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Charlotte Bell was born in Lexington, Nebraska in 1930. Her family moved to Oxnard, California in 1931, where she remained for her formative years.
In 1948 Charlotte married an oil field worker and moved to Ventura.
Charlotte's mother and father had been in the restaurant business and in 1966 Charlotte saw an ad in the Ventura Star for a restaurant opportunity called the Top Hat. Her parents, encouraged by Charlotte's faith and enthusiasm, bought the business and worked in it until 1970, when Charlotte's father became seriously ill. Charlotte was thirty-five years old when she started to take over the business while her mother nursed her father back to health. He never fully recovered and so the responsibility of the business remained with Charlotte until today.
Charlotte has two grown sons that worked at the Top Hat when they were in their teens and at one time Charlotte's three grandchildren all helped her behind the counter. Now Jack Bell, her thirty-five year old grandson has become her business partner. He and his wife Laura have two children, ages four and one year and four months.
Jack (shown left, click on images to enlarge) is enthusiastic and hopes to continue the business in years to come. There is a problem, however, in that the owner of the land where the Top Hat is located, is wishing to build condominiums in its place.
Regardless of what lies in the future for the Top Hat Burger Palace, we know she is adored and her memory will live long in the hearts of all who visit from near