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Jun 19, 2008 09:02 PM


Does anyone else remember an Alphy's Restaurant chain? As I remember, it was near the 60 and 605 frwys. near Whittier, CA. Basically it was a family style restaurant similar to a Denny's. I am not even sure if I have the spelling right.

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  1. You are exactly right. I believe it was a spin-off of the Alpha Beta Supermarket chain. It was located next to Zimmer's Truck Stop right there at the 605 and Peck Road. I was just looking for some relish like they used to put on their burgers. It was red, kinda sweet, with onions...and was very good. Can't seem to find anything close, though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: NoseGoodFood

      I frequently visited the Alphy's in Fullerton, located at Chapman and Raymond Ave. It was right next door to an Alpha Beta grocery store. I didn't know there were others, but it makes sense.
      It was a block from my house, and was the place to be after the bars closed. It was open all night.
      I dated several of the waitress', and married one of them... Like Alphy's, she was fun while it lasted, but now both are gone....

      1. re: NoseGoodFood

        Right...the relish you refer to was made from mayonnaise and sweet chutney. I'll have to make some of it for old times sake.
        Bob Livingston, PhD

      2. I worked for Alpha Beta in the Food Service Division which included Alphys restaruants for 11 years from 1971-1982. I was a District Mgr for eight of those years - made DM when I was 27 years old. It was the begining of my management career. To give you some history: Alpha Beta - Acme, later American Stores, Inc., purchased Owl Drugs which had "fountains" in a number of the drug stores. Alphys was a spin-off of the fountains. Lil' Alphy was the logo for Alpha Beta Markets. At their peak, Alphys had 50 restaurants from San Diego to Simi Valley and Port Hueneme. The restaurants were given the designation 3400. The first, 3401 was in the Hy-Low Drug store in Van Nuys. The one referred to by NoseGoodFood on Peck Road was 3486, City of Industry.

        In 1980, Sam Skaggs of Skaggs Drugs did a LBO and acquired American Stores. A year later, he sold off the Food Service Division to Dennys Restaurants. Sixteen of the restaruants were sold by Dennys to R&M Foodservice, Inc. and converted to Millies Restaurants. Millies was later sold to a franchisee of Polly's Pies. There is still one Alphys Restaurant left, or it was still open a few years ago. It is just off the 405 Fwy in Torrance, #3481.

        I went with R&M as an Investor/Regional Mgr, left there when I bought into a wholesale/distribution company, went back to R&M as the VP/Operations for five years, owned a series of four companys, sold my last company, a phone company, The Phone Source, in 1999, and began teaching business management full-time for Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA in 2001. I had been teaching part-time for 15 years as a hobby; now it's become another career. Interestingly, the program I am the coordinator of for the college is the Retail Management Program and we do college classes for the supermarket industry: Ralphs/Food4Less, Albertsons, Northgate Gonzalez, StaterBros, and Costco. I occationally run into Alpha Beta people, but most of them got old - not me though.

        ...Bob Livingston, PhD

        20 Replies
        1. re: Bob Livingston

          Thanks Bob for all the interesting information. My family was friends with one of the managers of the Alpha Beta store in Pico Rivera, CA. Please let me know if the last name, 'Heron' rings a bell. Not absolutely sure on spelling. We lost touch with the family over the past few decades. Again, Thanks!

          1. re: Big N Fat

            I was wondering about Alphy's because of this mug that I found when cleaning out my Grandma's kitchen cupboard. Its my favorite coffee mug. I don't remember ever going to Alphy's restaurant, but I remember going on a school field trip to Alpha Beta in Covina. While it crossed my mind briefly that they might be affiliated, it didn't really strike me as likely. Great to know this!

            1. re: artdecade

              I have two of those mugs. Saw one at a garage sale for a quarter, and figured it was worth that for the memories. A few months later we spotted another one at a garage sale, think it was Fifty cents. If I saw another, I'd buy it.. Why not.....
              Out of all our mugs, those two get used daily, Tea for me, coffee for wife....

              1. re: Donn2390

                Thats great Donn! Yep, if I ever saw one of these mugs at a garage sale I would buy it too! And see, you got your first one for a quarter and the next time value had already risen to $0.50 for the next one! At this rate these mugs will be worth a dollar within the next ten years! ;-) lol. It really is a good, solid mug. I love the pedestal design. I have dozens of coffee mugs and yet I'm always drawn to this one.

