Biff Naylor

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W.W. “Biff” Naylor is a retired restaurant owner in Los Angeles, California. He was born in Oakland, California[1] in 1939 [2] and graduated from Pennsylvania State University.[3] His father W.W. “Tiny” Naylor started Tiny’s Waffle Shops in Central California in the 1920s, and operated a chain of more than 40 Tiny Naylor's and Biff’s restaurants in Southern California.[4] Biff Naylor took over operations of Tiny Naylor's after his father's death in 1959[5] and was still operating at least one location in 1999.[6] The Biff's restaurant chain of the 1940s was a "forerunner to all the modern coffee shops," Naylor told the San Jose Mercury News in 2016. Those restaurants employed modern architecture in the googie style, and innovations that would be adopted widely through the restaurant industry including open exhibition cooking kitchen, stainless steel counters, refrigerated pie cases, and plate "lowerators" that warmed or cooled plates as needed.[1] In 2017 Los Angeles magazine food critic Patric Kuh called the longtime restaurant operator "Diner royalty".[2] Saveur magazine wrote that Biff Naylor created "The best damn coffee shops ever" in their "Saveur 100" list[7]


Naylor is the oldest of five brothers [3] who ran American Restaurant Services, Inc. which operated Café River City in Sacramento, California, Tiny’s family restaurant in Capitola, California, and seven Cindy’s coffee shops in Northern California.[8] He became chief executive of the Hershel's Delicatessen chain, created by Denny's founder Harold Butler, in 1987. [9]

Naylor joined the board of the California Restaurant Association in 1983[3] and is former chairman of the National Restaurant Association.[10] Naylor hired Godfather's Pizza president Herman Cain as president of the National Restaurant Association in 1996[11]

In 2004 Naylor came out of retirement to purchase the Du-par's restaurant chain. He brought in his chef daughter Jennifer Naylor, who had formerly worked with chef Wolfgang Puck, to revamp the menu.[3] He sold the company in 2018.[12]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Oakland: Biff's to be torn down, replaced by 'hipster hive' of 255 condo units". San Jose Mercury News. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kuh, Patric (November 21, 2017). "A Love Letter to L.A.'s Eternally Charming Diners and Coffee Shops". Los Angeles magazine.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "NRA's Naylor speaks out on food industry issues". Nation's Restaurant News. 16 September 1996.
  4. "Du-par's Bringing Famous West Coast Brand East". Bethesda Beat. November 30, 2012.
  5. "Tiny Naylor, Restaurant and Racing Figure Dies". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. 19 August 1959.
  6. "'I'll Have the Blue-Plate Special'". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. 14 October 1999.
  7. Editors, The (February 2006). "Above Par Coffee Shop". Saveur magazine via archive.org. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  8. United States Congress (1 May 1989). "Basic Health Benefits for All Americans Act: Hearings Before the Committee". via Google Books. Washington, D.C.
  9. "Collins to buy Hershel's under Chapter 11 plan". Nation's Restaurant News. 20 July 1987.
  10. "Cain's experience as restaurant group chief mirrors some of his campaign's problems". The Washington Post. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  11. "Cain: I Was 'Falsely Accused'". Wall Street Journal. New York. 1 November 2011.
  12. Nichols, Chris (July 27, 2020). "Some of L.A.'s Most Beloved Institutions Are Threatened with Extinction". Los Angeles magazine.
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