Big Boy’s Burgers and Shakes opens in Mayfield Heights

Big Boy’s back in town.

That’s good news for those who grew up gobbling the double-decker burger topped with special sauce at multiple Manners Big Boy Restaurants formerly spread throughout the Cleveland area.

Big Boy’s Burgers and Shakes, situated in a retail plaza at 1288 SOM Center Road in Mayfield Heights, differs from its predecessors in that it serves up offerings in the currently popular fast-casual style rather than traditional table service.

Full-serve, stand-alone Big Boy Restaurants remain in Valley View and on Brookpark Road in Cleveland. However, new owner Bob Liggett, who purchased the chain in 2000, wanted to reintroduce the brand with a contemporary approach while retaining classic menu items and traditions including the mascot — a boy sporting a charming smile and spiffy red and white checked overalls.

“We wanted to dial in with a little bit of our heritage but with a fresh look,” said David Crawford, chief marketing officer for Big Boy Restaurants International based in Warren, Michigan.

A larger-than-life statue of the mascot greets patrons while entering the establishment who then are directed toward a counter area where orders are placed and customized according to palate preferences. Can’t get enough of that special sauce? Staffers will pile it high if requested. Extra lettuce? Say the word and it’s yours.

Other sandwich choices are available and can be accompanied with sides including fresh-cut fries and berry cole slaw as well as hand-dipped shakes and creative sundae concoctions. Those who remember the Sweetie Pie will find it as “Hot Fudge Ice Cake,” although switching the name back to the original is being considered.

Aiming to please health-conscious customers, an array of salads and veggie burgers has been introduced. Blueberry-infused lemonade is among the many beverages offered at a self-serve station.

Kids meals priced at $4.99 each include a main dish, side and beverage.

Crawford noted that eventually additional menu items will be introduced.

“Right now we want to focus on the core menu, get it right, and then bring others in,” he said.

Staffers are hoping to hook up with Great Lakes Brewing Company to offer patrons the option of beer. Local sources already being used are Orlando Baking Company and Pierre’s Ice Cream.

Filling the dining area within the 2,400-square-foot space are tables constructed of reclaimed wood and varied styles of modern sleek chairs.

On Feb. 9, opening day, Cathy Nigoff of Euclid stopped by because she wanted to be one of the first customers as well as to sample the goods.

“It was cooked right,” she said of her cheeseburger and fries meal. “The food came out very fast. I’d come back because the food is so good.”

In between sips of a chocolate fudge shake, Connie Herlacher of Wickliffe agreed.

“The food was great,” she said. “The Big Boy was just like I remember. I’ll be coming back. Probably once a week at least…maybe more. I think it would be nice to bring the whole family here.”

The concept of Big Boy’s Burgers and Shakes was four years in the making and the Mayfield entity is the first of its kind, according to Davidson. He explained the area was chosen because the two Cleveland restaurants do very well and the area has a great burger culture. If met with success, future potential sites include Mentor, Avon, Rocky River and Fairlawn.

Following yet another modern trend, a food truck brimming with Big Boys and more is set to strike out in spring, delivering the specialty items to local events.

Nancy Amantea of Mayfield and Lucy Muttillo of South Euclid showed their support on opening day.

“I’ve been eating Big Boys since the 60s,” Amantea said. “I don’t think it can get any better than this.”

Whether stopping by for the food or nostalgic feelings, Crawford is hoping many new memories area created.

“This brand evokes so much emotion,” he said.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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