The first "Big Boy" restaurant opened in 1936 within Glendale, California. Originally it was called Bob's Pantry by founder Bob Wian, who actually sold his car so he could afford the building. The titular "Big Boy" was a hamburger named for Rick Woodruff, a child who was a regular customer. Another customer drew a cartoon of Woodruff, and an unlikely icon was born. One curiosity about the Big Boy chain is that the name changes depending on the part of the country you're in. There's Bob's Big Boy on the West Coast, JB's Big Boy in the Southwest, and Frisch's on the East. Frisch's is named for founder David Frisch, who opened his restaurant in 1946. Today there are 120 Frisch's locations in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
"Frisch's Big Boy was family-owned and -operated out of Cincinnati, Ohio, for over 50 years. It started as one restaurant and evolved into multiple stores. There are more Frisch's Big Boy restaurants in the Cincinnati Tri-State area than there are McDonald's," said Jerry Florence, general manager of the Ironton Big Boy. "We have a commissary where all of our food products come from. They make our soups from scratch, our pies from scratch, our tartar sauce and our coleslaw. We took a tour there when we went into management. It reminded me of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Everything is so big there. They supply over 100 stores."
The Ironton franchise location opened in August 2014.
"This location was owned and originally operated by Jim Kratezenburg, Brett Guy, Jimer Howard and Jerry Rowe. They considered several different locations including Ashland, which would have had a lower operating cost due to wages. However, they were all local business owners who wanted to do something for Ironton. They wanted to put their money and the restaurant in the community," Florence explained. "At the time Ironton was struggling and didn't have too much. Now we have a Holiday Inn across the street, a Marriott across the street, and a new restaurant called the Armory Steakhouse coming soon. This area is really starting to thrive and grow."
The Ironton Big Boy is fairly unique among the chain as it offers a daily "hot bar" buffet. The options change each day of the week except Sunday. The buffet features "Country Night" on Mondays, "Tailgate Tuesday," "All You Can Eat Breakfast All Day" on Wednesday the bar offers pork chops, lemon pepper chicken on Thursday, seafood madness on Friday, and Italian night on Saturday. There is also a breakfast buffet from 7 until 11 a.m. on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
"Everything we make, we make from scratch. We don't have burgers sitting back there waiting to sit on a bun. When you order a Big Boy burger it is cooked to order. If you're really hungry the 'Super Big Boy' is the one to go with. It's got twice the meat for a couple of dollars more," Florence said. "We hand bread our onion rings daily. Our chicken strips are by far the best in town. They are huge and we started making them fresh in house to order. We also have eight breakfasts for under $5."
Frisch's Big Boy also has a small bakery section featuring pie by the slice and whole pies to go. Strawberry Pie was recently introduced for the spring. The restaurant also has delivery options on orders of $10 or more in Ironton. Catering is also available.
Frisch's Big Boy is located at 201 S. 9th St. in Ironton next to the Holiday Inn. It is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. For delivery or carry-out orders call 740-532-1200. For specials you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FrischsIronton/.
NAME: Frisch's Big Boy
TYPE OF FOOD: Coffee, Donuts, Breakfast
ADDRESS: 301 S. 9th St., Ironton, Ohio
HOURS: 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day
PHONE NUMBER: 740-532-1200
PAYMENTS ACCEPTED: Cash and all major credit cards