BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
Although only opened for about a year now, Bill’s, nestled on the corner of 13th street and 9th Avenue, looks as if it has been serving up their sinful burgers for decades. The interior is cozy and divey, complete with red and blue checkered tablecloths, industrial looking lighting and kitschy murals on the walls. However divey this bar and restaurant may seem, it still manages to live up to the pressure of being hip due to its locale in the Meatpacking district. Young, attractive bartenders and waiters are the ones serving up your beer and burgers.
Part of the Bill’s allure is the increasingly popular alcoholic milkshakes that can also be spotted at the likes of Mel’s and BLT Burger (burgers and milkshakes, anyone?). The sickeningly sweet adult treats come in inventive flavors like the Campfire (made with toasted marshmallows) and the Toffee Coffee featuring Kahlua, Heath Bar, and butterscotch. Each will run you about $11.
I most recently came to Bill’s for a birthday dinner, and Bill’s happily accommodated the group of 10, which was a little large for the small space. We tried the famous disco fries ($4.50), topped with gravy and cheese and the sweet potato fries ($4.95) to start. Ten hungry girls gobbled them up quickly. The disco fries were the winner for me, the salty gravy soaking into the fries and the cheese adding another dimension of salty, gooey, goodness, but the sweet potato fries certainly had their fair share of fans also.
I kept my main simple, opting for the Bill’s Burger ($6.95) (a cheese burger with special sauce) and an order of the onion rings ($5.95) to share. The burger came out piping hot, dripping with juice. The special sauce added a hint of flavor and kick to the burger, and although I probably wouldn’t want to dip my fries in it, I would have missed it on the burger if it wasn’t there. I fell in love with the onion rings. Thinly sliced and beer battered, the tender, golden rings melted in my mouth and I found myself having trouble remembering to share.
I also had trouble remembering that Bill’s is a part of the B.R. Guest restaurant family. With glitzy counterparts like Ruby Foo’s and Blue Fin it was hard to imagine that the oh-so neighborhood-y Bill’s was owned by the same parent company. Bills’ second location in Rockefeller Center seems a bit more appropriate with a more contemporary feel, which just goes to show that B.R. Guest knows exactly what to do and where to do it.