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Don Boyd | all galleries >> Memories of Old Hialeah, Old Miami and Old South Florida Photo Galleries - largest non-Facebook collection on the internet >> Miami Area RESTAURANTS, Drive-Ins, Bars, Lounges, Liquor Stores, Clubs, Strip Joints, etc. Gallery - All Years - click to view >> Big Wheel Drive-In Images Gallery - click on image to view the gallery > 1955 - Carhop Maybelle "Bubbles" Erickson at The Big Wheel, a very popular drive-in at Coral Way and SW 32 Avenue, Miami
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1955 1955 Ben Wallace

1955 - Carhop Maybelle "Bubbles" Erickson at The Big Wheel, a very popular drive-in at Coral Way and SW 32 Avenue, Miami

2356 SW 32 Avenue, Miami, Florida

Thank you to MaryAnn Wallace for providing this image that her dad took in 1955. MaryAnn says it was the place to be for kids from Coconut Grove and the Gables.

other sizes: small medium original auto
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Arthur Golden 06-Aug-2017 18:01
My parents owned a drive-in restaurant at 32nd Avenue and Coral Way until the summer of 1955. They had operated it since right around 1950, when I was born. My name is Arthur, and it was named 'King Arthur's Drive-In'. Fried chicken, french fries, curb girls on roller skates. I would LOVE to find a photo to send to my older brother Marty. Before the drive-in, they owned Martin's Coffee Shop just 1/2 block north of the 79th St and Biscayne Blvd intersection. If pictures exist of either of these moments from the past, please contact me at ''.
Don Boyd11-Jan-2016 19:48
Where did you post them? That would be helpful to know. If you would like to have them on this website please send them to me at because no one can upload to this site except for the owner of the account with Pbase. Thanks.

steve jackson 11-Jan-2016 16:28
I just posted two photos of the car hops at the big wheel both with my mom Hazel Jackson who worked there
Don Boyd21-Aug-2014 07:17
Patrice, thank you for posting about your grandmother Maybelle. I'm glad you found her photo on this site - it is a treasure from almost 60 years ago.

Patrice 20-Aug-2014 22:46
This is my Grandmother Maybelle and I am so happy to have the ability to see and share this photo. Thank you so much. I had forgotten they called her "Bubbles". I need to as my mother why, probably because she had such a wonderful personality.
Don Boyd17-Aug-2014 05:37
Jeff, sorry for the delay in responding but it's hard to keep up with comments all over the place. I remember living in Brooklyn, and out in the boonies of White Plains, but I don't brag about them so that's why you didn't know. And thank you for your astute math on the age of "Bubbles" which seems about right.

Peter, thank you for your comments. I don't know but hopefully someone will provide an answer for you in the future.

Kathi, I don't know but perhaps someone will provide your answer in the future. Thank you for asking.

Linda, thank you for posting your comments and memories, it adds to the background of this fine establishment. : )

linda green16-Aug-2014 20:22
Hi. I was a carhop at the Big Wheel in the mid 60's while student at Miami High. This was a Stingaree hang out. Customers didn't realize that the carhops could hear all the conversations in the cars if the speakers were on. LOL. Shorty was the manger. He was called Shorty because he was 6'5" or so. Thank for the memories.
Kathi Vincent 03-Aug-2014 09:45
Does anyone know if Paul Young ever owned this drive-in? He owned a restaurant in Miami with the name WHEEL in it around 1956. Can't find anything about him. I know he had at least 2 children and a wife named RENEY (Irene?)
Jeff 27-Nov-2013 06:14
Don, I didn't know you (like myself) was an ex-Brooklynite! All these years and I just am finding this out NOW! LOL!

Regarding Steve Jackson's older post alluding that the Paley brothers owned Uncle Tom's... sorry, but no. That was Tommy Efantis who later sold it and Opened Tommy's on LeJeune Road before re-acquiring the restaurant later on. Uncle Tom's was originally known as Col. Jim's.

By the way, doing the math (2009 minus 1955), and with Maybelle Erickson passing in 2009 at the age of 76, "Bubbles" was about 22 at the time the photo was taken...
Don Boyd07-Sep-2013 05:53
Well for a good ol' Brooklyn Boy (I escaped to Miami from Brooklyn when I was 4 in 1951) let's hope that IRMA LOPEZ comes upon this site someday and reads your comments, Bobby Zollo! Does anyone know Irma Lopez from the good old days? If so point her to this page and Bobby's comments. : )

Bobby Zollo 06-Sep-2013 19:15
WoW talking and reading about the "BIG WHEEL" i met a love of omy life as she was a waitress at the time when she approached my car i fell in love to IRMA LOPEZ , we dated for a while and then drifted away, but i will always remember IRMA and the Big Wheel, Thank u for letting me share this with you. I fyou know Irma tell her Bobby Zollo from Brooklyn N Y still thinks about her , now living in Pembroke Pines Century Village :-)
Guest 25-Jul-2013 19:55
Thank you, I agree, the memorabelia can be very special. my dad would be thrilled if I could find something .. A hat, tshirt, anything. He talks very highly of mr paley. I'm afraid this photo isn't printing well for me.. Maybe the resolution ?
Don Boyd25-Jul-2013 17:31
I would imagine that anything from The Big Wheel or Paley's Big Wheel is pretty scarce because I just haven't seen anything in years of looking, except for the above photo that was contributed to me for display on my site. The problem is that folks pass away and their kids don't realize the value of all the old stuff that their parents may have collected over the years and most stuff just gets trashed to clean out the old folks' home so the kids can sell it or move into it. If the kids only knew the value of old stuff that collectors would pay for old items.

