There are few restaurants in Kewaunee County where a patron can get a flavorful meal as well as a flavor of history. Located in downtown Luxemburg, Billy's on Main is one of those rare eateries.
The restaurant, co-owner and manager Al Hoppe said, is located in Luxemburg's "second downtown", harkening back to its era of Green Bay Western's newly-built railroad, the old feed mill, and a cluster of other extant buildings from what was arguably Luxemburg's first golden age, dating back to around the turn of the 20th century.
"We are very proud of the fact that we took a historic building that was built in the late 1800s and re-vitalized it...we did a lot of renovating but the bar area is somewhat original," Hoppe said. "We took an empty building and brought it back to life."
At one time, the ancient building even held traditional kirmisses--A Belgian harvest celebration--that featured a familiar potpourri of local, ethnic icons such as Belgian pies, polka bands, and even an upstairs dance hall.
Now, the two-year-old restaurant and tavern is slowly building its own history, a history which features a growing clientele who come to enjoy the excellent cooking of Bill Knappmiller, chef and co-owner. Bill aka Billy, of course, is also the namesake of the restaurant, a name with a reputation for great food that has spread like wildfire almost exclusively by word-of-mouth, Hoppe said.
Billy's on Main has also received locally-coveted accolades. In 2012 and 2013, the restaurant received awards for "Best Dinner in Kewaunee County" as voted by Kewaunee County residents and awarded by the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation's Buy Local Initiative.
Billy's on Main could be characterized as a charming, intimate local bistro in a great downtown location-- it seats a total of about 48 in the restaurant and about 25 at the bar while boasting 25 employees who ensure personalized attention to their customers.
Hoppe also has a resume of management experience that goes back more than 30 years in the local area.
"We have a lot of people who come in and say 'I remember this place when it was so-and-so'," Hoppe continued. "We hear a lot of that from our elderly customers."
But it is not only its unique history that continues to pack them in at Billy's on Main. Menu items include large portions of tenderloin, rib eye steak, New York strip and other local favorites such as broasted chicken and baby back pork ribs. The weekends bring customers in for the Friday fish fry, the Saturday prime rib, and Sunday chicken specials such as broasted chicken, and baked chicken with kraut. Sundays also feature an eight-ounce tenderloin special.
"We have a very nice, loyal clientele and we hope to be here for the long haul," Hoppe added. "I think one of the purposes of a place like this in a small town is for people and families to get together and celebrate and where businesspeople may meet and network (as well)."
Billy's on Main is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. until closing. It is located at 742 Main Street in Luxemburg and can be reached at 920-845-2505.