Press Club

‘Billy’s Deli/Cafe’ Opens in Old Billy’s Cheesesteaks Space

Billy’s Deli/Cafe is now open in Cherrydale (courtesy of Bill Hamrock)

Those who missed Billy’s Cheesesteaks in Cherrydale for the last year and a half can now get a taste of those sandwiches again.

Two weeks ago, Bill Hamrock — the old sandwich stop’s namesake and former co-owner — opened Billy’s Deli/Cafe at 3907 Lee Highway, the same spot where he opened Billy’s Cheesesteaks in 2011.

And Hamrock, who stepped away from Billy’s Cheesesteaks about five years ago, is back at the helm. While the name and menu may be familiar, he tells ARLnow that Billy’s Deli/Cafe is an entirely new business.

“Everything about it is better: new floors, new walls, new roof, new air conditioning. I think the food is better,” he said.

The new cafe is serving Billy’s famous cheesesteaks as well as other trusty dishes Hamrock says he has perfected, such as hot pita sandwiches, during his more than two decades in the food service industry. Hamrock also owns an eatery named for him in Fairfax City, Hamrock’s Restaurant.

In addition to chicken souvlaki, gyros, mozzarella chicken hot pita sandwiches and other fare, the deli and cafe will serve homemade ice cream and fresh-baked cookies, he said.

Back in January 2020 — just before the pandemic — ARLnow reported that Billy’s Cheesesteaks was closing temporarily along with the restaurant next door, Bistro 29. The then-owner, Kostas Kapasouris, told ARLnow the decision was so that he could “make the restaurants better.”

Eventually, both restaurants permanently closed. According to some new signage, a Uighur restaurant called Bostan is set to replace Bistro 29.

“Hopefully, they will be open in the next one, two, three months,” Hamrock said.

Next door, the new Billy’s space is 800 square feet and will cater to carryout, operating on several apps, including ChowNow, Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash.

“We’ll probably add to that as we go,” said Hamrock.

Those who do wish to sit at one of the eight seats inside the Lee Highway location will be greeted by a montage of historical photos of Arlington. Billy’s owner is a self-described history buff, who has written a book on Arlington history, called “We are Arlington.”

“I’m just excited about being back in Cherrydale and back in Arlington,” Hamrock said. “It’s a great neighborhood, great location. I like the neighbors and the community.”

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