The Sagamore Bridge has been getting a lot of the headlines lately. First came the news that Christmas Tree Shops, on the heels of filing bankruptcy, was closing two Cape Cod stores – including the iconic one at the base of the bridge. Then came the news that the bridge work that had backed up traffic for weeks was finally complete.

Since the Bourne Bridge hasn’t gotten much love lately, we thought we’d do a little Throwback Thursday to one of the iconic restaurants that used to be at the base of that bridge. Remember Bob’s Big Boy?

The lot that now is home to a Dunkin’ on the Cape side of the Bourne Bridge was once the spot of the only Bob’s Big Boy in the area. Prior to that, it had been a Howard Johnson’s since at least the 1950s, and some sources push it back to the 1930s.

In 1985, HoJo’s was sold to the Marriott Corporation, which already owned the Bob’s Big Boy chain by that time. In 1987, the restaurant beside the Bourne Bridge opened as a Bob’s.

And it was glorious.

Courtesy Larry Cultrera
Courtesy Larry Cultrera
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Bob’s Big Boy started out in 1936 – then known as Bob’s Pantry – as owner Bob Wian made the “double-deck” burger famous. Bob’s spread across the country, sometimes under different names, in the ensuing decades, each carrying the famous “Big Boy” burger.

However, by the time I started visiting Bob’s Big Boy, it was less like a drive-in burger spot and more focused on being a sit-down family restaurant, with a frequent focus on its all-you-can-eat buffet.

If memory serves, it was only available on certain nights, but it featured homestyle favorites like meatloaf and roasted chicken while also having BBQ and other Midwestern favorites. There was probably some pasta on there too, now that I think about it.

On the weekends, you could also head over to Bob’s Big Boy for a breakfast buffet that couldn’t be beat.

Of course, who could forget about the life-size Big Boy fiberglass mascot statue outside the restaurant?

Credit: Junkyardsparkle (Public Domain)
Credit: Junkyardsparkle (Public Domain)

Like many other Big Boy statues outside restaurants across the country, it was a constant target of potential thieves. How many Cape tourists posed for a photo with that statue?

Bob’s Big Boy closed in 1994, and it opened up as an IHOP later that year. It remained as such for the next 20 years, before IHOP closed in October 2014. The following spring, the current Dunkin’ location opened on the site.

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