The old Bill's Grill in Searcy Arkansas left pleasant memories.

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Advantage

When folks went out to eat 45 or 50 years ago they went to Bill's Grill on East Race Street in Searcy Arkansas.  I found this old post card showing it as it was when it was so popular.  I remember going there when I arrived in Searcy in the late 60's.  They had a manager out there named Earnestine who made you feel so welcome.  She had a special dessert that was warm chocolate cake with chocolate syrup and ice cream.  Ummm!  If my memory is right, she became owner of the property.  Later she was a very successful manager of Searcy Country Club.

Note this tiny little two lane highway in front of the restaurant. 

Bill's Grill

Now the highway in front is a 5 lane "danger strip" and you take your life in your hands if you try to get a picture.  So I went to Googlemaps and found this one.  I think this is the current Bill's Grill appearance, named ChinaStar now.

 Bill's Grill



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Anita Fuller

I refuse to believe that tacky old China Star is my beloved Bill's Grill.  I have eaten many a meal at Bill's, both inside and outside (they had curb service at the back).  Best barbeques ever, also fried chicken.

My husband, Bob, when asked if he thought China Star was Bill's Grill in our day:  "I think Barbara is right".....Say it isn't so, Barbara.

Anita Fuller

Jan 30, 2010 03:24 AM #1
Harold Gene Sullivan

If I remember right, before Bill's Grill was relocated onto the "new" East Race estension, it was located out on old Hwy 67 near the MN&A tracks and the Rock Cafe we discussed some time back.

Does anyone else remember it being there?

Jan 30, 2010 04:38 AM #2
Billy Fuller

Sorry, Anita, I think Barbara is right....China Star now occupies the space that was once the famous Bill's Grill.  We used to eat at Bill's Grill some, but mainly we were Rendezvous people.  Bill's was "way out" on Race Street (practically out of town) and the Rendezvous was in town.  If you really wanted to go "out of town" you could go to The Pit, which was "way, way out" on Race Street.  Owned by Nick and Pat Rand, I think it was probably the first fast food place I knew about.  Now when I travel down Race Street I have a very hard time trying to figure out the exact location of The Pit and the Dixie Drive-In Theatre.  I always thought the Noble Motel and Bill's Grill were all part of the same business owned by Toby Noble....I'm sure the Searcy people will set me straight on that...that they were two different businesses owned by two different people.  Right, folks???  Hope everyone is enjoying the snow and ice.

Jan 30, 2010 04:59 AM #3
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Anita, I ain't saying it ain't so.....cause, remember I didn't grow up here.  When I came here, there was a banquet room added to the side of Bill's Grill and I remember a meal or two out there.  I also thought it was a part of Noble's Motel and someone already set me straight on that saying they were totally different.

Harold Gene, you really need someone earlier to remember back then.  The Rock Cafe was that little ugly thing still standing, wasn't it?

Billy, I do remember the Pit also.  I think it was noted for its fried chicken being so delicious and it was a drive in.  A funny thing occurred during the years since I've been in real estate.  Letain DeVore, famous real estate lady extraordinaire made a loan to some people to either buy the Pit or to run it or something.  They defaulted.  She went into the Pit and ran it for a long time in order to keep it going so she could sell and get her money back.  We realtors were happy to have her in there and hoped that her career in fast foods would satisfy her more than real estate and we'd be one less in competition.  LOL  She sold it and said it was the hardest work she'd ever had to do in her life.

Jan 30, 2010 05:59 AM #4
Ruth Vogt
Fairway Independent Mortgage, LLS. Equal Housing Opportunity. Regulated by the Division of Real Estate. - Colorado Springs, CO
719-592-0855 Apply 24/7

I love all the old cars parked in the parking lot! Obviously a very popular spot.

Jan 30, 2010 01:16 PM #5
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


Around here we have a few places that are decorated, or themed, to be old grills or diners.

Jan 30, 2010 02:13 PM #6
Anita Fuller

Gene:  I have no idea what you're thinking about....


Jan 30, 2010 11:09 PM #7
Don Thompson
Donthomp Associates - Sunnyvale, CA

Here's a pic of a Bill's Grill glass that was listed on eBay at some time.

Bill's Grill Glass

I think this pic shows the location Harold mentioned. The post card said the location was the corner of Hwy 67 and Hwy 64.

Bill's Grill at Corner Hwy 67 and Hwy 64

This map shows that location. I gnore the "A".


Jan 31, 2010 02:05 AM #8
Anita Fuller

Don's picture is the Bill's Grill of my high school days.   I think I see my car parked outside!

Aren't we glad Don is back and can embellish us with his pictures?


Jan 31, 2010 03:37 AM #9
Ludean Kidd

Looks like the first picture was made before Noble Motel was built.  The second picture shows Noble Motel. 

Toby Noble, along with 4 or 5 other men, owned Bill's at one time.  There were others who owned or leased the business, after Bill retired. 

Jan 31, 2010 10:06 AM #10
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

All the old places like that, that I remember from being a kid, are gone. There is one that still looks much the same, a drive in it was, now a doctors office.

Feb 01, 2010 03:03 PM #11
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

The map is of Beebe, not Searcy, isn't it Don. 

Ludean, thanks for the info.

Ruth, the old cars are neat.

Steven and all, I am not getting comments returned to me by email so be patient with me.  Activerain may be messed up again or I may be the only one.  Not sure yet.

Feb 01, 2010 11:38 PM #12
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

It's a shame that people didn't seem interested in saving anything in the 60's and 70's. Most governments seem intent on getting bigger, no matter what it does.

Feb 07, 2010 11:36 PM #13
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