              2. re: artdecade

                That mug is a pre-1974 or 1975 mug. I managed the store at Sepulveda and Nordhoff in the San Fernando Valley. I was promoted in Asst. Merchandizer for the company in 1974 or 1975 under Phil Cox. Phil was promoted to District Manager and I took the Merchandizer position and Ed Felton became my Assistant. The pedestal was the weakest feature on the mug and when it became chipped, the mug had to be thrown away. When I became Merchandizer, I had the mug made without the pedistal and the usage of mugs went down dramatically, saving the company a lot of money. Some customers weren't thrilled with the change.
                ...Bob Livingston

                1. re: artdecade

                  Here's one I have. Kim Holiday gave it to me last year when a few of us got together.

                2. re: Big N Fat

                  Don Calvo was the District Manager in San Diego. I do not recall a Heron, but that was a long time ago.
                  ...Bob Livingston

                  1. re: Bob Livingston

                    Hello , I worked for Alphys from 1972-1980... started at the store in Torrance , on graveyard shift at the age of 17 teen . then worked at several others as an Assistant Manager, Ed Felton, was the district manger at the time when I first started, worked in industry, had a great time there, also both of the ones in Long Beach , and I think Carson? ... anyway was a great place to work, and had great food !! hard working people and we had a great crew, front end and back end. Bob I worked with Bill Seckinger, Doug Bull, Ed Felton, I worked with his sister Ann and brother Charlie, Think I know you too... I moved to Colorado became a Nurse and now am a Regional Health Administrator, loved the job and loved Alphy"s did you say there is one left? when I last went to California and went to where it was in Torrance it is now a Dennys is the Hollywood store gone too? I remember having a waiting list even for the counter seats in Torrance, I would love to find some coffee cups!!!

                    1. re: patricebald

                      There were two Torrence stores. One was 3404; the other was 3481. The large one you refer to was 3404. The one that was still an Alphys or a Millies was 3481. It was just off the west side of the 405 Freeway. It had a large tower sign that could be seen from a distance. Wasn't your last name Baldwin? And, didn't you have red hair? If you are the same person I'm thinking of, your last store was 3406 in Anaheim.

                      I met with Ed Felton, Kim Holliday, and Don (Butch) Wilson for lunch a few months ago. That's when Kim gave me that Alphys mug.

                      A lot of water under the bridge since those days...

                      Bob Livingston, PhD

                      1. re: Bob Livingston

                        Good memory. Right on name .I was a blonde and tall .I worked at both torrance stores both longbeach industry even worked in the one in hemet. Great times would have made a career of it. But didn't think I could work 60 a week or more forever. Very funny now. I work 50 to 60 now with call 24/7 overseeing medical,mental health service's, dental, sex offender,drug and alcohol treatment . I oversee a region of five prision for the state. You were always professional and good to work with. I remember when 3404 hit top sales. I remember having to to find steaks for all the 1.99 tbone steak dinners. 5 cent pancakes. But most I remember a company and bosses who gave everyone a chance to promote no matter how young.a chance to be successful. I know the years l worked for alphys I have used the training in my life. How is ed and family hope. Aell years have gone by and have lost track of all. Moving out of state raising family, going to school, ( you have really go on to higher education) and starting a new profession. I started at 3404, and thought it was the best, but I learner that each of the restaurants have great staff and wonderful regular customers. Sorry they went away. Will have to fine last one next trip to California.

                3. re: Bob Livingston

                  Bob, that was a great post! Thanks! Starting in 1978, I worked at Alphy's in Bellflower on Lakewood Blvd. Dan Warren, Dave Freed, and Bob Amaya, were a few of my bosses.It was my first job and I learned so much there. Wasn't Rueban a DM? I want to say that he taught a class for which I got work experience credit. Was Millie his wife, hence the name Millie's for the restaurants that didn't become Denny's? I worked until 1982, when they closed. Luckily, I went straight from there to the Postal Service, where I have been for over 30 years now. Alphy's was great! I did it all there, busboy to cook, waiter and shift supervisor. What a great place to learn.

