Garden Grove

“Door still open” for a new In-N-Out

THE BOB’S BIG BOY in Burbank (Flickr/Brian Wallace).

By Jim Tortolano

If you’re one of those people disappointed with the decision by In-N-Out to drop its proposal to build a large eatery on the site of the Coco’s restaurant at Harbor Boulevard and Chapman Avenue in Garden Grove, don’t despair … yet.

“We have a very good relationship with In-N-Out, “ said Lisa Kim, director of community and economic development for Garden Grove. “The door is still open for an In-and-Out elsewhere on Harbor or another location in the city.”

Kim’s comments came after the fast food chain withdrew its application to build a 3,867-square foot restaurant on a 57,882-square foot parcel that would replace not only the Coco’s, but also the Rocky Market.

The proposal was to go before the city planning commission on Jan. 18, but the application was withdrawn and there are no plans to resubmit them, according to Maria Parra, a senior planner for the city.

At issue – at least in part – was the matter of the building’s architecture. The original was built as a Bob’s Big Boy, which was constructed in the Eisenhower era in the futuristic “googie” style. In-N-Out agreed to make some deviations from its usual design, including keeping the roof-line and sign, but efforts by preservationists to retain more of the retro look may have tipped the scale.

“We were unable to overcome the issues with the site,” said Kim.

In its heyday in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, the Bob’s Big Boy was a favorite gathering point for teenagers and others. It was “the place to go” after a football or basketball game, or even after proms.

Bob’s Big Boy still survives, but not locally. There are only five left in Southern California, and none in Orange County. Founded in 1936 in Glendale, the chain is most popular now in the upper Midwest. An attempted revival on the West Coast failed. One “new” Bob’s opened in Orange in 2009 and closed in 2012.

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