The first Hillstone opened its doors in the spring of 1977. Hillstone’s founder, George Biel, recognized the need for a new type of restaurant that was non-existent at the time. It would be a place of high energy and would attract a broad range of people of all ages, where one could enjoy an upscale dinner of steaks, burgers, entrée salads, and other dishes representing a more flexible style of eating. With a longtime interest in cooking and recipes, George and his wife Carol set out to launch this new restaurant which would seek to marry consistency and quality in a way not seen before in more casual, full service restaurants. They brought in a minority partner to open their first restaurant in Nashville, which they named Houston’s in reference to their native state of Texas.
This endeavor would be based on an unrelenting commitment to do things well, measured against the highest standards and manifested in careful attention to the smallest details. Early menus alluded to this philosophy on the cover, with a list of “the little things that make our quality unique” like squeezing juice fresh to order, using bottled soda and serving only ‘Certified Angus Beef’.