We are more than just a restraurant, we are an american icon.

7447 Firestone Boulevard, Downey California, 90241


Downey's former Harvey's/Johnie's Broiler has made a major comeback from an utterly illegal Sunday afternoon demolition in 2007. Now a Bob's Big Boy, the restaurant has won the LA Conservancy's President's Award for preservation.

The Broiler’s story began in 1950 when owner Harvey Ortner and his wife Minnie purchased a former poultry farm property located on Firestone Boulevard and Old River School Road. The young couple hired architect Paul B. Clayton to design the restaurant.  Its design incorporated Southern California Googie architectural elements intended to help attract customers and motorists traveling in both directions on Firestone Boulevard. Harvey's Broiler was completed in 1958.

Harvey's Broiler was an overnight success and thousands of people came from all over the United States to experience the phenomenon of The Broiler. In 1968, the restaurant’s name was changed to Johnie's Broiler and additional lettering was installed to the famous Broiler sign. The famous "Fat Boy" mascot, featured in the broiler sign, was modeled after Beanie from the cartoon show Beany and Cecil. Johnie's continued serving great food and hosting cruise nights featuring all styles of vintage cars into the late 90’s.

During The Broiler's heyday, hot rods and "Kustom Kars" would cruise a route of popular carhop drive-in restaurants. One of the cruise circuits began in Long Beach at Grisinger's drive-in, continuing on to Holly's in Hawthorne on to the Wich Stand on Slauson and Overhill, and ending in Downey at the famous Broiler. As many as 3,000 young people took part in the ritual on some nights. Over the years various car clubs have kept the Broiler Wednesday Night Cruise alive and thriving.

Sadly on New Year's Eve 2001, Johnie's Broiler closed its doors and stopped operating as a restaurant. Early in 2002 it was leased and converted into a used car dealership by new operators. In August 2006, the dealerships lease was terminated and a new 99-year lease was signed with a new tenant Ardas Yanik. After the city turned down his request to tear down the restaurant, Yanik illegally demolished the restaurant one Sunday afternoon in 2007.

In Early 2002, a local grassroots campaign led by Adriene Biondo, John Eng and Alan Leib of the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee and Analisa Ridenour of the Friends of Johnie's advocacy group, assembled to help preserve the restaurant's exterior. Due to their efforts, the State of California's Historic Resources Commission unanimously voted to include Johnie's Broiler on the State's official Register of Historical Places!

The illegal demolition that occurred on Sunday afternoon January 7, 2007 shocked Broiler supporters and Downey residents. Supporters sprang into action, attended hearings, city council meetings and encouraged people to help save the landmark restaurant. In April 2008, the Broiler found a new lease on life and was committed to a rebuild. Family restauranteur Jim Louder completed a reconstruction of the property, based upon original blueprints (with a new sign unique to Bob's and modern specs) in 2009. The restaurant was rebuilt with the help of Downey's Redevelopment Agency and the Downey Historical Society.  Since Bob’s opening, the restaurant has served up great food, continued to host the Wednesday Night Cruise and be featured in TV and Film.

TV & Film

The Broiler has been featured in several popular movies and TV shows because of its authentic 1950s look. Some of the films and TV shows filmed at the iconic diner are:

Bob Dylan's

music video "Things Have Changed

The X Files

- Johnie's posed as a bus station for a 1999

What's Love Got To Do With It

coffee shop used where a fight scene occurred between Ike & Tina Turner

Can't Hardly Wait

Movie featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt


Unstrung Heroes

Midnight Madness

Reality Bites

Short Cuts


Television show featuring David Duchovny

One Hour Photo

a 2002 motion picture directed by Mark Romanek, used Johnie's as the coffee shop where the Robin Williams' character has his meals. The illuminated outdoor neon sign is seen at the beginning of the first coffee shop scene.

Sean Kingston's

music video "Beautiful

Jon B's

music video "They don't know"


music video What It Feels Like For A Girl

Goodie Mob's

music video What It Ain't (Ghetto Enuff) featuring R&B trio TLC

The Country Bears

My Stopmother Is An Alien

Riot (1997)


Music music video for "Sucked

The Beach Boys

- An American Family, a 2000 ABC-TV movie, used Johnie's as an location depicting life in 1960s Los Angeles, complete with vintage hot rods and roadsters.

License to Drive

as "Archie's Atomic Drive-In"

Matchstick Men

Movie featuring Robert DeNiro

The Game

Mission Impossible 2

Movie featuring Tom Cruise


Movie featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck

Mad Men

- Portions of the 2010 Season Finale were filmed at the newly restored now known as "Bob's Big Boy Broiler".

Earth Girls Are Easy

Movie featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck

Learn More About The History


Every Wednesday 9-5pm

Wednesday Night Cruise

All cars welcome, food & beer specials

Check Out Our Event Photos


Sunday—Thursday 7:00am—11:00pm Friday—Saturday 7:00am—12:00am