Bob’s Big Boy / El Cajon | San Diego, CA

I know it’s very likely that as a child I went to Bob’s Big Boy. They used to be pretty prevalent back in the day, but I just don’t remember ever going to one. It’s not within my fuzzy memory banks of “places we ever ate it”. I do have fuzzy memories of going to a Fuddrucker’s and a Boil Weevil, but never a Bob’s Big Boy. So, let’s just say that this was my first visit that I actually remember as an adult.

I probably still wouldn’t have visited Bob’s Big Boy if it hadn’t been for the fact that I got some free discounted coupons from The Daily Save. I actually got two of them and they let us use them together, which was nice (since on the coupons it said “One per person, per day).

Jake, T and I headed out to El Cajon on a very, very hot day (you remember it, I’m sure), happy to be going somewhere with some air conditioning for a little relief, even if El Cajon is like a heat trap. We plopped down into a booth and looked over the menu for foods. Jake ended up getting something breakfast-y, T got a burger and I got fried chicken which was kind of dinner-y.

My meal came with a garden salad. Pretty standard fare with glops of blue cheese dressing on it. Not too shabby.

Here’s T’s lunch of a BBQ Burger and Fries. He let Jake and I both try the hamburger meat and I must say that I wasn’t really impressed. It sort of tasted like Salisbury steak but without the sauce. I don’t know how else to describe the flavor of it, but it wasn’t something I really enjoyed and I was glad I didn’t get a burger. T seemed to think it was all right though.

Jake got a breakfast platter with eggs, hash browns, pancakes, bacon and sausage. Again, this was average, fair food. In the constant battle between hash browns v. Keith’s hash browns, Keith’s wins again. I don’t remember what the rest of the breakfast food was like, but I remember Jake let me have some of his syrup which I used on my chicken (I was thinking of chicken & waffles at the time).


The Fried Chicken dinner came with 1 side and I chose mashed potatoes and gravy. The chicken itself was cooked well, but I felt like the outer coating of the chicken was too strong and too thick. It seemed off to me.

After eating a little of the chicken, I discovered there was some kind of stuffing in the bottom of my chicken pieces. I had never really heard of stuffing in a chicken like this before. While a neat idea, this didn’t really do it for me. The stuffing was too salty and concentrated in flavor to be really enjoyable. I wouldn’t like to eat this stuffing outside of my chicken, much less within it. I was very surprised to find it, too, since it wasn’t mentioned on the menu’s description at all.

After some mediocre food I tried to make up for it by ordering a piece of pie – namely, some Strawberry Pie. It was passable in my book, but no where near the most delicious pie I’ve ever had, strawberry or otherwise. I liked the strawberries in their cool glaze with the whipped cream on it. It was satisfying enough for me, but not really something I feel I had to come back for – there are other places that do pies – and other foods – a lot better than Big Boy’s.

All in all I’d have to say that I don’t foresee a return trip. The food was just okay, nothing really made an impression on me, and I think there are better, more local places that do the diner thing a lot better than this.

Bob’s Big Boy
937 Parkway Plaza
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 440-9000


Author: Mary

Mary is a San Diego native and has been a food blogger for 11+ years. She is an avid reader, a lover of puppies, and loves trying new food. Foods she loves: sweets, peanut butter, pasta, Triscuit crackers with cream cheese, and extra nuts on top of her sundaes. Food she dislikes: pickles, really spicy food, runny eggs, olives, and too much arugula.

4 Replies to “Bob’s Big Boy / El Cajon | San Diego, CA

  1. Mary, it’s been decades since I’ve been in a Bob’s Big Boy. I seem to recall thinking the best thing on their menu was a hot ham and Swiss cheese sandwich. Having grown up with one Southern grandmother, I would NEVER have ordered fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy there! Look at that gravy–it’s BROWN gravy (from a mix or a can, I’m sure). You gotta try my grandma’s cream gravy. Excellent review.

  2. Hey Jean – I really should have known better but fried chicken sounded so good to me that day! So sad that it turned out to be not so great. Your grandma’s cream gravy already sounds more awesome than what I had at BBB!

  3. I don’t think of Big Boy’s having great food…although their onion rings are some of the best I’ve ever had…the patty melt is what I always order…my husband gets the Big Boy Combo. They are known from their blue cheese salad dressing and sell it along with the seasoning salt. …Costco Sells the dressing…

    Being in Southern California your luckly to be able to experience Bob’s. For they have expanded with more stores within the past 3-5 years. I live in Northern California and make it a point to visit the Burbank location when in the south land…if your in the area on any Friday night, it’s all about the cars…

    You have got to admit it’s a lot better then McDonalds or Burger King!!

Leave a Reply