Massive flames destroy family-owned bar & restaurant in Tonopah

Employees and a former owner of a Tonopah restaurant are heartbroken after it went up in flames overnight.
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 5:56 AM MST
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TONOPAH, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A popular family bar and grill restaurant in the far West Valley was destroyed after a massive fire broke out early Wednesday morning.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, just after midnight, deputies responded to the Tin Top Bar and Grill near Wintersburg Road and Salome Highway. When crews arrived, flames were shooting out of the building. Even with firefighting efforts underway moments after the first spark, the restaurant was a total loss. Deputies said no injuries were reported, but one person was evaluated for difficulty breathing. At this time, it’s unknown what started the fire but leaking propane tanks made it harder to put out the flames.

“This is my home; this has been my home for over 20 years. I love this place, I still come and visit,” one former waitress told Arizona’s Family. “Hopefully we rebuild, we’re all going to try and help and rally together.”

In a social media post, Tin Top Bar and Grill said, “It is with a heavy heart that we are confirming that our beloved Tin Top Bar and Grill has burned down Tuesday evening. Nobody was physically hurt. Thank you all for your kind words and support during this hard time.”

The Tin Top had been around for well over 30 years and was known to serve locals, travelers, and workers in the area. It’s also a prime stop for motorcycle enthusiasts. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the restaurant workers who are now without a job.

“It’s a really sad time for the whole community,” said Krystee Carey, the Tin Top Bar & Grill manager. “I just have this horrible guilt feeling because I was the last one there. I know there was nothing I could have done but we are all like family.” The news also hit hard for the restaurant’s original owner. “It was upsetting but it also made me sick to my stomach because it’s gone,” said Laura Hansen, who founded Tin Top back in 2002 in her hometown.

When Hansen built it, she never expected it to become the community hub it was known for today. “It had already become this meeting place. People had birthday, they had weddings there,” she said. While Hansen eventually sold the business in the mid-2000s and moved to open more restaurants in the Valley, Tin Top still holds a special place in her heart, which made the sight of its smoldering ashes all the more difficult to see. “Even though we have our memories and we have photographs; the things you did, the pieces of wood you touched and put into place, the jukebox, the light fixtures, the booth I helped build, and the bar, there are so many memories of the fun times,” she said.