Local burger restaurant shares some greasy good history and operating changes amid pandemic

Restaurants are continuing to operate differently during the coronavirus pandemic. One locally-owned burger restaurant shared how it is handling its business during the pandemic.

Posted: Jul 14, 2020 9:36 AM
Updated: Jul 15, 2020 12:58 AM

AMORY, Miss. (WTVA) -- Restaurants are continuing to operate differently during the coronavirus pandemic. One locally-owned burger restaurant shared how it is operating differently during the pandemic.

Bill’s Hamburgers in Amory is a community favorite, according to general manager James Wilkerson.

“Bill’s Hamburgers, you come here for the atmosphere, you come for a good, greasy hamburger, a glass-bottle coke sitting on a barstool and spinning around,” Wilkerson said.

James Wilkerson has been the general manager of Bill’s Hamburgers for almost 21 years. Since the coronavirus hit, he’s had to make a lot of changes in operating the restaurant.

“Right now, we’re just doing the curbside, we’re not letting any customers into the building to cut down on the chance of anything being contaminated,” Wilkerson said.

He said employees dress the burgers now, and condiments are pre-packaged.

“We’re Germ-Xing and washing our hands and wearing our masks, and sanitizing surfaces, so, I think we’re taking about every step we possibly could for the safety of our customers and our employees and their families.”

Brittany Wilkerson is the assistant manager of Bill’s Hamburgers and James Wilkerson’s wife. She said the restaurant closed for about 5 weeks when the pandemic first hit back in March. She said business took a big blow when the dining rooms closed and customers couldn’t sit at the bar.

“That’s part of the Bill’s experience. Not being able to have the burger at the bar top is pretty much the lack of the whole experience, I guess,” she said.

She said all employees have to wear masks, and no one except employees are allowed to come inside. For now, customers have to get orders to go, or they can eat at the tables right outside.

“I feel like we’re hanging in there, we’re trying to stay afloat. I mean we’ve been here since 1929, so we have to, you know?”

Madison Hood is an employee at Bill’s. She said the coronavirus has truly impacted the Bill’s Hamburgers' experience.

“We had a lot more people come in. It’s a big change and it has hurt us as people, we can’t communicate with our customers like we used to. They have to sit out in the hot sun. Barely people come in the rain.”

Hood said people who visit have mixed feelings about face masks.

“Some of them are scared, some of them don’t care. They will protect themselves, but they still want good food.”

“A big part of this place is just the history of it,” James Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said their burgers historically come with or without mustard and onions.

“We had a fellow named Junior who worked here for three of four different owners, that’s the guy on the mural outside. He’s really a local legend, an icon here in town, especially in Bill’s Hamburgers. His famous thing was when you walked in, he [would say] 'With or without?' and that's the way you got your burger.”

He described the restaurant as a signature eatery.

“If you like a good, classic, Southern, greasy hamburger, we’re the place for you. If not, there’s a restaurant right down the street that has a salad bar.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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