Herald & Journal, October 12, 1998

Bill's Grill now open in Waverly


It could have been called Mary's Place or something cute, but the new owners of Bill's Grill in Waverly, Mary Metz and Steve Wernimont, named their restrauant after a good friend, Bill Ledford.

Metz and Wernimont, both from the New Germany area, spent a lot of time fishing with Ledford, who was born in Waverly in 1928.

Ledford was an over-the-road trucker for many years and developed a taste for cafes that featured home cooking.

"He would drive 10 miles out of his way to hit a favorite cafe," said Metz.

Ledford always encouraged her to start her own business, since Metz has cooked in different establishments throughout the area for the past 20 years.

Ledford died last April and didn't get to see the start of their new business. But in honor of their good friend and supporter, Metz and Wernimont named the restaurant Bill's Grill.

It doesn't take much time before the "Bill" stories start to appear.

"One time," said Wernimont, "Bill was out on the lake fishing, and his motor quit.

"You had to know Bill. He unhooked the motor and threw it over the side into the lake.

"He started paddling. He hadn't gone 30 feet, when some guys in another fishing boat jumped into the water, dived for the motor, and hauled it into their boat.

"The next week, there they were, using Bill's motor."

The grill opened in the middle of August, and Metz said she tries to feature as many home-cooked, made-from-scratch items as she can.

From doughnuts to pickles and sauerkraut, fresh pumpkin pies and soups, Metz presents the customer with home-made goods.

"In fact, the distributors think I'm crazy. I don't buy all their quick products," said Metz.

They have kept the coffee-mug tradition handed down from another owner, and customers can have their own coffee mug hanging up on the wall.

Said Wernimont, "I used to sit here drinking my coffee and feeling sorry for the poor guy that had to hand-wash all those mugs. Now I'm that guy."

"One of my goals is to someday get a charbroiler, so I can do steaks and chicken for lunches," he said.

Bill's Grill is open from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays, 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Wernimont and Metz think that Bill Ledford would like what they are doing.

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