Bill’s Hot Dog Stand Brings Homemade Specialties Right to Your Car

Ypsilanti car hop values consistency and quality in their popular chili dogs and rootbeer.

Bill's Hot Dog Stand
Bill's Hot Dog Stand's carhop service helped the business get through the pandemic. Image courtesy of Mary Racette.

Since its opening in 1939, Bill’s Hot Dog Stand has been a popular Ypsilanti destination to indulge in old-school favorites.

The drive-in hotdog stand is located on Michigan Ave, right across from Roy’s. It’s hard to miss the bright yellow building that is often accompanied by a busy parking lot. Instead of sitting at tables and chairs, you sit in the car and wait for one of the servers to take your order. They have been doing this for over 80 years, so they have a system worked out to make sure to get everyone taken care of in a timely fashion.

If you have been to Bill’s Hot Dog Stand before, chances are you already know what you want to order since the menu only has a handful of items available. They do not have menus to give out but what they do have is friendly employees who are eager to share and explain each item on the menu. The helpful employees can answer all your questions and make even first-time customers feel like regulars.

“Customers are the most important thing,” Manager Jim Doe said. “We couldn’t be here without them so we try to make their experience a happy one.” 

Homemade Food from Bill’s Hot Dog Stand

Doe said the business pride’s itself in the consistency of its quality of food and service. Their menu consists of select items which they ensure will taste the same every time you order it. 

“We try giving you the same product every day,” Doe said. That’s one of the main things everyone always says is that we’re consistent. Every time they come to Bill’s they know what they’re going to get.”

The homemade chili dogs and homemade root beer are the most popular items on the menu. Bill’s Hot Dog Stand also serves a loose hamburger with seasoned ground beef that is also made fresh every day.

“The specialties would be the homemade chili and the homemade root beer because you can’t get that anywhere else,” Doe said.

The Drive-In During COVID-19

Unlike other businesses who suffered greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bill’s Hot Dog Stand did not have to change much about the way they operated. They were able to stay open and they did not have to face the loss of revenue from dine-in services during this time. Their carhop service came especially in handy during this time of necessary social distancing and safety procedures.

“The community was actually awesome,” Doe said. “They kept us busy so we had no problems at all.”

They did take the necessary precautions while they stayed open. In addition to masking up and keeping their distance, they shortened their hours for a period of time.

It is important to note that Bill’s Hot Dog Stand is a cash-only business. They are open every day 10am-9pm. Since they are a seasonal business, they are open from February 1 to the end of October each year. 

1292 E. Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti. 734-485-2831. facebook.com/billshotdogstand.