I think that your best bet would be to closely monitor eBay's collectibles section at least once a week to see if anyone puts anything up. Here's a link to their collectibles section using the keyword of "Miami" for the search:

You can use other words for the search to narrow the results but I like looking at all the old Miami stuff and once in a while I see something I really like. Let me know if you find anything because I would sure love to add photos of what you find to this site so that many others can enjoy seeing the items. I'm not into collecting items myself because I should be disposing of stuff at this stage in my life but preserving the memories of places and people is one of my goals in life. Thanks.

Guest 25-Jul-2013 16:43
Thank you, do you know where I can find any paleys memorabilia?
Don Boyd24-Jul-2013 20:50
Guest, go for it and print it for your dad.

Guest 24-Jul-2013 17:55
Hi don, can I please have permission to print this picture for my dad? He used to work at paleys when he was a young teenager. His name is mike, he used to wash dishes.
Guest 24-Jul-2013 17:51
Hi , does anyone know where I can get any memorabelia from paleys?
Rick L. 21-Oct-2012 05:17
I used to live a half a block behind this place in 1960 and would walk down there and hang out . I would sitt in the screened in area on the right . I remember the sign that said home of the double decker . What a burger that was.
Guest 06-Sep-2012 04:16
My dad's first job as a teen was at Paley's big wheel. Dad turned 70 this year, looking for some Paley's big wheel memorabilia for him, any thoughts.
Guest 29-Jul-2012 17:21
We grew up in Coconut Grove and Mary Ann Wallace lived down the street from us. A couple of year back she e-mailed this picture to me. The Big Wheel was one of the greatest places to go after games, skating at Venetian, or to hangout with friends. Just couldn't get better burgers, fries, onion rings and later Fried Chicken with honey. That was the first place I saw Car Hops on roller skates. We, our generation, definitely had the best childhood and growing up memories and experiences of any generation. I only wish my children could have experienced just some of it. Thanks Don Boyd for all of the pictures you are providing us with. No one could have done it better. Helen Vaughn Cleveland
steve Jackson 05-Apr-2012 15:16
Mom worked the bigwheel in the 50's. I believe Paley, the owner also owned uncle toms on s.w. 8 street
sandi 10-Aug-2011 03:44
My birthmother and birth father used to come here on dates. If anyone knows a 6'5" caucasion barber who hung out here in the mid 50's with Ruth, I can be found on facebook under the name tallsandi.
Barbara Whitaker 29-Apr-2011 19:01
I am looking for the recipe of a sandwich they made at the Big Wheel. It was on a long dark bun with meat and melted cheese . It was a warmed sandwich. Does anyone remember the sandwich and how to make it?
Ken Griese 27-Sep-2010 15:42
This was the location of my very first car date! The burgers were so big you couldn't eat them with any grace. I think it was my first and last date with Marcie Lewis, a sweet girl at Miami Central HS in the early 60's.
Don Boyd31-Mar-2009 19:27
My sympathies are with you regarding the great loss of your mom. I'm so glad that she was able to see the photo while alive. Thank you to Ben Wallace for originally taking the photo and his daughter MaryAnn Wallace for sending to me to display here. Having the photo up here will cause people to remember your mom "Bubbles" for many years to come. Thank you for writing and informing us of her passing. Don
Guest 31-Mar-2009 18:51
Hi Everyone,
Well, our mom (Maybelle aka "Bubbles") didn't make it her 77th birthday this year, but my sister Patrice and I sat her down at my computer and showed her picture to her. She just had the biggest grin on her face and then told us how wonderful it was to work there back then! People were really geniunely nice she told us and she LOVED it at the Big Wheel and what fun it was to work in roller skates. And yes, the waitresses all wore short skirts in the summertime when it got warm. (Mom said it definitely helped her raise the tips she needed to feed & clothe her four kids.) We loved her with all our hearts...she was truly a happy positive person and never was mean to anyone ever that I remember. They just don't make people like her anymore. We MISS her terribly! Enjoy having a place to remember her in her happy youth! A BIG Heartfelt Thanks! From the Erickson Family*
Jim Hughes MHS 59' 14-Feb-2009 17:21
The Big Wheel was the place to meet. The off duty Miami Policeman "Whity" used to make everyone stay in their car or make you leave. Used to change cars when he was at the other end of the property. Great memories.
Dick Raymer 23-Dec-2008 22:41
Great place to find a "drag race": ))
Victor Mc 04-Apr-2008 12:57
I would frequent both Big Wheels. The one on Flagler was closer to my home home, but one on 32nd had more people that I knew walking around.
Bob Self 02-Mar-2008 21:20
