Monday, March 12, 2012

End of an era. . . .

From St Louis today 2002:

"Signs in front of The Big Boy's Restaurant greet travelers along Interstate 70 at Wright City on Aug. 27, 2002. The restaurant is noted for its fried chicken. Kentuckian J.W. "Big Boy" Chaney passed through Wright City in the early 1920s, before there was a hard road, and rested his 300-pound bulk at the Silver Moon Cafe. He liked the menu and the surrounding countryside so much that he bought the restaurant in 1924 and renamed it for himself."

I remember people from St Louis, about a 50 mile drive, talking about going to Big Boys in the late 50's, early 60's just for the fried chicken. I went there a lot in the late 80's, early 90's when I was working on my cabin. I had to drive right past it on the way, so it made an easy stop for breakfast on my way out. Once I got the stove installed, I would go light the fire in the cabin, then go to Big Boys for breakfast till the cabin warmed up.

This is what it looked like inside in its hay day.

Like most of the old places along what is now highway 70, the interstate system, which we now all enjoy, was the start of the downfall of Big Boys.
Although it held on for an additional 40 years, its decline was sad to watch.

No longer able to draw the crowds it use to, it gradually started to lack the appeal it once had.
About three years ago it closed its doors. The building was left to decay and became vandalized and is now being taken down.
Some of the old staff tried to buy the place and keep it going, but it got lost it tax issues.

The old staff did however open another Big Boys, in a new strip maul across the highway, trying to keep some of the old recipes alive.
Good luck to them

If you can remember driving west across Missouri before the interstate system, you will remember lots of old places like this that use to serve traveler.
Many, you can still see, but now are some other sort of business. And, sadly, many more are gone.

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