Billy’s Bar-B-Q has been a Lexington institution since 1978. They are located on a heavily traveled piece of road in Chevy Chase and are popular for eat-in and take-out including large orders for catering and tailgating.
We are regular Billy’s go-ers. Not only are we close by but the food is always good. There is plenty of seating inside at a table or at the bar and a covered patio outside in which to enjoy the nice weather. The inside is decorated with a lot of pictures and posters and a few animals hanging around. My son especially liked the hammerhead shark that was suspended over the door leading to the bathrooms and patio. The pictures look like yard sale leftovers with the goal of covering the wall. The booths are in bad need of replacement as many are ripped and lumpy. There are mood setting string lights but I’ve never actually seen them on.
As this is a barbecue place, the food is what you would expect. We usually get onion rings as an appetizer (appeteaser in Billy’s-speak). The serving is a nice heap of onions breaded with a bit of black pepper. They are nicely fried until crispy. These are delicious and highly recommended. Don’t delay in eating them though because they lose their crisp pretty quickly. The mushrooms are ok, nothing special. I’m not sure if they are made in-house like the onion rings.
I usually go for a dinner platter of pulled and chopped beef brisket. It comes with two sides and cornbread or Texas toast. If you go this route, I highly recommend trying the Mexican cornbread. Light on the heat but full on the flavor, it is one of my favorite menu items. It’s $.75 extra but worth it. The brisket, pork, mutton, and ribs are cooked on the smoker to the left of the building. For 10 hours, that brisket sits and soaks up heat and smoke until the meat is falling apart. The closeness leaves a lovely hickory smell in the air and draws people in. I have not tried the ribs or the mutton (my plan for the next visit) but can recommend the pulled pork and brisket.
The last trip there, we got sandwiches which come in two sizes, 2 ounce and 4 ounce. I was worried getting the 2 ounce sandwich that it would just be a little bit of meat and not enough to make me happy but I was surprised that this little portion goes such a long way. The simple bun was a good match for the amount of meat and the sandwich was not overwhelmed with bread. The soft chopped beef was delicious delivered in this manner.
On the table are sauces including a sweet mild and a spicy hot. Neither is really necessary except to add a little extra flavor as the meat is still juicy even after the half-day meeting with heat.
For sides, I’ve tried the cole slaw, potato salad, onion rings, french fries, new potatoes, and cheese grits. I love the slaw although it’s a little wet. The new potatoes are my second favorite, boiled and served with butter. Make yourself happy and add a little salt. The french fries are served without any seasoning which severly limits their ability to be enjoyed (salt and other herbs/spices should be added when the fried food is fresh from the frier to allow adhesion).
Other foods are offered including salads, soups, catfish, pork tenderloin, tuna salad, and chicken strips but if you are going to a barbacue place, enjoy the specialty!
The price of a 2 oz brisket sandwich and a side of potato salad is $6.98 plus tax and tip. Not a bad price for a filling lunch. Kid’s menu is available as is chocolate milk (if your kid is like mine, that’s important!).
If you are interested in a large quantity for tailgating, call ahead to have it prepped, especially on game day. They also do catering and large events.
Billy’s is on the far other side from pretentious. The food is great and the service is decent. Don’t get bogged down in the look of the place, just focus on that tasty piled barbecue in front of you.