Billy's on Grand under new ownership, brings in former Happy Gnome chef

Billy's patio has been covetable St. Paul real estate for 35 years and counting.

Billy's patio has been covetable St. Paul real estate for 35 years and counting. Google

Billy’s on Grand has long been a staple of the St. Paul business corridor but, after 35 years, a changing of the guard is underway in more ways than one. 

Representatives from the restaurant announced late yesterday that RJMP Group Inc. has purchased Billy’s and will be assuming control immediately. As part of this transition,  Jeremy Bechtold, formerly the chef at our dearly departed Happy Gnome, will join the new team at Billy’s.

The acronym seems to understand that the bar became a modest icon over the decades thanks to its jocular vibe, huge capacity (at nearly 400 seats), and a patio-parking lot combo that's ideal for hosting shows on Grand Old Day.

Still, with this influx of new investment cash, it sounds like Billy’s will stay… somewhat Billy's? 

“We have an opportunity with our new team to bring in new ideas, a new menu and to refresh the interior and the iconic outdoor patio to ensure Billy’s will continue to operate on Grand Avenue and be a part of the great neighborhood for years to come,” says Randy Johnson, CEO.

Bechtold’s plans center on “elevating” Billy’s just a smidgen, without alienating the crowd that's kept it alive this long. (Yes, we're looking at you, Packer fans.) The tap list might get a bit better, and he’ll add some cocktails. Bechtold is, uh, super good at improving cuisine, too.  

As they make superficial improvements to the decor throughout the winter (like updating furniture, and renovating the patio), Johnson reassures Billy’s current crowd the bar will stay open, with projects reaching completion by this spring.


Billy's on Grand
857 Grand Ave., St. Paul