By Kelly Baughman
Hailed as one of the best restaurants on the Gulf Coast, Bill’s By the Beach, located at 300 W Beach Blvd., offers cuisine as unique as its owner, Bill Henry. Henry, a former tax manager, advisor to President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the Republic of Kazakhstan, and an expert witness at the International Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the corporate world after he “suffered a bout of temporary insanity and decided to personally invest a small fortune in land, building, equipment and people to open and operate a restaurant”. And with that, Bill’s By the Beach was born in 2014.
Since then, Bill’s By the Beach was featured on Food Network’s Beach Eats USA with celebrity Chef Curtis Stone as one of the best beachside restaurants in the USA. Bill’s has also been listed as an Architectural Digest travel pick for Alabama’s best kept secret, and was mentioned in GQ Magazine as a must visit while visiting for Hangout Festival.
Q: What are some of the most popular items on your menu, and what would the locals say you “just have to try”?
BH: Most popular appetizers are the fried green tomatoes topped with shrimp sautéed in our house made garlic sweet chili sauce and tomato onion jam; and our seared tuna won ton nachos.
Our 3 most popular entrées are the Catch of the Day which features a 6 to 8 oz. filet of the daily fresh fish with a choice of 2 sides. The Catch of the Day feature changes daily. Our steaks offerings include a 4 oz. of 8 oz. filet mignon, a 14 oz. ribeye and a surf & turf option with a ribeye topped with shrimp. We also offer traditional steak house toppers including crab Oscar, a carpet bagger (3 fried oysters with Bienville sauce, and a crab cake topper. Finally, our blackened chicken Florentine fettuccini pasta dish is always in demand.
Q: What would you say is the overall theme of the menu? Local Seafood, upscale dining, laid back, southern, Cajun, etc.?
BH: Casual fine dining featuring coastal comfort cuisine from a scratch kitchen. We serve wild American shrimp and our catch of the day features only fresh Gulf Fish.
Q: Are there daily specials? Happy Hour specials?
BH: Daily specials include a featured fresh catch of the day of fresh Gulf Fish, and a soup of the day.
Happy hour is daily from 1 to 7 PM and includes $1 off Beer (Draft & Bottle); $1 off all spirits & call drinks; $4 glass of champagne; $3 House Bloody Mary; $3 House Margarita on the Rocks; $5 Moscato; $8 Bushwhacker; $5 house wine by the glass
Q: With all the awards and accolades, what makes Bill’s By the Beach stand out from the other Gulf Coast eateries?
BH: We make our own Bloody Mary mix from scratch. Our Bloody Mary has been recognized as one of the best Bloody Mary in Alabama by https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/alabama/best-bloody-mary-al/
Our burger has been recognized as one of the best burgers in Alabama by https://bestthingsal.com/burgers/
We have one of the best wine lists on the island and have earned the Wine Spectator Restaurant Award of Excellence.
Chef Rudy placed 6th in the 2017 World Food Championships Chef’s category with his shrimp & grits.