Billy's Tap Room and Grill has been a fixture in Ormond Beach for 90 years, and its current owners work hard to ensure it stays that way.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
Two days before Christmas 2010, Doug and Lillian Rand received a phone call and an early Christmas present.
On the line was Putnam State Bank, checking to see if the couple was still interested in buying Billy’s Tap Room and Grill, at 58 E. Granada Blvd., after a first round of negotiations ended without an agreement being reached a few months prior.
They were, the Rands said. And after nearly two years of hard work, on Nov. 9, they will ring in the restaurant's 90th birthday in Ormond Beach.
“We shook hands (on a deal),” Lillian Rand said. “And that was an unusual thing, because it was like the old, old times.”
A deal was finally closed Feb. 8, 2011. And Billy’s Tap Room reopened May 25, after extensive renovations, which included adding air conditioning and refinishing the floor and the bar.
“All of a sudden, it shut down on Memorial Day in 2010,” Doug Rand remembered. “And that was a surprise to everyone, because I never thought that it would close. But as it turns out, it was a blessing, because it needed so much work.”
Although Billy's' new owners have made a lot of changes to their restaurant, they've barely touched the menu since taking over. Much of the staff from before the Rands bought Billy's still work there, as well.
But this was not the Rands first restaurant opening.
While negotiating for Billy's, the couple were simultaneously running Doug & Lil's Potato Patch, in DeLand. And while it was sometimes difficult to run one restaurant in one city, while purchasing, renovating and reopening a second somewhere else, Lillian Rand never question their success.
It was always her husband’s dream, she said, to own a restaurant like Billy’s Tap Room — one with character, history and prime location.
“A lot of people will sit at the light, coming into town,” Doug Rand said. “And they’ll be sitting on the beach and say, ‘Hey, that looks like a great place.’"
So they'll come in, he continued, sit down and say they're first-timers.
“But you can (always) pretty much tell," he added. "Because, half the time, they don’t know where the restroom is.”