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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 13, 2020 8:43 PM
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: 515208

Reported Deaths: 10290
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34981557
DeSoto33342432
Hinds32718643
Jackson24896391
Rankin22553404
Lee16439245
Madison14949283
Jones14155248
Forrest13829260
Lauderdale12305324
Lowndes11348193
Lamar10687140
Pearl River9739244
Lafayette8867143
Hancock7847132
Washington7555169
Oktibbeha7228138
Monroe7055179
Pontotoc7026110
Warren6883178
Panola6783135
Neshoba6740210
Marshall6705142
Bolivar6468151
Union642898
Pike5941157
Alcorn5912107
Lincoln5539136
George510680
Prentiss507785
Tippah495483
Itawamba4877107
Scott478799
Adams4775125
Tate4774117
Leflore4747144
Copiah458095
Yazoo457892
Simpson4565117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4318106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4243109
Leake414090
Newton396082
Tishomingo386194
Grenada3786109
Stone365966
Jasper341266
Attala339590
Winston317992
Chickasaw317667
Clay312778
Clarke301695
Calhoun286349
Holmes272589
Smith269952
Yalobusha244647
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220241
Perry214456
Amite210257
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175241
Jefferson Davis174043
Tunica163539
Benton153239
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134639
Humphreys132239
Franklin126430
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847064

Reported Deaths: 16157
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163702006
Mobile743001381
Madison53394737
Shelby38395371
Baldwin38140589
Tuscaloosa36096642
Montgomery34535782
Lee25639264
Calhoun22620519
Morgan22503408
Etowah20043520
Marshall18812317
Houston17754425
St. Clair16928358
Limestone16178220
Cullman16113304
Elmore15927295
Lauderdale15042307
Talladega14234301
DeKalb13033270
Walker12119380
Blount10756193
Autauga10531157
Jackson10191195
Coffee9431192
Colbert9356210
Dale9035192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell709665
Chilton7077170
Escambia6961144
Covington6956195
Franklin6355108
Chambers5791142
Marion5428130
Dallas5299210
Pike5124109
Clarke485586
Lawrence4841130
Winston4784110
Geneva4649136
Bibb435294
Barbour370080
Butler3445101
Marengo342793
Monroe338066
Randolph337367
Pickens334689
Fayette331385
Henry320866
Cherokee319563
Hale318589
Crenshaw261577
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253355
Clay251669
Macon245465
Conecuh193262
Coosa185647
Lowndes178268
Wilcox178138
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130245
Choctaw93328
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