Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Review: Bill's Inn Fish Fry

Name: Bill's Inn Fish Fry
Address: 401 W Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, NY
Neighborhood: South Valley
Website: www.billsinn.com
Menu: View Menu
Cuisine: Seafood, Traditional American, Deli
Restaurant Hours: Monday to Thursday 10:30 AM - 9 PM, Friday 10:30 AM - 10 PM, Saturday 11:30 AM - 8 PM
Parking: Private Lot
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Take-out: Yes

Since its old location on Salina Street to its current location on West Seneca Turnpike, Bill's Inn Fish Fry has been providing fried fish to Syracusans since 1927. Located in the South Valley, Bill's is the city's first and oldest fish fry and has been in operation for over 80 years.

The building itself is right on the corner of Seneca Turnpike and Valley Drive at the Turnpike Center shopping plaza. There's parking spots out front and some tables set up outside which makes it easy for carry-out or enjoying a meal outdoors. For the most part, it's a family-friendly environment - especially with Gannon's Isle right around the corner. It seems like a great spot to grab dinner and then head over for ice cream afterwards.

The interior is decent - cramped, but not uncomfortable. It's pretty much what you would expect from a fish fry: a few tables, random neighborhood happenings and pictures adorning the walls, a giant menu over the counter, and the deep fryers in plain sight.

The menu at Bill's is completely mouth-watering and includes items like shrimp cocktail, calamari, chili, loaded fries, fried oysters, scallops, lobster tail, homemade desserts, and their self-proclaimed 1/2 pound burger. As much as I wanted to try everything on the menu, I had to go with something traditional...

The order...

Chocolate Milk: $1.50
Haddock Sandwich w/ Fries: $6.25
Total Money Spent with Tax & Tip: $10

The Haddock sandwich was pretty good. The fish wasn't as tender as I would have liked it, but the breading was light and crunchy (they fry their seafood here in peanut oil which I think gave it that light taste - it was a nice change from the ordinary). The bun was slightly grilled and airy. Overall, it was a good sandwich. It didn't taste greasy or heavy which was a nice surprise. The fresh cut fries were tasty, but I thought they were a tad over-cooked as they had a little bit too much crunch. And it ain't fish and chips if you don't put malt vinegar on there. Bravo for Bill's having this available.

Overall, the fish dinner was good - a large portion and generally inexpensive. For the purposes of nostalgia, it was a really nice dining experience. I was here with my dad who grew up in the neighborhood in the early 50's, so I think it was nice for him to take a trip down memory lane with his youngest son. I'd go back to Bill's again and try some other food if I happen to be in the neighborhood. A lot of it sounded tasty on the menu. However, there's some other fish places in the city that I'd like to try out before returning here for one.

My rating of Bill's Inn Fish Fry:

Your rating of Bill's Inn Fish Fry:


Owen O'Neill said...

Bill's was one of the very best local fish fry joints back in the day when they were in an old white house on South Salina in front of Valley Plaza. That location and the original owners are gone as is their once spectacular potato salad.

The current operation hasn't impressed me. If the fish ain't good then what's the point? I don't care how good the breading is. I tried them last summer and had an experience similar to yours - good breading but the fish itself was a bit dry and lacking in flavor. Try any Fish Cove location or else CJ's on outer Teall Ave (Friday only for CJ's). Side dishes won't be too special at any of them but the fried haddock will be the real deal.

JoeBass123 said...

excellent. thanks for the info. i've been on a fish sandwich kick lately (after eating one from atlantic seafood in b'ville last week - which was probably one of the best haddock sandwiches that i've ever had).

bill's wasn't too bad. i appreciated it more for the purposes of nostalgia than for what it actually was. one taste of the haddock there was enough for me. i'm sure it isn't what it used to be back in the day. and what was most telling about that was the fact that i went on a thursday evening and there was nobody there. if you serve good haddock in a place this small, you should have a line of at least a few people during dinnertime. personally, i wouldn't rule it out for going there to try scallops, oysters and shrimp though.

good heads up on cj's. i'll have to head over there.

administrator said...

I tried this place when post standard made big deal out of getting kicked out of salina st. figured better try bfor its gone..fish wastn't that great...tried the new location once .Typical; large portions of mediocre food.This Syracuse tradition has had a bad effect on our restaurants! it becomes a derby contest of who serves the largest portions at lowest price.obviously you can't produce quality when you have to provide giant portions.Fish Fry needs good fish and that is expensive .Try these before you call me names; Sams chickenland westvale plaza,eddys sylvan beach,rudys oswego ny.Then go compare to dreadfull dougs ff .The 3 mentioned will a]not be biggest portion2]will not be cheapest... see if you think the extra $1 is worth it

JoeBass123 said...

excellent. thanks for the heads up.

went to rudy's a few weeks ago. i wasn't really impressed. perhaps it was just a fluke thing though. but i will make a note to check out sam's.