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  • News Channel 312

    Hundreds lineup for hours to celebrate reopening of iconic Santa Maria takeout restaurant

    By Dave Alley,

    Bill's Take Out restaurant reopens in Santa Maria on June 11, 2024. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

    SANTA MARIA, Calif. – After a three-year closure, a historic Santa Maria takeout restaurant re-opened with great anticipation Tuesday morning.

    Bill's Take Out, a popular hamburger stand on North Broadway, has been closed the past three years following the deaths of its owners Salvador and Beatrice Barragan, followed by their son Roberto.

    Since then, the well-known building, which features a classic 1950's-era drive-in style architecture, has remained closed for business.

    Now three years later, Barragan's family is re-opening its windows once again, and is ready to serve its much-loved hamburgers and other classic fast food fare once again.

    "It is very special," said Monica Navarro, a cousin with the Barragan family. "This is our 50th year anniversary, so it's very special. We had to shut it for a couple years, but it all worked out. Everything's been refurbished and got a new team and the original recipes, so we're really looking forward to it."

    More than an hour before it opened at 10:30 a.m., customers were already lining up to place an order.

    By the time it opened, the line grew significantly, as people lined the sidewalk along Broadway, snaking deep into the back corner of the parking lot.

    "I don't blame all the people here waiting in line," said customer Isaiah Estrada. "My wife and I have been here for about an hour with our newborn son, but it's worth it because this is like a staple in the community, and we missed it, so it's worth the wait."

    As the day stretched on, the line never let up, with dozens of people at any given time waiting to get their first taste of Bill's since 2022.

    "I'm really excited," said customer Jacob Diaz.  "I drive by every morning and I'm always waiting for it to open. I always take this route and ask, when are you opening? Finally they are and I'm just happy!"

    By the late afternoon, some customers said they had been waiting for more than three hours, but everyone exercised patience knowing the family was working as hard and as quickly as they could to fill all the orders.

    "We are very amazed at all the people that are waiting," said Navarro.. "We are appreciative and very grateful. It's nice to see that people still remember us. They have memories here. Maybe family who worked here and family members bringing their children here, so everybody has a memory of a "Billy Burger," a deep fried burrito, shredded taco, the hangover menudo. Everybody has some type of memory to link here."

    For many in line, it was the lure of the restaurant's famous Billy Burger that was especially enticing and worth the extra wait.

    "I think it's the fact that it's just so simple," said Estrada. "Some burgers, you go to different restaurants and they're all big and pretty messy, but the Billy Burger, it's simple, it's delicious, and it's pretty affordable, so we love it."

    Bill's Take Out has been a favorite dining destination since it first opened at the corner of North Broadway and West El Camino Street in 1974.

    It's distinct red-and-white building has been named “Object of Historical Merit Award” by the City of Santa Maria Landmark Committee.

    "They don't make them like this anymore," said customer Gil Chavarria. "I've been going here for 50 years. Me and my family, we all, we all love it. The food's really good and the people are really nice. My friends and I in the 70s and 80s used to cruise and this is one of the stops we'd stop by and get our Billy Burger fix and continue on the cruise, so it's really cool."

    Bill's Take Out opens on the weekdays at 10:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. on weekends.

    "Be patient and thank you," said Navarro. "We appreciate it and enjoy!"

    The post Hundreds lineup for hours to celebrate reopening of iconic Santa Maria takeout restaurant appeared first on News Channel 3-12 .

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