I have to admit I was pretty excited when I heard Buzzard Billy’s was coming back to town, although I couldn’t remember their food very well. Actually, my last real memory of the initial Buzzard Billy’s was their cheap can beer night where I drank my last Hamms beer. I don’t know if the Hams beer was just that memorable or if the food was forgettable, I am guessing it is not the later. Regardless of my memory, I know the Full Court Press team has a great track record of fantastic restaurants so hearing they were adding another to their list, the original restaurant to boot, really caught my attention.
It would have been pretty cool if the new Buzzard Billy’s were on Court Avenue like the initial spot, but I understand why they decided to move to the All Play location since it is just down the road from the Iowa Events Center. My visit to Billy’s was during the lunch rush so I have to assume most of diners were the usual lunch crowd rather than in town for a big event at the Events Center. Regardless of where the diners came from the lunch was packed at 11:40 when we got there. We had to wait for a short while when we arrived, but we were a table of 5 so we had to get a little larger table than the norm.
The new Billy’s is decked out with branding inside and out, complete with a new deck on the back side for dining. Inside all of the walls have been covered with wood, the place really looks a lot different than the last restaurant concept at that location. After our short wait we were taken to one of the new booths, I say new because I can’t remember them in the previous concept, that line the east wall. I slid to the middle of the booth, which I thought was an ideal position for seeing the restaurant, but unfortunately I had to jar my head to the left to see the nearest TV. I think that is the biggest change that I can remember from the previous Billy’s installment, this incarnation is more sports-bar than the first. I know a lot of the TV’s carried over from the previous restaurant, but Billy’s wisely kept them to attract the convention crowd.
Maybe the reason why I don’t have a fond recollection of the Billy’s food is I have a wimpy pallet. There, I said it. I was nearly set on getting the Ragin’ Cajun, yet after I read that it had Jalapeno Muenster Cheese, Jalapeno Bacon, AND served on a Jalapeno Bun, I wimped out. I settled on the Cajun Club Sandwich. Hey! It is Cajun! Well, actually the Cajun was just a spice they added to the pretty typical Club Sandwich, but it had Jalapeno Bacon as well so there was a little bite to it. I didn’t feel that bad as a few of my co-workers decided on getting a House Salad with Cheese Sticks, obviously their pallets were more wimpy than mine. The other two got the Jamaican Jerk sandwich and the Bourbon Street Chicken . The Jerk was well received, it included the fresh chicken breast that was marinated and covered with a sweet fiery jerk rub and a Jalapeno Bun. The chicken included a chicken breast that was marinated with the Billy’s sweet and tangy recipe grilled on a fresh roll. I probably could have eaten either sandwich and not been such a wimp.
Billy’s menu ranges from the sandwiches we tried above, and the house salad, to Gator Fingers and Armadillo Eggs on the appetizer menu to Crawfish Fettuccine Alfredeaux and The Bayou Platter on the dinner menu. Truly, if you have a more adventuresome pallet than I do you need to try Buzzard Billy’s.
After all, why would you want to eat at a chain when you can eat at Buzzard Billy’s?