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Short Order

Putting the Bar in Barbecue, plus Pie's on.

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You know and love the fresh-squeezed limeade. But it's the Livewire limeade and lemonade that are causing the latest stir at Bill's Barbecue. Both secret-recipe cocktails are fresh out of the gate this week as the company's Myers Street location unveils its latest strategy— a full bar.

“Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith,” says Rhoda Richardson Elliott, president of Bill's Barbecue and a seasoned bartender and caterer. She's juicing the company's nearly 80-year history by shaking up cocktails at the new bar.

An expanded menu of ribs, chicken, combo platters and specials is also being unveiled this week, along with table service and extended operating hours. Some tweaks to the 85-seat dining room “make it feel more homey,” Elliott says, “and we're pretty proud of it.” Bill's is one of the few remaining local food brands to carry on its tradition under one family's ownership. Times have gotten far tougher. The decision to add liquor was not an easy one, “but we don't want to be left behind,” Elliott says. Competition in that neighborhood is brisk, with barbecue on the menus at nearby Buz & Ned's and Stronghill Dining Company. So far, there are no plans to extend bar service to the company's six other locations, but they'll be paying attention to how well the sauce adds to the bottom line.

This location of Bill's Barbecue, just north of Broad, has been around since 1943. It is now open until 11 p.m. weeknights, until midnight on weekends, and is closed Sundays. 927 Myers St. 353-2757. www.billsbarbecuetogo.com.

Pie's On: Now serving in the former Si Tapas location at 214 N. Lombardy St., Pie has pizzas, calzones, salads and wings and the intimate upstairs lounge. Lunch, dinner and bar hours daily. 257-7940.

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