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Famous Tough Guy Danny Trejo Says He Once Robbed Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank

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The booming restaurateur and actor spills news about some of his past crimes

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Danny Trejo
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Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

In a podcast released earlier this month, star actor turned Los Angeles restaurateur Danny Trejo admitted that he once robbed the Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. The admission came during a discussion of Trejo’s well-documented criminal past around the city, which led to multiple prison sentences lasting more than a decade. Trejo was eventually released from prison and became a drug counselor, where he somewhat randomly got his break in the film industry while working on a set.

Trejo was asked about his criminal past on a recent episode of the popular year-old Air Jordan food podcast (around the ten-minute mark), replying that he “robbed everything in the San Fernando Valley.” Host Jordan Okun asks if that includes restaurants, to which Trejo replies that he once held up the iconic Bob’s in Burbank. The restaurant, with its swooping architecture, brightly-lit neon signage, and old school burger mascot, is a treasured and protected restaurant landmark for Los Angeles.

Exterior of Bob’s Big Boy with neon signs
Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank
Wonho Frank Lee

While he doesn’t go into too many specifics about the incident itself, Trejo does speak colorfully about that time in his life. He says that robbing restaurants was considered easier to pull off, particularly at the end of the night, because the places “were a lot more lax, you just wanted to get out of there.” The conversation is taken in good fun — Trejo has been open about his criminal history and the good deeds that he does today, including saving a child from a car wreck recently — though it does also underscore the vulnerability of many underpaid service workers in the industry. Trejo even says that years later while filming Heat in the same restaurant, a retired police officer questioned him about the long-ago robbery.

Trejo has been on the straight and narrow now for decades, starring in countless films and starting his own large-scale restaurant group under his own name. The company currently has multiple restaurants across the city, and is planning to push into national territory in the coming years.