Welcome to Hillstone, America’s Favorite Restaurant


Thanks, but no thanks. That’s essentially the response I got.

It’s not often that a restaurant turns down a story in a national food magazine. As the deputy editor of Bon Appétit, I’m usually the one fielding calls from publicists requesting coverage for the cool new place from so-and-so who worked for a month at Noma in Copenhagen. Big-name chefs are featured in our pages monthly. So why was a chain restaurant telling me to get lost?

We got 8 never-before-published recipes for Hillstone’s most popular dishes

That’s what happened when I first e-mailed the Hillstone Restaurant Group (perhaps known in your neck of the woods as Houston’s, Honor Bar, R+D Kitchen, or 12 others). They’d get back to me, they wrote. (Hey, that’s my line!) When they did, it was only to say that they would discuss the possibility of my proposed story. I wrote back that I was their No. 1 fan. Nothing. Finally, Brian Biel, vice president of the group, responded a few days later: “We are not ready at this time to do a story…. Thank you again for thinking of us.”

Wait, what?

I e-mailed Brian a final time, pleading my case. I told him how I had grown up in Atlanta going to Hillstone restaurants, how they were my mom’s favorite lunch spot for the Thai steak and noodle salad, how they were the place I’d taken prom dates in high school, and how I thought they had one of the best cheeseburgers on the planet. I assured him that I wouldn’t necessarily need to talk to George Biel, Brian’s father and the founder of the privately held group, who I knew from sources didn’t like to talk to the media. I even included in my appeal that Bon Appétit‘s parent company, <a class="colorbox" rel="nofollow" …read more

Source:: Bon Appetit