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“RIP Bill's - Now just a memory.”
Review of Bill's Barbecue - CLOSED

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Bill's Barbecue
Cuisines: Barbecue
Restaurant details
Central Virginia
Level Contributor
104 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“RIP Bill's - Now just a memory.”
Reviewed 14 March 2013

Bills made its name with minced BBQ sandwiches and "peak of flavor pies". Although an institution in Richmond it never modernized. Still looked like a 1950s drive inn. That was why it was so good and also why it eventually failed. Places like Texas Road House for atmosphere or Buzz&nedd's BBQ for REAL food caused its demise. Memories are probably better than the food ever was.

Visited May 2012
3 Thank Traveller_Jr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

16 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sussex, NJ
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Childhood Favorite”
Reviewed 11 June 2012

My Dad always brought us here when we visited the grandparents (50 years ago) and we loved it. Have to have it whenever we are (rarely) in Richmond. I'm sure there is better BBQ, but I just enjoy the "memory lane" aspect of this place--and I do enjoy the minced pork BBQ and a limeade, thank you very much.

Visited June 2012
1 Thank susan w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Amazing, IF....”
Reviewed 30 April 2012

Bill's Barbeque is a Richmond Legend. Their name is known by everyone, some of their employees have worked their longer than i've been alive, and they're even listed on the tacky, yet brilliant "Richmondopoly" (our city's version of the famous game). Unfortunately, even though Bill's usually hits the spot, it only does so IF the right person is working, and IF you go to the right location.

Now, of course, their food, in general, is amazing. And i'm not just saying that because i'm a local, either. I've tried a lot of barbeque joints in some of the big-named places, and Bill's Barbeque is right up there with them.

Their limeade is TO DIE for. But here's the thing- you've got to get it made by the right person. Nowadays, I normally frequent the location on Midlothian Turnpike near the Carpool and the Best Western Plus. They normally put enough soda water in it (some places don't), but most of the time they never EVER put enough sugar syrup, so I always have to ask them to put more. In my opinion, the location that's always had the best limeade has been the one in 360 West shopping center. But to be honest, i'm not even sure if that one's there anymore. I moved away from that neighborhood awhile ago, and I haven't gone to it since due to distance. But if it's still there, definitely make a stop. The one on Boulevard usually has okay limeade, and it's not the worst you've had, but it probably won't be the best. And the time I went to the location off of West Broad (or somewhere near there) I think I remember the limeade being okay. But when in doubt, ask the staff to get their best limeade maker to do it for you, or ask for the person who's been working there the longest. It may sound petty, but I don't want a first-timer to drive all the way out there and be dissapointed, so it's better to ask for it decent the first time then to have them remake it. But it really is THAT good. Between the sweetness, the tanginess, and the crunchy ice, it totally hits the spot.

Next, I want to talk about the hushpuppies. BEST HUSHPUPPIES EVER- HANDS DOWN!! And I normally don't eat hushpuppies with butter, but you have to make an exception for them, because they use this sweet honey butter stuff. Mmmmmm!!!

And of course, the barbeque. Now, i'm one of those people that says "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". So even though i've been going there for what feels like eons, that is the only main dish i've ever tried. And yes, it is good. I don't even need sauce!! But i've always been fond of ketchup, so I sometimes use that. The only problem is that they use that cheap Hunt's brand, but oh well.

Last but not least, the pie. In particular, the sweet potato pie and the STRAWBERRY PIE. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Sweet strawberry filling on top of a flaky crust, covered in a thick layer of whipped cream. Oh. My. Goodness. And they already come in a container, so you can eat it on the go, or even buy a whole pie!

But you can't go there without getting a limeade, hushpuppies, and a strawberry pie. You just can't.

Besides the fact that their limeade's not consistent, the only other thing i'm not crazy over are the workers. Yes, some of them have been there 50+ years, and that's great. I'm not talking about them- i'm talking about some of the younger employees. Those are usually the ones that have bad attitudes (especially if you ask them to take 14 seconds out of texting on their phone to remake their crappy version of limeade). On top of that, some of them appear to be rather unsavory characters, if you know what I mean. But whatever- unsavory or not, just put the right amount of sugar in my limeade, give me a smile, say "thank you" or "you too" when I say "have a nice day", and we won't have a problem, you know?? That's all I ask.

Oh, and in case you're hygiene-obsessed, just a word to the wise: avoid eating and using the bathroom in most of the Richmond locations. I've had experiences where it was so nasty, it almost turned me off of my food. But don't let that scare you away- some of them are clean as a whistle.

And before I forget- their hours SUCK.

All in all, though, I got to love this place. It's great. You just got to go at the right time, and get the right people, at the right location.

  • Visited March 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank playingtheange1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marlboro, Vermont, United States
Level Contributor
19 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2012

Yep, the place is about barbecue, but I go for the limeade. Best limeade in Richmond. I get mine extra sweet and it's always delicious. The barbecue is good but I often find myself ordering a cheeseburger because they have a nice old time feel to them. Like I'm getting a burger from a drive up in 1955, which makes since given Bill's history as a drive up. When my dad used to take me to Bill's as a kid they still had car service and I thought that was the greatest thing ever. Bill's is an icon of Richmond, and I see people on here slagging it for being fast foody... well, that's what it is, and always has been. No one would give Wendy's a hard time for having a fast food feel, because they are fast food. A Richmond institution.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank David W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlotte, NC
Level Contributor
205 reviews
101 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Fast food chain and very average"”
Reviewed 5 April 2012

A fast food chain specializing in barbecue. We were hoping to try the ribs but they were not available. Everything was very average from the food to the service. We would not return. If you want barbecue in Richmond there have to be better options.

  • Visited April 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank rfenton231
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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