Rick Valley spent more than two decades in a managerial role at Asian restaurant P.F. Chang’s, but he said he always wanted to have his own restaurant.
“With bigger companies, you have to follow a script, and things are the way they are,” Valley said. “When you have your own restaurant, you can go outside the box and try things you’ve always wanted to.”
So in 2016, Valley and his partners began looking for a location. Eventually, they settled on Highland Village.
“There was a void in the [Highland Village] dining scene,” Valley said. “We thought that an American grill was something the community needed.”
To fill that void, Valley and his partners opened Hillside Fine Grill—a neighborhood restaurant he described as upscale yet affordable.
“I wanted it to be a place where you can come Monday and eat a burger and come on Friday and have a steak,” Valley said.
Hillside’s menu features an assortment of items ranging from a club salad to mini brisket tacos to Ruby Red Trout & Gulf Shrimp.
Valley said he enjoys creating his own menu, but what is most fulfilling is the relationships he has crafted with his guests, who he said have “almost become family.”
“That’s the culture we’ve tried to build and maintain,” Valley said. “We want it to be more than simply going out to eat.”
Valley said it is important to him that his presence in the community goes beyond the four walls of Hillside. During the restaurant’s opening, meals and money collected from the bar were donated to Cloud 9 Charities, a nonprofit that provides temporary housing to families.
“I always want to make sure that we support the guests who are supporting us,” Valley said. “We don’t want to only be here and hoard money and not give back.”