Johnny’s Round Top

Big Spring

Johnny’s Round Top cafe had a colorful history that spanned more than fifty years before the restaurant went out of business in 1989. Built by a franchiser who was partial to rotating roofs that looked like circus tents, the Round Top in Big Spring was one of a modest chain of West Texas eateries that numbered either three or five, depending on who you talk to. Opal Tibbets and her husband, Johnny, bought the restaurant on old Texas Highway 87 in 1947. With its brightly painted roof strung with lights, the Round Top soon established itself as the town hot spot for chicken-fried steaks and hamburgers. But one night things go too hot—when lightning struck the roof. The Round Top burned, and though the business reopened once the roof was repaired, the top never turned again. Opal, who retired in 1989, says, “Most of our old clients are dead or moved away, and I just wasn’t going to put up with the younger generation.”

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