Bill Johnson's Big Apple

3757 E Van Buren St
Phoenix, AZ 85034, US

Category: Restaurants

Used in the following map:

Van Buren

A long-time Arizona institution and a Van Buren survivor. In 1955 Bill Johnson and family moved to the Arizona desert. He bought a piece of land on Van Buren "where the pavement ends and the Old West begins." The Big Apple at that time was the last outpost of civilization on the road to Tempe. It also had many famous guests, including locals Waylon Jennings, Marty Robbins and Wayne Newton. Out of state folks such as Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and many more would come in for a meal when in Phoenix. Wallace and Ladmo, Barry Goldwater and other politicians were regulars, too. As a kid, I always thought it was a really cool place because of the sawdust on the floor and especially because the waitresses packed a six-shooter on the hip. Another reader remembers pushing the button to make the pig turn on the rotisserie (above the entrance). It was, it is, a great restaurant. Here is a link to the restaurant's site: As Bill says, Let's eat! Update: I once came across a Bill Johnson's Restaurant with a 3149 address in a 1950s phone book. What is that about? Was there an earlier building down the street? Was it a typo? I have an answer: Jim R at the Big Apple says: Bill Johnson 1st opened the Belle Starr Restaurant at that location in 1961 but changed to El Diablo Mexican food in 1963 which was there until 1985.


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