What Would You Do If Someone Just Gave You Country Bill’s?
Country Bill’s in Woodstock has been on the market for a while now and the price recently dropped to 925k (rustle that up from the change you find in the couch). We are confident that most who’ve heard about the...
Country Bill’s in Woodstock has been on the market for a while now and the price recently dropped to 925k (rustle that up from the change you find in the couch). We are confident that most who’ve heard about the offering have thought about making that funky wood-paneled red vinyl beauty their own, so we asked a few folks around town what they’d do if someone handed them the keys.
Country Bill’s is one of those places like Tad’s Chicken and Dumplings – a great retro space but if you stray past the onion rings you get a bit lost. I’d keep it the same, blast out the kitchen, keep a couple of menu items. You’d have to have some sort of steak on the menu, but it could be a chopped steak, a ham steak (laughs), but you’d have to keep the décor the same.
Kevin Gibson, EVOE
I would keep as much intact as possible – keep the name, keep serving steaks, make it more thematic, more country and have fun with it: servers in crazy costumes, themed cocktails, do a hipster Portland version of it. Unfortunately, it would be impossible for me to do a project like that. I can’t ethically serve steaks where I don’t know the farmer. I don’t serve commodity beef and that sort of prevents me from doing it… but still, if I did get the keys to that place, I’d probably try to find a guy named Bill with big hat to run the front of the house.
Naomi Pomeroy, BEAST
I would serve American Fare in the sense that I would want the food to be simple, and straightforward. I don’t want to do anything ironic – just serve honest food that’s not at all dependent on European ingredients. I would love to go run a restaurant where you don’t have to buy fancy oils, Parmesan, capers or white anchovies. There’s a book called The Taste of Country Cooking that references 18th century style cooking from the community of Freetown, Virginia…that type of cooking. If it doesn’t come from a farm, it’s not going to make it to a table, without specifically being a locavore thing. It would just come from working almost entirely from really simple ingredients: salt and butter. There’s not going to be any bottarga on the menu.
The interior needs some freshening up. There are some things that I would like to keep that lend a kind of legitimate 60s-ness about the place. I would want it to look put-together, but not that you’re walking into a time warp – you’d know that you’re walking into a modern restaurant. The only thing I’m really tied to is the red vinyl in those booths. . I’d want to put a nightclub in, something that’s small, has a few tables and features live music and figure out a way to do something with that huge dining room that’s not really getting used.
Alton Garcia, Broder/Savoy
Well, I haven’t seen the inside, but I’d love to turn park of their parking lot into year ‘round bocci courts. As for the rest of it, I’d give it a good scrubbing and leave it as is. As for the food, well, what if you make the restaurant a little more family friendly and go with a neighborhood saloon? Do good, simple food at fair prices, steak bites, shrimp cocktail and try to keep that bar space an old school dive bar: good whiskey, a beer and a shot kind of place. Maybe you could even have a European bent to the wine program – a red, a white, a pink, and then make that Basque red wine-and-Coke combination (kalimotxo) your signature drink.
Randy Goodman, Bar Avignon