Archive for Saturday, August 4, 2012

40 years ago: Construction to begin on Village Inn, Big Boy

August 4, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Aug. 4, 1972:

  • At a site adjacent to the TraveLodge Motel on Iowa Street, construction had begun on a $95,000 Village Inn restaurant. The eatery, which would seat 125 to 135 customers, was expected to open by the end of 1972. The Lawrence City Commission had recently approved a site plan for another chain to open a motel-restaurant nearby. Just across Iowa Street, JB's Big Boy Motor Lodge was to take shape, along with an adjoining restaurant which would seat 145 patrons. No construction schedule was yet available for the Big Boy.
  • Movies available to Lawrence theater-goers this week included "The Candidate" starring Robert Redford and "What's Up, Doc?" with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal. The Varsity was featuring "Snoopy, Come Home!"


Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 9 months ago

I miss the Village Inn restaurant. After it closed, it seemed to me that there was no place for the all night townies go to. There are a couple others today, but they aren't anything like the Village Inn was.

And of course, JB's Big Boy restaurant was great too! A friend from years ago, I met him in 1975, was the manager there and helped me get through some tough times. Here's how he did it: He'd write up a ticket for whatever I wanted, and then, since he was the manager and could do anything he wanted to, he'd write this on the ticket:

No Charge.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 9 months ago

Which explains why Big Boy is no longer in business. It's either stealing or a bad business model. (I suspect stealing, as it's a common enough practice to "lose" tickets such as you described)

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 9 months ago

I had hardly any money at the time and I was hungry, so I resorted to unscrupulous methods. I wasn't the first, and I'm sure I wasn't the last!

Etched in my memory is a very interesting event that took place over a period of years, but I can't talk about that in here!

And, here's an interesting one that I can talk about: Every once in a while, a busload of elderly patrons stopped at JB Big Boy's for lunch or dinner. And every single time, many of them paid with old coins. I thought that was rather sad, because those older people were on a very special trip, and they were paying with very old coins that they had saved for many years.

Of course, my friend went through the cash drawer every time a busload of elderly patrons had eaten there, and swapped the old coins for new ones. But, I don't think he ever got any particularly valuable coins.

gccs14r 5 years, 9 months ago

I, too, miss Village Inn. I've tried Perkins a couple of times, but it's just not the same.

Sarah St. John 5 years, 9 months ago

I still miss the VI and if I ever have heaps and heaps of money, I'd like to buy that building and turn it back into an all-night food-and-coffee joint, instead of the series of troublesome nightspots that it's been for years.

Mr. OHT and I did not meet at the VI, but the first night we did meet (elsewhere), we drove over there and talked over successive pots of coffee until about 3 a.m. I have other happy memories of the place, too. They used to have an extremely nice "children's night" when you could bring your little one in and they'd corral them all together in that small upper section behind the front cash register. They got a little supper (Dino Burgers!) and watched a Disney movie and did some coloring or other crafts, while mom and dad could sit at a table not far off and enjoy a meal

Big Boy was still here when I first came to Lawrence, I think (at least I remember the iconic statue being there) but I believe it closed not long after. (This was in the mid-80s.)

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