Take a Trip Down Memory Lane as Bismarck’s ‘Big Boy’ Celebrates 60 Years
This month marks 60 years since the grand opening of Bismarck's Big Boy. With over 400 restaurants nationwide, what makes ours so unique?
Big Boy was first opened on Main Ave by Harley McDowell on July 1, 1954 as the first drive through, then known as a drive-in, restaurant in Bismarck. McDonald's did not even open a drive through for another 21 years!
As a Bismarck native, I always make sure all visitors make at least one trip to Big Boy. First timers must order a pizza burger flying style, formerly called a flying saucer, and a hot-n-tot, which is a cinnamon flavored Coca-Cola. This location is also famous for their fries and gravy and purple cows!
Although a nationwide chain, our Big Boy is truly unique. It is the only one without indoor seating and only serves two items from the original menu; the Big Boy Original and the Double Decker. McDowell also owned a Kentucky Fried Chicken at one point which influenced some of the food at Big Boy including chicken buckets and fries and gravy.
Other locations across the state opened soon after the Main Ave location's grand opening, including one in downtown Bismarck. Today, the original Bismarck location is the only Big Boy in roughly one-thousand miles.
Big Boy is more than just a restaurant to the Bismarck-Mandan area. It has become a landmark and we hope it carries on its delicious tradition for another 60 years!