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Tri-State Treasures: Big Top

As some famous circuses bring down their tents, one tri-state eatery is staying true to its circus theme. In the latest edition of Tri-state Treasures, 44News This Morning anchor Tommy Mason highlights a tri-state favorite for fried food and burgers.

Big Top Drive-In on Maryland Street has been the “go-to” for west siders looking to score delicious burgers and fried food favorites for almost 70 years.
Big Top Drive-In opened in 1948, with a menu of french fries, cheese burgers and ice cream.

Current owner Becky Hoffman bought the business in 1990, and continues to serve up the same style of food favorites. But as Hoffman explains, the fast food business is not new to her, or her family.

“My father owned Zesto on Riverside my entire life. He bought it in 1970, when I was about three. I was raised there. We were made to work there, Hoffman said, “we’d pick up the parking lot, and make soft drinks at like 10 years old.”

Her father raised 11 kids on the fast food income.

After Hoffman had a tough time choosing a career path for herself, she and her husband purchased the Big Top, from previous owner Bill Frank.

And just like the menu items and circus theme – an iconic mascot still stands proudly out front – a clown.

“Years ago the clown did wave. But within the time I’ve had it, the motor burned up. I forget it’s there a lot of times,” she said, “People come and take pictures with it and everything else. It still lights up, and its still the original clown.”

Her father passed along the Zesto business to her brother, but there is a sibling rivalry about who has the best burgers.

“I think we do. Just because were better. I just put the love into it.”

For that just add lettuce and tomatoes to your Big Top burger.

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