Shoney’s Monument/Museum (site of first Shoney’s Restaurant)
Backstory and Context
At the west end of Kanawha Blvd., as it curves near the Patrick Street Bridge, is a lone structure commemorating the location of the very first Shoney's restaurant. The forgotten Big Boy mascot stands at the top of a pedestal, forever holding up his famous Big Boy burger. The sign directing visitors labels the site a museum, but it is more accurately an interpretive kiosk with a few items of memorabilia inside and a plaque detailing the history of the restaurant and its founder, Alex Schoenbaum.
Schoenbaum grew up in West Virginia, where as a boy he worked in his father's bowling establishments in Charleston and Huntington. Alex played football at Ohio State University from 1936-1938 , and later created a chain of restaurants called Shoney’s Big Boy starting at this site in 1947. The original restaurant, called Parkette Drive-in, was later demolished in favor of a larger Shoney's; it, too, was torn down in 1974 and the museum has occupied the site for several years.