Located at The Crossing in Champaign, Billy Barooz serves an array of food items that really appeal to any kind of food mood you are in. I was excited to try out this restaurant for the first time, and was extremely pleased with my experience there.
The moment I walked in, the atmosphere changed your mood to a perfect combination of excited, yet comfortable. The large seating area is spread out, so I don’t feel as if I was eating in a dining hall, but it was big enough so I didn’t overhear conversations either. The dim lighting was a nice touch for dinner time, and the bar was lit up for those interested in drinking and relaxing a bit. The TVs and decor kept my mind entertained while I waited to be served, but the best part was the superb food.
I felt like a little kid walking into Billy Barooz: there were tall ceilings with lights and fun pictures hanging on the walls. I found myself looking up and around the restaurant with intriguing eyes. We were seated in a booth off to the side and quickly assisted by our waitress. The first thing I noticed while glancing over the menu was the list of specials — it was packed with even more options than the traditional menu. I was left choosing between the fish tacos (listed as a special menu item) or a classic burger. Luckily, I was accompanied by my friend, and since she was going for the burger I went with the fish tacos.
I was not disappointed. The fish tacos were presented with so much vibrant color. The garnishing of cilantro, tomatoes, and peppers made it look so pretty I was hesitant to dive in… but that feel didn’t last long. I had paired my two tacos with sweet potato fries. They were crinkle shaped, which gave the texture a nice twist. Most people may think sweet potato fries and tacos are an odd combination, but I was not in the mood to pass up their fries that customers raved about. Now I could have easily saved one of the tacos to take home — the portions were very generous — but I was hungry and the plate was licked clean. Overall, it was pleasing to the eyes, but more importantly pleasing to my taste-buds.
My friend ordered the California Burger, which came topped with fresh avocado slices. She raved about the juicy burger and the soft bun. The toppings and meat were very generous. She got a side of French fries that she described as “crispy and thick.” We both had a great experience at Billy Barooz. The attentive service, fun ambiance, and delectable meal made it all the better.
Billy Barooz offers more than just a fun dinner for friends. Sports fans: wander no further for a home away from home for Sunday, Monday, and Thursday football games. They’ve got the food, the booze, and the screens to keep all 5 senses in full throttle. There is a plethora of screens to cater to whatever type of game or channel you choose without taking away screen time from the other customers. Billy Barooz is equipped with free wi-fi, so you won’t miss a beat when treating yourself here. And if your team wins, stay late and celebrate! They are open late every night, and even later on the weekend.
I have three letters for you meat lovers: B-B-Q. Billy Barooz customers brag about it regularly. The restaurant is also known for their gourmet burgers.
Billy Barooz has something for everyone. I was impressed with the decor of the restaurant and the service. There are plenty of options for meals, with seasonal specials throughout the year. My first experience was just that – a first. But I can tell you that it will not be my last.
Billy Barooz is located at 2521 Village Green Place, Champaign, and open Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
All photos by Lindsay Ryan.