star Recording Studios were just two miles west on Santa Monica Blvd. How cool is that ?
    Phil

  • Bob in the Village of Los Ranchos, NM says:

    Re what’s where: T’would think Y’all have seen this ‘locator’ napkin http://tinyurl.com/4py8e5 . Not sure it clears or muddies the water…LOL There’s no “Tustin”. I’m drawing a complete blank: how was the chicken made at CC or Holly-Riv prior to summer of ’63?
    - Maybe some “Coming Soon” places never came?

  • Phil Ankofski says:

    Bob in NM,
    The locator napkin proclaiming 7th year mixes several of Mr. Woods units along with IHOP units. Yes, you are right about some ” coming soon ” places which were ” IHOP sign ups ” that never saw the light of day.
    The Tustin unit came on line about 20 YEARS AFTER this napkin was printed.

    Culver City did not get chicken. Redondo Beach #2 had chicken because there was plenty of room on the line for it. ( poor selling item )
    The chicken was made in a counter top ” broaster ” unit which had the cooking oil under high pressure. A swing away cover was brought into place and locked down over the hot oil cooking reservoir.
    When I was running the cash register at #2 I had trouble remembering the menu prices for the chicken dinners as so few were ordered.
    That’s it Bob !
    Phil

  • Bob in the Village of Los Ranchos, NM says:

    Whoa Phil-Thanks…per your description of a chicken broaster at HRiv, I’m faintly picturing one (but maybe not until early ’63) on the stainless steel counter near the RadarRange for baking potatoes to come out at 4:30) and above the stainless steel drawers wherein were kept the K-bobs/potatoes/steaks. Hmm, can’t remember if it was the Grillman or Saladman’s responsibility to get an order started. Say Hey nevertheless, ya gotta hand it to Mr. W. for not sitting on his laurels, but experimenting with new stuff! Alas tho, who ever heard of any kind of chicken being a specialty in The Alps…LOL. Let us be thankful he never experimented, at least in my 9 months of appreciated employment before off to Kansas for more “education”, with having us learn how to Yodel!!!!

  • Bob in NM says:

    Whoa Phil-Thanks…per your description of a chicken broaster at HRiv, I’m faintly picturing one (but maybe not until early ’63) on the stainless steel counter near the RadarRange for baking potatoes to come out at 4:30) and above the stainless steel drawers wherein were kept the K-bobs/potatoes/steaks. Hmm, can’t remember if it was the Grillman or Saladman’s responsibility to get an order started. Say Hey nevertheless, ya gotta hand it to Mr. W. for not sitting on his laurels but experimenting with new stuff! Alas tho, who ever heard of any kind of chicken being a specialty in The Alps…LOL. Let us be thankful he never experimented with having us learn how to Yodel!!!!

  • The Management says:

    This comment thread has gotten way too long so we’re closing off this one. We have opened a new comment thread for Woody’s Smorgasburger. Please continue the conversation over there. Thank you.

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