Mrs. Tate was a teacher at MHS. Her son opened the Big Wheel in 1950 I think. I went there many times as I lived in Coral Gables. MHS '51
LL 01-Mar-2008 14:52
We spent many nights here with our friends from HHS and Miami High. Who ever had a car had a car full of HHS gals, checking on the Miami High guys.
Ron Valdes 01-Feb-2008 19:46
Loved cruzing this one in my '39 Ford Coupe. A great hang out. Ron V.
Guest 22-Jan-2008 04:33
Rachelle S.   MHS60                                                                                I definitely remember consuming a multitude of french fries and onion rings at the Big Wheel on the corner of  Flagler St. and SW 57th Ave.  The car hops were on roller skates and, if I recall, wore pink and gray short uniforms in the summertime.  The cute car hop that waited on us most often was called Bubbles; never knew her real name.  One of our friends had a new, red, 57' Chevy convertable that sat up there often.  There was another Drive-In at Flagler and SW 52 Ct. that we frequented also.  Did we do anything else back then???
Mark Lewis 18-Jan-2008 23:49
Corkys moved from N. Miami Beach to Pembroke Pines at the corner of Palm & Johnson. It has been closed for over a year. Like all of you, alot of memories in south florida when it was safe.
Guest 14-Jan-2008 15:07
Okay I'll try again. Yes Pete, the sandwich in a basket was called the "Mighty Moe" and it sold for ninety cents at Hot Shoppes located at US1 and Bird Ave (Carter street in the Grove). Ask me about my escape from Hot Shoppes oddysey when I was locked inside the restaurant.
Don Boyd09-Jan-2008 20:39
That's about as large as the image is and it is at 72dpi. It's not really suitable for printing but you can print it yourself if you have a color printer and see you can get an acceptable print. If you don't have a color printer then maybe you could do it at Kinko's or a place with internet access, or save it to a CD, DVD, jump drive or CF card and take it to CVS and print it. Sorry, but virtually all the images on this site are that way - small and not really suitable for printing. Don
Patrice Erickson 09-Jan-2008 18:13
Thank You Don... I told my mom about this picture and she would very much like to see it. Could you please tell me how I can obtain a copy for her? I would like to frame it and get it to her by her 77th birthday February 16th. She is an amazing person ... she went on to own her own Trucking Business and also drove the semi's cross-country herself for 20 years. Thank you so much for your addition of her name.
Peter Adamack 29-Dec-2007 12:00
As I recall, only we Stingerees were even permitted in the Parking lot. Friday and Saturday nights were spent going back and forth between Hot Shoppes and "the Wheel". Does anyone remember the name of the specialty sandwich served in a basket?
Don Boyd20-Dec-2007 03:59
That is pretty amazing, Patrice, that you found your mom in the photo. I added her name to the title under the photo. Don
Patrice Erickson 19-Dec-2007 20:17
This is too cool... Just found this site my mom was a carhop at this Paleys Big Wheel and this is her in your picture .Her Name then was Maybelle Erickson . She is 76 now and I am going to print this out for her to see .
Ellen 13-Oct-2007 00:04
When I was eight I had my first taste of pizza there. A high school boyfriend and I went there after the movie every Saturday night and split their fabulous onion rings dipped in ketchup!
Shapiro 24-Aug-2007 03:08
We would hitchhike to Paley's from the Boys Club in the mid 60's for a cherry coke and a basket of fries. My older brother would take dates there or to Pizza Palace in his two tone 57 fairlane, it was great.
Jeff 11-Aug-2007 04:43
Paley's Big Wheel was owned by Bernard and Seymour Paley. They also purchased the Car Hop Drive-In at 57th and West Flagler; later giving it the Big Wheel name.

After a falling out, the brothers tended to different restaurant ventures.

Bernie became the first Florida franchisee of Kentucky Fried Chicken and eventually operated nine locations... However, Col. Sanders was less than pleased to see the name "Paley's" larger than his on the restaurant signs, and customers began to refer to the eateries as "Paley's Fried Chicken", further irritating the Kentucky entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, Seymour went into partnership with the late Ruby Hess in a brand-new drive-in built on 163rd Street in North Miami Beach. Originally called the Deep South Bar-B-Q, Hess backed out six months into the operation.

Seymour Paley was going to rename the restaurant "Corey's", but after discovering that there was a Corey's Coffee Shop in Coral Gables, the name was changed to Corky's.

It wasn't too long until curb service was discontinued. The restaurant evolved into a sit-down dining spot offering a wide manu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items and gaining fame for its potato pancakes.

After about 40 years of operation in the same location, Seymour Paley relocated the restaurant to Broward County in the 1990's.