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

Dozens of local residents gathered Feb. 27 at Lewisville City Hall to protest a military coup that occurred a few weeks earlier in Myanmar. (Aubrey Galloway/Community Impact Newspaper)
Photo gallery: Residents protest Myanmar military's actions on steps of Lewisville City Hall

Residents gathered on the steps of Lewisville City Hall to protest the arrest of civilian government leadership that occurred in early February in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar.

Harvest Hall officially opened Feb. 6 in Grapevine as part of the Grapevine Main development. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harvest Hall now open in Grapevine, new dining options in Fort Worth and more DFW news from February

Here are some of the top stories from the past month from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

At its peak of power loss, the city had roughly 50,000 homes with interrupted power, many of which had prolonged outages, Plano City Manager Mark Israelson said. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plano faces long-term impacts from storm; Collin County vaccine hubs resume service and more DFW-area news

Read the top business and community news from this week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

High school graduation ceremonies throughout Lewisville ISD will be held at The Star in Frisco this year, a change from previous plans. (Lindsey Juarez Monsivais/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lewisville ISD cancels high school proms, selects new venue for graduation ceremonies

For the second year in a row, schools will alter key rites of passage for high school seniors throughout Lewisville ISD as they continue to navigate instruction during a pandemic.

The coffee and wine bar offers signature drinks, such as the Honey Bear Latte, made with honey and cinnamon, as well as food options, such as breakfast tacos, charcuterie boards, baked goods and snack boxes. (Courtesy Golden Boy Coffee Co.)
Golden Boy Coffee Co. opens in Plano; Black Rock Coffee Bar coming to Southlake and more DFW-area news

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

Tens of thousands of people have been vaccinated at Denton County's vaccine drive-thru clinics at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. (Courtesy Texas Motor Speedway)
Denton County agencies offer free rides to vaccine appointments at Texas Motor Speedway

Beginning Friday, two Denton County transit services will provide free bus rides to the mass vaccine clinics at Texas Motor Speedway.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

Chipotle Mexican Grill opened a new Plano location Feb. 20 at the corner of Independence Parkway and Legacy Drive. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Plano Chipotle opens with drive-thru; Tailgaters sports bar opens in Frisco and more DFW-area news

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

Lewisville ISD was set to resume classes Feb. 22 after closing schools the previous week because of winter weather. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Lewisville ISD resumes in-person, virtual instruction as district fixes storm damage

Lewisville ISD will press forward this week with in-person and remote instruction even as crews continue to repair damage from last week’s winter storms.

cars on snowy road
Texas Disaster Declaration opens door to federal aid for losses sustained during winter storms

Individuals and businesses who sustained losses during the winter storm are eligible for federal assistance, according to a Texas Disaster Declaration approved