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Billy’s chosen best barbecue in Kansas PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 May 2017 11:47

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By ELLY GRIMM

• Leader & Times



“There is a little something for everyone at Billy’s inside Billy Ayr Lanes in Liberal. It might just be the best Kansas barbecue around which includes all the ‘Blue Duck specialties’ section on the menu. Good barbecue, good service, and when you get done eating, work your meal off bowling.”

This comes from the Best Things Kansas web site describing Billy’s Blue Duck BBQ/Ayr Lanes as the top barbecue joint in the state. The site also recently ranked Liberal’s Oasis Day Spa number five in its list of best spas. Overall, employee Kelly Hill said he was excited to hear about the recognition last week through Facebook. 

“There was a lot of excitement, of course, but we also wanted to see who else was on that list, and Kansas is known for barbecue,” Hill said. “And to see the restaurant there at number one, that’s a big wow, and there were some very prominent names that have a long history here in Kansas and a long history in barbecue. So to find ourselves at the top of that list was just amazing.”

The restaurant began 10 years ago and has won several awards and honors during its time in Liberal. This most recent honor, Hill said, validates the work that has been done in that time. 

“When we started the restaurant going on 10 years ago, we started because my dad had been good in barbecue for several years, and we’d done a lot of cooking, so we knew we had good product, and this helps validate what we’ve done throughout the past 10 years,” Hill said. “We were voted one of America’s best restaurants five years in a row, and then we were in the top 2 percent in 2014. We knew we had a good product, but to see your name as the top barbecue restaurant in the state of Kansas, and to be number one on this particular list, that’s awesome. There’s a lot of great barbecue here in Kansas, and it’s great to know we’re there at the top. It validates what my brother-in-law, Darrell (Woody), my sister, my dad, my mom, all of us as a family, and our employees. It validates us on a daily basis.”

Reviews of the restaurant on Facebook are also mostly positive.

“We had our daughter’s birthday party here,” a review from Hope Coffman Coen reads. “The kids had a blast! The improvements made are amazing! We’ll definitely come back, thank you!”

“Customer services (waitress) was great , the food,  drinks and the atmosphere was great!” another review from Huey Nelson reads. “I rate this restaurant the number 1 restaurant in the city hands down!!! Keep up the good work!”

“Thankful for Billy’s and the excellent customer service from Jay and the staff!” reads another review from Sharlene Salley. “We had a birthday party for one of our kiddos! You accommodated us and we are blessed! We appreciate you and the staff! Hugs!”

That positive word of mouth, according to Hill, is what has kept the restaurant in good shape since opening. 

“Your best advertisement is a referral and someone telling someone else to come to your restaurant. There’s a lot that goes into getting that referral, and once again, it goes down to our staff.” Hill said. “They’ve done a fantastic job with the public as far as treating them with hospitality and waiting on them and taking care of them, so there’s the great customer service. Then that relates back to our product, because if you have a great product but terrible customer service, you won’t have a very good business. Our staff is key to that, our cooks, our product has been fantastic. We’ve had our ups and downs, once in a while we’ll miss, but that just happens and there’s not anything you can really do about it. It also validates how we have consistently great product people come in time and time again for and then refer it to their friends no matter what they pick.”

All the recognition also gives some ideas for changes to the facilities and the menu, Hill added.

“One thing you’ll find is we’re always evolving here at the restaurant, there’s always new things. Just two weeks ago, we rolled out our hand-breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. They’re very popular, we hand-batter them and hand-bread them before we fry them, they’re fantastic,” Hill said. “We’re always looking for innovation, we’re always looking for new product. There’s a lot of things we can do not standard on our menu because the demand isn’t there, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. We’ve done everything from crab boils to crab legs on Valentine’s Day, to steak and lobster, to shrimp boils, oysters on the half shell on Fridays. We have a rather vast menu right now, but there’s always evolution, you have to have product the customers want. We’re always changing our menu, always making additions. It may not be on the menu, but it may show up on one of the specials boards. The best thing we can say is we have a very loyal following of repeat customers, and we like to have fresh offerings for them too.”

There are also some other projects and work going on at the restaurants (which Hill said he was unable to comment on at this time), and said he hopes the future goes as well as the past 10 years have gone.

“It’s amazing how this all started with a little blue duck, and it’s grown to what it is today,” Hill said. “These first 10 years have been very exciting and very good to us as a family and our business, and it’s been great to the community as well with the events we help with. We’re extremely excited about what the next 10 years will hold for us.”

 


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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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