Say Your Goodbyes to Boston’s Hillstone Restaurant
After nearly 15 years, the well-regarded national chain is done with Faneuil Hall.
When a chain restaurant shutters in Boston, it’s not often worth lamenting for too long. But for many people, a Hillstone Restaurant is a different story.
The Faneuil Hall location will shutter at the end of service on Saturday, October 15, Boston Restaurant Talk reported. It opened nearly 15 years ago as Houston’s, another brand under the Hillstone Restaurant Group umbrella, and rebranded in 2010.
The Beverly Hills company operates 48 restaurants around the country, under names like Honor Bar, R+D Kitchen, and others. After Hillstone shutters in Boston, the restaurant group will no longer have any locations in New England. There are three in New York City.
In a love letter to the restaurant group published in Bon Appetit this spring, deputy editor Andrew Knowlton—“a guy who has spent his career fetishizing eccentric and fiercely independent restaurants”—says Hillstone “runs some of my favorite places to eat in the country.”
The curator of the annual Hot 10 is not alone. Momofuku chef David Chang told Knowlton Hillston’s Fench dip sandwich “haunts” him, and the Atlanta location was a regular hang for Shaquille O’Neal and other NBA stars, according to the BonApp editor.
Known for its addictive spinach and artichoke dip, as well as steakhouse dinners, sushi, and other crowd-pleasing fare, Hillstone is respected for consistency and warm hospitality.
“It identified and then filled a void in the American dining scene. It wasn’t fast-food burgers, but it wasn’t fancy European-style dining, either,” Knowlton wrote. “Whether [founder George] Biel knew it or not, he was defining a uniquely American style of eating out that was unpretentious yet discerning.”
For the record, this restaurant writer has never stepped foot inside the Faneuil Hall Hillstone. Not many locals have, says company vice president Brian Biel. The street performers and souvenir kiosks that surround it contribute to a touristy atmosphere rather than a neighborhood vibe, he says.
“While many people work in the downtown area, it’s probably fair to say local Bostonians prefer other neighborhoods when considering nighttime or weekend dining plans,” he says.
But there are some who will certainly miss Boston’s Hillstone.
“Had our last meal there last night,” a Medford-identified Yelper wrote today. “And as always our meal was amazing and the service was even better. We’re all gonna miss that place very much. It’s gonna be real hard for all of us to find a new place now. Thanks for all the years!!”
Hillstone’s lease was up in Faneuil Hall, though the company will “keep an eye out for future locations in the Boston area,” per its website. But probably not in such a touristy ’hood.
“Having been a part of Boston for many years will inform how we would select a future site, which would likely be more appealing to the people who live in Boston,” Biel says.
Hillstone Restaurant, open Friday, October 14, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., and Saturday, October 15, noon-11 p.m., 60 State St., Boston, 617-573-9777, hillstonerestaurant.com.