It has been decades but it still seems like yesterday that I was going into the best Richmond bbq establishment, Bill’s Barbecue. It was my fathers favorite place to get a bbq sandwich and slaw with that special sauce and a limeade. Bill’s barbecue had a monopoly on barbecue for years in Richmond and they were innovative with the outdoor service with lights on, and a great limeade, it was the new fast food of the day and it was hip and it was good. So what happened over the years to make it fall into such a state? I mean only a few months ago I was ordering Bill’s in remote Centerville gas station out in Goochland and even ordering a few pies for a birthday party and bottles of that special sauce for Christmas presents. I knew they were in trouble when I found myself going down to WAWA after they opened down the street to get an italian sub for lunch and soon enough they closed that shop.
Let’s face it Bill’s needed a face lift. It seemed they were still stuck somewhere between the 70′s and the 30′s, the good ol days for them. If you look at barbecue today you have a huge resurgence in popularity. There are reality TV shows on chefs and barbecue competitions going on all over the state and the country. There are eager grill masters today who want to be known and get their own restaurant, show or book deal. It’s all over twitter, facebook and pinterest. Did Bill’s participate in any of these events? Did Bill’s have a social media campaign or a decent website? I mean the website is already down and they just announced the news. I felt the food remained consistent throughout and I actually like the fries and the burgers as well. The customer service was lacking and the appointment of the restaurants obviously needed a face lift to remain competitive. I am surprised that there isn’t a group of investors who would be willing to make the plunge and turn the ship around. Just look at the success of a few other Richmond bbq restaurants around town that have slowly eaten Bill’s business away. Just look at the turn-around McDonalds had as an example. I mean this pig could still fly with the right investment, menu revisions and training. A big thank you to the Richardson family for all the great years at Bill’s Barbecue.