Billy’s is a tried and true neighborhood beer and burger hangout where your get a lot for your dollar. While it features a kid’s menu for “kids of all ages,” the family-friendly atmosphere fades as the sun goes down and the place resumes its activities as a local watering hole. With a continually rotating tap selection, veggie hot dogs, daily food and beer specials, comfortable patio with picnic tables, game room with arcade games, dartboards and a pool table, and plenty of flat screen TVs playing the game, there is something for everyone. And more often than not, you can chat with Billy himself over a cold pint and basket of fried zucchini.
Start off with mouthwatering bone-in Buffalo wings, arguably some of the best in the city, or enjoy them as an entree. The naked wings themselves are large—a basket of ten will satisfy most appetites—and the sauce, ranging from mild to hot, is perfect in its simplicity. It has a dry heat, spicy enough to be exciting, but not uncomfortable; it strikes the right balance of peppery, tangy, and sweet; and the consistency is thick enough to stick to the wing, but it doesn’t distract from the flavor of the meat or end up all over your face and hands (unless you just don’t give a damn, in which case, do your wing thing).
There is a variety of burgers on the menu; most popular is the Uptown Burger, and for good reason. It’s topped with a trifecta of bacon marmalade, avocado, and bleu cheese. These three ingredients rank with such other classic Texas trios as ZZ-Top and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker: all work together so well precisely because they eschew flash, focusing instead on fundamentals and teamwork.* Not a bleu cheese fan? Try a Basic American Cheeseburger. Can’t decide between a burger and a Frito pie? The El Jefe Burger comes with a Frito pie on it. No matter which burger you choose, you can’t go wrong.
The one sandwich you mustn’t miss is the Reuben. Bulging from between slices of rye bread, toasted on a well-seasoned flattop until golden brown, is a hearty pile of corned beef, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese. And of course Thousand Island Dressing, for a Reuben without Thousand Island dressing is no Reuben at all. Served with Ruffles potato chips and a pickle spear, like everything else about Billy’s, the presentation lacks all pretension, but the execution is on the money.
A picnic table on Billy’s patio is where you want to relax on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the game on, the dog at your feet, and the pitcher full.
Notes: A vegetarian menu offers veggie alternatives to many sandwiches and other menu items. Wednesday night is trivia quiz night.