An authentic 1950s American diner in Yorkshire is a pretty rare find. Peachy keen, jelly bean. If you’re female and you’ve watched Grease over and again, you’ve probably had the benchmark set and can imagine yourself in a candy floss pink dress with a million underskirts belting out 'Hopelessly Devoted To You' whilst slumped against a juke box. Waitresses in frilly aprons serving up thick milkshakes and sodas in huge metal glasses alongside chilli dogs, fries, corn on the cob and 'slaw.
Well short of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John making an appearance, the owners of Billy Bob’s have pretty much nailed my expectations and then some – this place is an absolute find.
And find it you’ll need to, because it’s not exactly the easiest place to locate. But that adds to the magic of the place. Located mid way between Skipton and Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales; Billy Bob’s is a genius concept. Surrounded by rolling hills and plenty of cows; not only does it tick every 1950’s retro Americana box, thanks to it also being a dairy farm, it’s also pretty sustainable too. Certainly when it comes to anything dairy based.
Milk shakes come in a range of flavours and include choc peanut butter and banoffee. The ice-cream selection is extensive and can be enjoyed in a range of cones with an array of toppings and sauces or as part of a ridiculously delicious sundae or old fashioned ice-cream soda float. Take the stuff home; you can buy tubs of it in all sorts of flavours.
The breakfast and mains menu is extensive and very retro – from fluffy pancakes with seriously crispy bacon dripping in maple syrup to Chicago style hot dogs. Buttermilk fried chicken, nachos, smoked ribs, pulled pork and an array of ‘fixins’ and sides; everything screams Rock n Roll and the T Birds and the Pink Ladies would certainly have been right at home here. Be warned though; this place is not for the faint hearted – if you tend to dodge the carbohydrates and fight the fat then I wouldn’t bother. It would be a torturous experience.
Billy Bob’s is great whatever the weather but we always like to head up there when the sun is shining. Be warned, the rest of Yorkshire also seem to head up here when the weather is decent and that’s probably down to a fantastic children’s play area and a south facing terrace with plenty of outdoor seating. Somehow though they always seem to manage and although there might be a slightly longer wait for grub on a busy day, the play area and play barn does a great job at keeping little people entertained until their shorty burgers and puppy dogs arrive.
Get there a good hour before noon on a warm weekend day and have breakfast. It’s a little quieter and the buttermilk pancakes are to die for. Alternatively, head up mid morning, mid week outside of school holidays and the kids will have the playground pretty much to themselves.
Don’t discount the place if it’s raining. Inside is just as fun. Perch on a retro high stool while you slurp your shake or head to the back of the joint where you can dine in the authentic 1950’s American style yellow school bus. Mid 20th century American memorabilia is everywhere you look; reg plates, duke boxes, coca cola bottles and a great collection of old school metal advertisements adorn the walls for everything from 7Up, Root Beer, Reeses caramel cups, bubblegum and more.
All that’s missing is a ferris wheel and waltzers. But never say never…
Visit Billy Bob’s website for more information.