Like Cheers, Bill’s Café is a place where everyone knows your name. They also know what you like to eat, what your children are studying in school, and where you go on vacation. Much of the credit goes to chef Bill Salley, who works in a tiny kitchen that opens onto the dining room. He chats with people as they arrive, finds out a little about them, and introduces them around if it’s their first visit. He’s even been known to organize jaunts to Off the Hook Comedy Club with his customers in his spare time.
“My concept of hospitality is ‘great food, great tunes, and great friends,’” he says. The tunes are a collection of personal favorites with an emphasis on classic rock: The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd. Much like the music, the food is pure comfort fare. Bill’s Café is open for breakfast and lunch, and half the clientele orders breakfast right up until the 3 p.m. closing.
The best seller is the famous BLT, and Salley says he sells nearly two dozen on a busy day. Thick slices of toast are slathered with homemade, seasoned mayo, topped with vine-ripe tomato, and finished off with nine slices (a half-pound) of bacon. “Everything is made from scratch, and my cooking is clean and fresh. Beyond that, it has the appeal of comfort food—it transports people back to childhood or to an earlier and simpler time.” (239-263-2600)