Billy Boy's Restaurant in Chicago Ridge Celebrates 45 Years

Billy Boy's Restaurant in Chicago Ridge Celebrates 45 Years
Billy Boy's Restaurant in Chicago Ridge Celebrates 45 Years

**MAY 2021

The year was 1976... Rocky and Taxi Driver were huge box office hits while The Eagles released “Hotel California” and Boston was singing “More Than A Feeling.” America was also in the midst of proudly celebrating its bicentennial.

It was also the year Billy Boy’s restaurant first opened its doors at the busy corner of 95th street and Ridgeland Avenue in Chicago Ridge. Well, it wasn’t so busy back then as the Chicago Ridge Mall hadn’t yet existed and the only businesses nearby included a go cart track and the Starlight Drive-in theater. If you wanted to drive east or west on 95th street, you had your choice of one lane in either direction.

Today, drivers on the bustling street can easily identify the distinct Billy Boy’s sign welcoming customers with messages that include “Best Gyros, Burgers, BBQ Ribs" and more. And based on
comments we found on social media, happy visitors couldn’t agree more that the food and service at Billy Boy’s far exceeds those of similar restaurants in the Oak Lawn area.

Freshly sliced gyros is the main attraction along with fall-off-the-bone barbecued ribs smothered in Billy Boy’s signature sauce. Other favorites include Billy Boy’s famous chicken sandwiches and
wraps, black angus burgers, crisp salads, fried shrimp, pure beef hot dogs and Greek chicken. A very diverse menu also features pulled pork, bbq beef, super tacos and various appetizers. Billy Boy’s even serves Saganaki bites, a smaller unique take on the classic Greek cheese appetizer.

For Billy himself, the journey began while working for his family as he slowly learned the restaurant business from the ground up. Billy says, “My parents and uncles immigrated from Greece with a strong work ethic and a desire to open a restaurant where people could feel right at home while enjoying great food. I still remember mopping floors and filling pop machines as a kid while Dad made the rounds to see if customers were happy.” That spirit of hospitality is not lost on Billy who today says the friendships developed over the years with so many loyal customers is the most fulfilling aspect of running the restaurant. It’s not uncommon for Billy and staff to serve the same friendly faces several times a week, all thanks to a loyal crew that has served faithfully for decades, including brothers Luis and Chuck (20 years), Tino (15 years), Leo (20 years) and Jose (35 years).

Some noteworthy visitors include members of the Chicago based rock band Styx, who would frequent Billy Boy’s in the 80’s during recording stints at the nearby Pumpkin Studios in Oak Lawn. Over the years, guests have also included local politicians and police officers who continue to be loyal customers today. Their loyalty is a reflection of the patriotism that has shined brightly at the restaurant since its earliest days. Billy and staff are regularly involved with supporting law enforcement, community events and other local outreach efforts that continue to make a difference in people’s lives. How fitting that opening day for this restaurant occurred during America’s bicentennial celebration.

A neighborhood tradition since 1976, the popular eatery continues to thrive on its reputation for providing fast, quality meals in a relaxed and friendly setting. The dining area was completely renovated in 2019 offering clean, modern updates that perfectly complement the unassuming image of the restaurant. Indoor dining and carryouts are available six days a week (closed Mondays) while their adjacent liquor department is fully stocked with brand name beers, wines and liquors. Soda, snacks, lottery tickets and video gaming is also available.

Today, the entire staff at Billy Boy’s invites you to get a taste of the dedication and commitment that still drives the family-owned restaurant. And since 1976, it's a vision that guests still appreciate deep down in their bones, especially when it comes to those ribs.