Last Bill Johnson's Big Apple Restaurant closing Sunday

PHOENIX - It's been a rough few months for iconic Valley restaurants. Several have closed down and now one more is shutting its doors.

After 59 years in business, the original and last of six locations for Bill Johnson's Big Apple, will be closing its 38th Street and Van Buren location this Sunday.

If you've ever been there, stepping inside is like taking a step back in time.

“We're still part of the Old West, even though you don't see so many cowboys hats and boots around Phoenix anymore, we're still Western. The girls still wear their gun belt and holsters and we still have the sawdust on the floor,” said manager Jim Novack.

Due to bankruptcy, this final closure was hard to avoid.

The restaurant will eventually turn into a parking lot for Gateway Community College and everything inside will be auctioned off.

As a parting gift, they gave ABC15 a pair of secret recipes to share with you:

Gene's Cinnamon French Dressing

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce vinegar
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 ounces sugar
  • 1 large pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. hot mustard
  • 1 pinch paprika

YIELDS A QUART: Combine all wet ingredients into one container, combine all dry ingredients into another container - mix well. Slowly add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well until blended. Empty into holding container and refrigerate.


  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sweet relish
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 large pinch hot mustard (powder)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (powder)
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • 4 ounces of sugar
  • 1 large pinch black pepper

YIELDS A QUART: Combine ketchup, relish and mayonnaise - mix thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Empty into container and refrigerate.





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