Billy's Bar-B-Q

restaurant review of Billy's Bar-B-Q in Lexington KY,

Review guidelines:

1 Fork = I would rather eat dog food.
2 Forks = I would eat there if I was starving.
3 Forks = Not bad; someplace I would occasionally consider eating.
4 Forks = A good place to eat; I will put it into my rotation of places I dine frequently.
5 Forks = One of my all time favorites!

One caveat to note – I am allergic to fish and seafood, so if you are looking for those recommendations, you will have to consult someone else.

Because I have a daughter-in-law with Celiac and a really good friend who is Vegetarian, I will try to point out whether those options are present when I review a restaurant.

May 20, 2013 - Lunch

Billy’s Barbecue

101 Cochran Rd
Lexington, KY
(859) 269-9593
restaurant review of Billy's Bar-B-Q in Lexington KY,

The occasion was a weekday lunch because I was in the Chevy Chase area doing errands.  Billy’s is a Lexington icon.  In 1978, two guys with Western KY roots (where barbecue purists claim all good KY barbecue comes from) decided to bring barbecue to Lexington – opening Billy’s in the former location of a gas station in Chevy Chase.  Resplendent with pig d├ęcor, the facilities are largely unchanged from those early days.  Even the pit/smoker facilities outside are the same.  The menu has evolved over the years, however, adding a few extra sides, appetizers, and salads.  But the mainstay of their menu – the meat – is pretty much the same cooking process, flavor, and texture as when they opened in 1978.  I used to be a bigger fan of Billy’s than I am today.  Sometimes, evolution is a good thing.  As more chain and independent barbecue places have opened in the Lexington and Central KY area, I think Billy’s could evolve their offerings and flavor profiles a bit.  On the day I dined there, I ordered the Beef Brisket dinner which came with 2 sides and a bread choice.  Note – this was way too much food for lunch, thus ½ of the meal ended up in a take-out box.  The beef was tender and not too smoky – but, I will have to say that Billy’s needs some additional sauce choices.  There is a regular and a “spicy” both of which seemed thin with an uninteresting flavor.  For my sides, I ordered the baked beans and the garlic cheese grits.  The sides were the highlight of the meal.  The beans are thick, slightly sweet and smoky, with bits of onion and green pepper for interest.  The grits were some of the best outside of homemade – not runny – plenty of cheese and garlic. Finally, I substituted the Mexican Cornbread for standard Corn Bread or Texas Toast choice. The Mexican Cornbread was very good; again, as close to homemade as a restaurant can get. Billy’s offers all the standard barbecue fare: pulled pork, beef brisket, mutton, ribs (wet or dry), and chicken.Other obligatory offerings include burgers, a few non-barbecue sandwiches, a couple of salads, and nine different sides.  Billy’s is famous for their fried banana pepper appetizer and their onion rings.Service was a little slow, but I was there during the peak lunch rush.  Lunch was a pricey $17.89 including tax and tip – but there was a substantial amount of left-overs for later.  Just beware the portion sizes when ordering!

Due to the picnic nature of barbecue in general, Billy’s does a brisk take-out business as well as catering events.

Gluten Free Options – none advertised - although inquiries could be made about whether the meats contain MSG.

Vegetarian Options – don’t bother – even the salad has meat in it!

The parking lot is small, which can be an issue during peak lunch rush.  Patrons may have to hunt for a parking spot on the street.  For Billy’s Barbecue complete menu, (including take-out and catering) and hours of operation, visit their website:

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