By Kasey McMillian
Buzzard Billy’s, also known as the Swamp Shack, offers one of the most serene views of the Waco Bridge. Dining on the deck with the sunset on the Brazos River proves that Waco does have some perks.
The entrance to the restaurant includes a walk across a bridge over a green marsh that makes you feel like you are on the History Channel show “Swamp People.” As soon as you walk in the door, the Louisianan decor lets you know exactly what style of food you’re going to get.
On the walls, they have gulf signs, pictures of boats on the dock and neon Budweiser signs in the shape of alligators. There are shelves filled with young adult alligator heads, colorful lights bordering the deck, all wooden walls and floors, and the bar, surrounded with red barstools, is the centerpiece of the restaurant. The layout looks like an abode on the swamp, and the atmosphere makes you feel like you’ve left Waco.
One of the most popular features of the seafood bar is the deck. The deck overlooks the river and customers are the reason for the plump ducks, fish and turtles that swarm below awaiting the leftovers.
Buzzard Billy’s offers traditional Cajun dishes: seafood, steaks, chicken, pastas, grilled, blackened or fried dinners, Po’ boy sandwiches and a wide range of unique appetizers including armadillo eggs and fried gator fingers.
Customers love Buzzard Billy’s not only for the quality but also for the prime location. Buzzard Billy’s is located on 100 N. Interstate 35. The hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Friday through Saturday. Buzzard Billy’s Armadillo Bar and Grill-o originally opened downtown in January 1993. Then when space opened up in 2008 right on the Brazos, Buzzard Billy’s moved, becoming one of the most compelling restaurants in Waco.
I went to Buzzards Billy’s for dinner. For an appetizer, I ordered the $7.49 monster-ella cheese sticks. They were served with marinara sauce, but I hardly dipped them in it because alone they were full of flavor. They were the cheesiest and most stringy cheese sticks I had ever eaten. I could tell they were hot and freshly breaded, right out of the oven. Instead of being long and narrow, they were monster-sized, and four was more than plenty. Then, for the main course, I ordered the $11.99 Crawfish Fettuccine Alfredeaux. Before I took my first bite I thought it was going to be mostly creamy, but there was definitely a twist. The noodles were very tasty, mixed with sautéed crawfish and a hint of spice. The crawfish was very tender and the entrée was extremely filling and generous in amount, so I got my money’s worth.
The second time, I dined for lunch and ordered the $13.99 Crawfish Étouffée, their classic Louisianan dish. The plate was as big as a placemat loaded with crawfish tails sautéed with garlic, Cajun spices and a buttery mahogany roux. It included a heap of Cajun rice with fresh baked rolls and hushpuppies.
Both times, the waiting staff did a superb job of always getting me a refill. The restaurant has plenty of space, so even when there were a lot of people, I was seated as soon as I was greeted.
The only negative thing for my visit was how long it took to get the rolls out, but the waiter was pleasant while taking my order when I was ready and getting my food out in no time.