Hillside Fine Grill’s business model in Highland Village proves resilient during pandemic

The hot crab and shrimp dip at Hillside Fine Grill is baked until bubbly, then served with pita bread. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
The hot crab and shrimp dip at Hillside Fine Grill is baked until bubbly, then served with pita bread. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)

The hot crab and shrimp dip at Hillside Fine Grill is baked until bubbly, then served with pita bread. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Rick Valley is the general manager and part-owner of Hillside Fine Grill. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Hillside Fine Grill serves a variety of alcoholic beverages from its bar, including (from left) the Woodford Old Fashioned, Hillside Martini, Savignon Blanc wine and Juggernaut Hillside cabernet. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Cajun Creole pasta ($16.00) This dish mixes creamy Alfredo with a spicy Creole sauce, and includes shrimp and sausage. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Ribs and shrimp ($17.50) A slab of ribs served with fried shrimp, this dish comes with with fries and cole slaw on the side. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Ruby red trout ($18.50) This fresh fish is garnished with grilled gulf shrimp. (Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper)
In Hillside Fine Grill’s first year in Highland Village, the restaurant’s business model was tailored to help the eatery weather the possibility of lean economic times.

“We were thinking ‘recession,’” said Rick Valley, general manager and part-owner of the restaurant. “We never thought of ‘pandemic.’”

The restaurant’s approach—serving grilled favorites with fine-dining touches at more affordable restaurant prices—was expected to stand out as an attractive option for customers even during an economic downturn, Valley said. But the restaurant was not built around takeout or curbside service until the pandemic struck, he said.

As dining areas across the country had to shut down in the early days of the pandemic, Hillside moved quickly to cut costs, limit hours, remove less profitable items from the menu and get the message out about its curbside and takeout services, Valley said.

These measures allowed Hillside to accomplish a rare feat for a restaurant this year. The business roughly broke even over the first four months of 2020, Valley said.


Now, the restaurant is seeing better business, he said.

A number of employees have been rehired. Food items have been added back to the menu. Beverage offerings have been expanded once again.

Valley attributes the restaurant’s relative success in navigating the pandemic to having made a strong impression with the community in the year before the virus hit. He also noted the restaurant offering foods that people sought out during early shutdowns.

“It’s coming back, and it gets better and more robust with the loosening of restrictions,” Valley said.

In tougher times, customers continued to order the restaurant’s favorite dishes. Burgers, ribs and various family packs devised for the pandemic environment were particularly popular, Valley said.

Although the dine-in area is fuller now than it was a few months ago, about 20% of the restaurant’s business is still curbside and to-go, Valley said.

Hillside Fine Grill

3140 FM 407, Highland Village

972-317-9711

www.hillsidegrillhighlandvillage.com
By Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper in Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


MOST RECENT

Flower Mound Town Hall.
Flower Mound now accepting applications for town council Place 1 seat

The town of Flower Mound announced on its website May 18 that it would be accepting applications for the vacant town council seat in Place 1 from May 18 through 24.

The “Click It or Ticket” enforcement period across Texas roads will start on May 24. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
TxDOT will launch annual ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign Monday, May 24

The campaign comes after a 2020 that saw a 16% increase in deaths of unbuckled motorists.

Public schools cannot require students, teachers, parents and other staff members or visitors to wear masks after June 4, Gov. Greg Abbott declared in an executive order issued May 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Public schools can't require students, staff to wear masks after June 4, Gov. Abbott says

"Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities," Gov. Greg Abbott said.

The new Chipotle Mexican Grill is located at 1525 US 380, Ste. 100, in Frisco. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Chipotle with drive-thru opens in Frisco; Blaze Pizza coming to Richardson and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Effective June 26, unemployed Texans will no longer be eligible to receive the $300 weekly unemployment supplement from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces end-date for Texans to receive federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits

Effective June 26, unemployed Texans will no longer be eligible to receive the $300 weekly unemployment supplement from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

Dutch Bros Coffee is now open in McKinney. (Courtesy Dutch Bros Coffee)
Dutch Bros Coffee opens in McKinney; Urban Seafood Co. coming to Plano and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Early voting will be May 24–June 1 for the June 5 election. (Community Impact staff)
Candidate Q&A: France and Gelbman enter runoff for Flower Mound mayor

On June 5, Flower Mound voters can head to the polls to cast a ballot once more in a runoff election for the town of Flower Mound's mayor.

Parry's Pizzeria & Taphouse is coming to McKinney in June. (Courtesy Parry's Pizzeria & Taphouse)
Parry's Pizzeria coming to McKinney; ax-throwing experience opens in Roanoke and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

masks
CDC ends all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people

The guidance states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Arteriors office exterior.
Arteriors Home soon to fully open in Lewisville

The home furnishing and lighting specialist has roots in the Dallas design district, and outlet locations in Plano and Dallas with a warehouse location in Carrolton, and soon a fully-staffed office in Lewisville.

The first floor of the proposed project will consist of commercial space, while the second floor will include office space, and the third floor will be an events space. (Rendering courtesy Nack Development)
Nack Development to construct commercial, office space In Old Town Lewisville

Lewisville City Council approved an economic agreement May 12 with Nack Development for its first project in Old Town Lewisville, a 20,000- to 25,000-square-foot building at the corner of Main and Charles streets.