With the Stylistics on the radio singing "I'm Stone in Love With You," a gallery of family photographs on display and a faded poster with advice on how to achieve your dreams, Wild Bill's Kitchen on York Road has a cozy, dated feel to it. The soul-food menu, handwritten on signs around the small waiting area, adds to the homey touch.
Your order may be delivered through a glass security window, but don't let that stop you from making yourself at home below images of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and someone labeled "Mom."
The food at Wild Bill's is in keeping with the atmosphere of this modest carryout. It, too, is modest, but satisfying, and in the case of the vinegar-based "special" barbecue sauce, delivers a low-key wallop.
Five large and meaty chicken wings ($7) popped with the sauce; they came on a slice of white bread and were served with a mess of crinkle-cut fries. We got the feeling that Wild Bill never got the memo on serving wings with as little meat as possible. That's a good thing.
We also took home half a slab of ribs ($7.75), which were also meaty but a tad stringy. Again, Wild Bill's piquant sauce served the meat well. The minced barbecue ($4.50) also came with a perky sauce; it was adequate but marred by little pieces of gristle.
Sides included some tasty collard greens cooked with bacon ($1.75), and candied yams ($1.75) that conjured up Thanksgiving. The potato salad ($1.75) was quite heavy on the mayo and did not seem worth the calories. The menu includes crab cakes, fish submarines, hog maws and chitterlings, all reasonably priced. But the menu is clearly not written in stone and not all of Wild Bill's offerings are available all the time. He was out of sweet potato pies and pineapple upside down cake, for example. So be ready to be flexible.
Wild Bill's Kitchen
Waiting area: **
Where: 4225 York Road, North Baltimore
Hours: 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
Prices: Sandwiches, dinners, chicken, fish and subs, $1.25 to $10.50; no credit cards
Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *