Once upon a time, in rural Duluth, there was the Idle Hour Inn. My family used to hit it up in the winter, with some of my parent’s friends, usually after skiing or hayrides. The building is still there, a gaggle of owners since, in its current incantation, it’s “Billy’s.” I don’t have a clear memory of whether or not the Idle Hour had a full bar back in the day, or was, what we call in Minnesota, a “tavern”, selling only 3.2 beer. 3.2 is a reduced alcohol beer (less alcohol than most “lite” beers), and several states allow its sale in limited serve establishments and groceries. In those states, liquor and “strong beer” are sold in regulated retail outlets.
Today, the bar is fully-stocked, and the menus include bar favorites, including specialty burgers and a wide-variety of fried sides. Billy’s special burger choices include the Western (bacon, cheese, bbq sauce, onion ring); a cashew Swiss burger; a deep-fried pepper cheese burger; and a chili cheese burger. Monday nites, burgers are half price.
Prices run from 6.50 – 8.95, served with a side of chips. Side upgrades for an additional cost include fries, rings, tots, buffalo or steak fries.
Kawika and the Minnesota Burger posse checked out Billy’s, they reported the burgers and sides freshly prepared, tasty, with affable service.
Also on the menu? Steaks, chops, seafood, ribs.
You’ll note on the exterior sign a reference to “On/Off Sale”. Another Minnesota quirk. It means you can drink there or purchase bottles to go.
(All photographs @ Kawikamedia).