Former Lion great brings BBQ, star power to town

Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — A big figure in Detroit Lions history will soon join the menu of local eateries with the Oct. 5 opening of Billy Sims Barbecue.

Longtime Lions fans recall Sims as the Heisman Trophy-winning No. 1 pick in the 1980 NFL draft out of Oklahoma. Named the NFL Rookie of the Year, Sims helped a struggling (2-14) Lions explode into playoff-contending 9-7 before a knee injury brought an end to a career that included three trips to the Pro Bowl.

After football, Sims retired to Texas and soon brought together his two passions: football tailgating and barbecue, and began opening restaurants in Oklahoma.

A longtime fan favorite, Sims naturally brought his offerings back to southeast Michigan, beginning last month with the opening of a Southfield location.

A tentative Oct. 5 opening date is set for a Lincoln Park franchise at 3695 Dix, the former Real Barebcue storefront.

(James Mitchell can be reached at