In this ever-changing world, it’s good to know that some things never change. Like the Slim Jims at the Big Boy in Traverse City, Michigan.
My husband Tim and I took Mom there after church, and while she doesn’t remember going there previously (her memory is starting to fade), I know it was a favorite eatery of hers and my dad’s. Not just Traverse City, but other Big Boys around Michigan, too.
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I love that you can still get a Slim Jim there, a Brawny Lad, or perhaps a Classic Big Boy burger. Sometimes you just need to go to Big Boy and eat something that you ate when you were a kid.
I didn’t see Boston Cooler on the current menu, but according to this wiki page, it appears that the name “Boston Cooler” went away when Elias Brothers sold the Big Boy franchise to new ownership in the 1980s. At any rate, there are still delicious ice cream floats, shakes and malts on the current Big Boy menu.
The first Big Boy I remember in Traverse City was where the Cottage Cafe (formerly Mabel’s) is now. This was in the 1960s and 70s. My sister was a waitress there, and later, my friend from high school, Rita Gregory.
There was a drive-in in the back, with genuine roller-skating waitresses (though somewhere along the way, that vintage coolness was discontinued). I believe the restaurant was open all night, and Tim remembers that after the Tanz Haus closed, probably at 2 a.m., hoards of kids would gather at the Big Boy.
At some point, the Big Boy moved downtown to where Mackinac Brewing Co. is now, and then out to its current location across from Meijer.
I sure wish I had one of those tabletop jukeboxes from the old location. I asked once at the current Big Boy, but the manager didn’t know whatever happened to them. If someone knows, tell me in the comments below.