And then there was one.
As of last week only one location -- the original restaurant at 3757 East Van Buren -- remains of what was once a five restaurant mini-chain of Bill Johnson's Big Apple restaurants. The second to the last restaurant, which was located at 950 E. Main Street, closed last Monday. The news comes less than a month after the northwest Phoenix location of the restaurant closed in April.
The original Bill Johnson's Big Apple was opened in 1956 by cowboy/radio personality/stuntman/actor Bill Johnson, who used to broadcast a radio show from inside the restaurant. He hosted a rotation of celebrities on the show and in the dining room, including Wayne Newton, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings.
At one point, there were a total of five restaurants open all over the Valley but since the company filed for bankruptcy in 2011 the number has slowly dwindled down to one.
When the north Phoenix location of the restaurant closed earlier this year, much of the memorabilia from the restaurant was sold at auction. This Friday, June 13 a second online auction will begin with additional memorabilia and items (antiques, furniture, restaurant equipment) to be up for grabs. The auction will end on Wednesday, June 18th with a preview to be held on Tuesday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 6502 N. 27th Ave, Phoenix.
No word yet on whether or not there will be an auction for the memorabilia and equipment from the Mesa location. Stay tuned for more information as we get it.