Walkers Grill

Walkers Grill at North 27th and 1st Avenue North.

LARRY MAYER, Gazette Staff

Bill Honaker has been in the game long enough to recognize when it's time for a change. 

And so, on Saturday, he will close Walkers American Grill and Tapas Bar for the next few weeks to remodel and rebrand his popular downtown restaurant. 

"It's time for another reiteration," he said on Monday. "I think you have to stay current."

Honaker has owned Walkers for 25 years. A dozen years ago, he moved the restaurant to its current location on the corner of 1st Avenue North and North 27th Street. When he did, he renovated and re-imagined the restaurant. 

Now, 13 years later, he said it's time to do it again. 

"Every 12 years or so you need to reinvent yourself," he said. 

So starting in October, the restaurant will become Walkers Neighborhood Provisions. 

The idea is to reflect Walkers' neighborhood status and its walkable location, to emphasize that it's very much plugged into local Billings. 

"We wanted to just lighten it up," he said. 

Honaker and his head chef, Nick Steen, want the restaurant to be a place where folks come to get the staples, "a place that keeps you stocked and alive and fed."

The interior will be remodeled, and the dining room will be divided in half. The back portion of the eating area will be raised and separate, where customers can go with reservations, dressed up for the night and receive a more formal dining experience.

The front half of the dining room will be more casual, designed for comfort and relaxation. 

"It's our home," Steen said. "We want you to feel welcome here."

They're toying with the idea of using one corner of the dining room and dubbing it the "living room" where customers can sit and relax on couches. 

The new menu will reflect the more casual vibe Honaker and Steen are seeking. Their most popular dishes will stick around, but new items will be introduced, a little less expensive, and with an eye on flavors that reflect the various cultures that have taken root in Billings. 

"Our idea is (to) take the borders out of dining," Steen said. "It's about being borderless."

Honaker hasn't placed a firm a deadline on the remodel. They want to ensure they have the time they need get the menu right and the remodel complete.

"We're just telling people, 'We'll see you in October,'" he said, smiling.

For those interested in keeping up with the changes, Walkers will post pictures and updates on its Facebook page. The new logo is now up on its website, walkersgrill.com.

In the meantime, Honaker tells diners not to worry. 

"We're still gonna do nice food," he said. 

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Business Reporter

Business Reporter for the Billings Gazette.