Bachelor Bill's in Parrish aims to serve bar food a cut above the rest

Bachelor Bill's in Parrish aims to serve bar food a cut above the rest

srocco@bradenton.comJune 4, 2014 

PARRISH -- Twice a week, John and Marlene Zanitsch wander across the street to grab an early dinner at Bachelor Bill's Good Time Grill.

He likes the fried pickles and peppers; she likes the Philly cheese steak.

They both like how this new joint doesn't bother with pizza or pasta -- dishes that have become the standard in Parrish.

In a town where it can seem like half the restaurants are pizza places, the Zanitsches are thrilled to be able to order a cheeseburger.

"We've lived here 14 years. It's time to change it up," said John, 77, over what was left of a Coney Island hot dog Monday afternoon. "I can count on three fingers how many restaurants there are around here."

Matthew Mayo, co-owner of Bachelor Bill's, has been working on getting the restaurant to Parrish for nine years. He was waiting for the ideal location to open up in the Publix shopping center at 11235 U.S. 301. When a Chinese food place finally moved out, it was time for him to move in. Bachelor Bill's, a nod to Mayo's deceased father, who created a short film with the same name, officially opened May 10.

"I want this to be a down home meeting place for all of us that don't want to drive 10 minutes to go get a beer and would rather stumble home," said Mayo, 37. "We try to keep it fun, relaxed and local. Most of the people who work here are from Parrish, and all of our guests are from Parrish."

Even the chairs -- all 152 of them -- hail from other bars, successful and unsuccessful, in Manatee County. There's wall art from local artists Dave and LeAnn Moder. Slot-style video games nestled in a corner are from Apollo Amusements in Bradenton.

The menu? Full of country comforts. Portobello cottage pie ($15). Fish and chips ($13). Bangers and mash ($15). A long list of burgers ($9-$15), a few steaks ($13-$19). The kind of grub you enjoy with a pint after work.

But no pizza.

"There's too many people that do it better," said Mayo, who has been in the restaurant industry since age 16. "Michaelangelo's is in our plaza. There's Ferraro's, Domino's and Pizza Hut all within five minutes."

Mayo, who owns the restaurant with his wife and stepmother, gets most of his veggies from Parrish's True Family Farm.

Burgers are topped with fresh lettuce and tomato from the farmers market.

The fries are all hand cut, and the coleslaw is shredded, not chopped.

"Folks in Parrish like shredded coleslaw, so that's what we'll serve," Mayo said. "We adjust the menu to what people like. We listen because they pay our bills."

Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@sabrinarocco.

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