Bachelor's Pad

Cheese steaks and French dips for picky junk-food eaters.


9456 35th Ave. SW. 938-0259

11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thurs.-Fri. ; noon-9 p.m. Sat., noon-6 p.m. Sun. THE OTHER NIGHT, I took four of my bachelor friends out to dinner. It's important to note that three of these four bachelors are what you would call finicky eaters: One of them subsists almost entirely on cheese pizza, another won't eat any cheese at all, and the third usually takes a bag of Doritos with him whenever he leaves the house—you know, just in case. But as it turns out, at Billy's Philly Steakhouse and Seafood, they've got something for everyone—even my friend with the permanent stain of nacho cheese dust on his fingers. Within minutes, rounds of burger dip sandwiches ($6.50), catfish fillets (served with hushpuppies for $7.25), chicken fingers ($5.95), cheese steaks ($5.95), and peach cobblers ($2.95) were ordered and delivered by a sassy little zinger of a waitress who reminded the bachelors and me of the estimable Shirl from TV's What's Happening? Meanwhile, her younger zinger-in-training colleague wasted not a second filling up (free of charge) the various glasses of orange soda, lemonade, and Coke on the red-and-white vinyl tablecloth- covered table. The entire experience was swift, painless, and, thanks to "Shirl," more than a little entertaining. But what of the food, you ask? What we're talking about here is, for the most part, frozen food that's been fried, grilled, and topped with cheese. The Burger Dip contains a humble, regular beef patty. The chicken is juicy, tender, and hot, but we're sure it was hard and frozen solid not 10 minutes ago. Nonetheless, I hear no complaints. Our Southern-born catfish-savvy bachelor approved of his not-too-spicy fillets and even Dorito Boy displayed real passion regarding his savory, green pepper-loaded Swiss-cheese steak sandwich as well as the crispy order of onion rings on the side. The peach cobbler was ridiculously sweet, gooey, and wonderful—it reminded me of the summer I spent in hot, swampy South Dallas, where no one fools around with dessert. A grown man can eat well for less than $10 and still have a few bucks to leave the waitress what she deserves. For those dining without companions, given the friendly staff, the counter/bar area would prove a pleasant place to take one's lonely bowl of seafood gumbo ($12.95). Additionally, everything arrives on tidily prepared plates, a simple-but-elegant blue-collar masterpiece. Who says crinkle fries don't deserve a sprig of parsley and an artfully-twisted orange slice?

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