Billy Burger - Wilbur, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 47° 45.451 W 118° 41.934
11T E 372678 N 5290746
Quick Description: On the east end of town, Billy Burger is about the first establishment one will encountering the town from that direction. It has been serving up great burgers since about 1955.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 1/15/2019 12:57:00 AM
Waymark Code: WMZWQE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wayfrog
Views: 1

Long Description:
On arriving at Wilbur I was getting hungry and thought that, at the very least, I could get some pix of the nice neon sign out front and maybe even try a burger. I am glad I did! The neon sign has been standing out front of Billy Burger for over 60 years now and, according to the grandson of the founder, was the very first neon sign to light up the night sky of the Town of Wilbur. Not only does the sign advertise the name of the place, it contains what we may imagine is the likeness of two year old Billy Bell, the namesake of Billy Burger.

While mulling over the menu I asked both the lady at the grill and the lady behind the counter what they would recommend. I received the same reply from each. Unwilling to fly in the face of tradition, and sage advice, I opted for the recommended Billy Burger - double burger with swiss and all the fixin's - lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and relish, and probably more that I've forgotten. It is one FINE BURGER, far and away the best I gobbled down on this trip! It's not the best burger I will ever have (that takes place in Calgary), but it's well up near the top!

Open every day from 11 to 7, Billy Burger is a lot more than just a burger joint, offering salads, nachos, tacos, burritos, fries, chichen baskets, seafood (fish, shrimp or clams & chips), sandwiches, wraps, soft drinks and ice cream delights such as malts, floats and shakes. One can even get a big blob of just ice cream in a cup or perched atop a cone. Inside are a half dozen tables for those who prefer NOT to eat and run.

Below is a history of the joint, by someone who should know, the grandson of the founder and son of Billy Burger's namesake.

History of the Billy Burger
My Dad is Billy Bell, the "Billy" in the Billy Burger... This story was relayed to me via my Grandma Alice Bell.

My Grandpa, Willis (Bill) Orson Bell (I'll call him Willis in this review to avoid confusion), built the restaurant in the mid-1950s on the lot he and his wife, Alice, owned next to their motel, the 8-Bar B... He named it the "Billy Burger" after Dad, and the neon sign you see there today was designed by Grandpa Bell, and the first neon sign in the town of Wilbur. Dad (Billy) was born in '53, so I think G'pa Bell built the drive-in in 1955. The Bell's also owned and operated "Ma's Cafe'" in downtown Wilbur. The Billy Burger was built for two reasons, which I'll explain:

During the '50's, burgers became all the rage, as drive-in's, and burger joints gained in popularity, and the younger crowd, and some of the older lunch crowds demanded burgers. Willis was the cook in the kitchen at "Ma's" (named after his "Ma", Mrs. Blanche Antoinette Bordeau Bell, whom he built the restaurant for, (She lost interest and Bill and Alice took it over), Willis had a hearty dislike for the mess the frying burgers created in his kitchen, as well as the grease clogging up the antiquated plumbing system of the old building the restaurant was situated in.

His eldest son, Gary William Bell, was about 16 at this time, and Willis needed to keep Gary busy, as Gary was often out creating trouble, or tomfoolery. He made Gary the chief cook and bottle washer. Gary worked very hard there till his graduation from Wilbur High School.

Bill and Alice sold the drive - in eventually, to whom I don't recall any more. As a kid, I was always given a $1 to get an ice-cream cone by my Grandma Alice. In those days, Jerry and Anita Baird ran the drive-in. If I didn't have any money, or was short, Jerry would just give me the ice cream, and many times, I would show up wo money. He was VERY gracious to me, and the Bells.

The Jerry Clarks run the "Billy Burger" now, and if you haven't been there yet, you need to put it on your bucket list. If you live in Spokane, make it a day-trip to go to Grand Coulee Dam, or Lake Roosevelt, and have either lunch or dinner at The "Billy Burger". You will be glad you made the trip.
My best,
~Willie Bell
From Trip Advisor

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Business Name: Billy Burger

Business Type: Restaurant/Diner

Physical Address:
804 NE Main Avenue
Wilbur, WA USA

Web Address: [Web Link]

Condition of Neon Sign: Fully Working Order: Best viewed at night in its full glory!

Visit Instructions:
Please upload a day & night photo of the sign if possible and tell us about its current condition. Is the neon working? How is the paint wearing?
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