05/03/2005: End of an era....
Glancing at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch [I'm still a St. Louisan at heart; deal with it] website today, I was sad to read that Big Boy's Restaurant in Wright City, MO has closed. The libertarian tax-dodgers among us can point out that it was apparently a tax bill that forced the closing:
For 81 years, the all-you-can-eat fried chicken, cornbread sticks and sweet and sour coleslaw filled up customers sitting at the long wooden tables of Big Boy's Restaurant, which faces Interstate 70 in Wright City.Big Boy's (no relation to the "Big Boy" chain which has featured the iconic "Big Boy" and his Reaganesque pompadour) received its name from the nickname of one of it's early owners:
But now the restaurant is closed, its future clouded, because the state says the restaurant owes more than $30,000 in sales tax.
"We are closed temporarily," says a paper sign taped on the restaurant's front door. "Please accept our apology for any inconvenience."
Longtime workers at the restaurant say they doubt the interstate landmark will open again.
Interstate 70 travelers will undoubtedly recognize the sign depicting the local Big Boy's: a grinning, buck-toothed man wearing a gray tuxedo and spats and holding a platter of chicken.The Wright City Big Boy's was famous in the St. Louis area for serving all you can eat (well, chicken and catfish were all you can eat; the steak dinner was one serving of steak, though the sides were all you can eat) "family style" meals (i.e., each item in your meal was served in a separate serving bowl, and you could pile as much on your plate as you could choke down, and send your server back for more). I've spent many a happy mealtime there myself (especially after I moved to the St. Charles area, which is only about a 10-15 minute drive down I-70 from Wright City).
It could be a caricature of farmer J.W. Chaney, known as "Big Boy" for the nearly 300 pounds on his 6-foot frame. One morning in June 1924, Chaney and his family were passing through Wright City on the way back from a trip to Colorado, and stopped for breakfast at the Silver Moon Cafe. Chaney loved the restaurant and the surrounding countryside so much he bought the business on the spot. He and his wife and two sons stayed to serve lunch.
It will be missed.
Len on 05.03.05 @ 08:08 AM CST