                  1. re: pony4bt

                    Ruben Villavicencio was the president of the Foodservice Division, later a Corporate Vice President for American Stores. He and some investors bought 16 of the Alphys Restaurants from Denny's when Denny's bought the division from Alpha Beta. The name was changed from Alphys to Millies Country Kitchens, later to just Millies. Country Kitchens Restaurants made Ruben remove the Country Kitchens part of Millies. Then, a lady in up-state New York who had a beer bar named Millies blocked Ruben from filing Millies nationally. Eventually, a deal was made for I believe $100,000 and rights to the name east of the Mississippi, giving Ruben the rights to the name west of the Mississippi.

                    Ruben had a stroke a few years ago and lost his speaking ability, but he is still alive and living in Southern California. He has earned a great deal of honor and respect from all of us who worked with and for him over the years.

                    Bob Livingston, PhD

                    1. re: Bob Livingston

                      Just read that Ruben passed this year. He was too young. Sad. How are you Bob? Any idea where Bob Amaya ended up? Ray is still in Simi Valley. I'm a pilot and having great fun with 11 grand kids. Life is good. Alphas seems like a lifetime ago.

                      1. re: Maryannlane


                        Bob Amaya is currently living in Texas, I think he is in sales selling furniture. I uploaded a picture of a couple of mugs that were before the Tan mugs also a book of matches.

                        1. re: George_Lupton

                          Here's a bit of nostalgia for you George. I teach the Retail Management program at Ralphs/Food4Less. When my students heard I began at Alpha Beta, they rounded up an AB stapler for me. I've used it for the past 10 or 12 years. It's probably 30+ years old now, and still works fine.

                          1. re: George_Lupton

                            Hey George - I believe you were my very first boss. I worked at the Alphy's in Baldwin Park on Main Street. Were you the manager there in 1983-84?

                            1. re: Babsz7

                              Yes I managed the Baldwin Park site for a few years, then was transferred to Norwalk. What is your name?

                              1. re: George_Lupton

                                It's Barbara... My mom Kathy Case also worked there with you! Small world. I had a lot of fun there... Great first job!! Hope life is treating you well.

                      2. re: pony4bt

                        What is your name? I was at Alphys on Lakewood in 1979. Dan was my mgr and I was the asst

                        1. re: AlexTrevino

                          Bob Livingston. I was a District Manager.

                    2. I worked at Alphys for several years starting at the 3431 Rowland Heights and then to the one in Chino 3427 and finally the one in Rosemead 3419 ?. It was a great place to work. I remember what great managers they had. Jack Hite, Jack Freidman, Oscar Borello, Ben Benson, Len Ducet were all great people. I wish the stores were still around.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Odevil

                        Alphy's Rowland Heights is were I met my wife Karen. I worked there briefly for Jack Hite.

                          1. re: Odevil

                            Odevil Karen worked at Rowland Heights from 1976 - 1981 when it was closed and Denny's took over.

                        1. re: Odevil

                          I worked at Chino also.... Probably late 70's. Started as dishwasher, then cook... Great memories... Wish could track them down. I'm thinking one of you more organized people should start a FB page or something :)

                          1. re: Tripeler

                            You win the "Bad Pun of the Day" award..
                            But I like it....

                            1. re: Donn2390

                              I am always impressed when someone sings Alfie. It has to be one of the most difficult songs to sing because of the immense jumps in the melody.

                          2. Living in Huntington Beach we use to always eat @ Alphy's off the 405-Freeway/Talbert---on the border of Huntington Beach & Fountain Valley! Their Sourdough chesseburger was THEE best! Now back in 1976 Alan Hammel {Suzanne Sommers Husband} use to advertise on TV for Alpha Beta & Alphy's I think & maybe Hildy Brookes? Ahhhhhh the good old days! My older half brother & I would go every afternoon & either have a burger, apple pie & a pack of marlboro reds! Southern Cal has lost 90% of good burger places----whereas I live in the Dallas/Ft Worth-Metro/Plex now & Im in Burger heaven here in Dallas---as we have 1,ooo's of great Burger Restaurants----FLIPS Patio & Grill's burgers are BOSS----especially in GRAPEVINE, {TX}!