Houston's in Preston Center is now officially Hillstone, a name change that executive general manager Francis Luttmer reports has provoked some worried inquiries from longtime customers.
"Their concern is we're going to take away their favorite dish," Luttmer says. "We're telling them 'No, relax. We're not taking anything away'."
Instead, Luttmer says, the transformation will allow the restaurant to "be more creative" by adding new dishes to the existing menu.
"We're going to be able to stretch our wings," Luttner says. "We're always going to have a great cheeseburger. But now I can run a tuna burger."
While the Hillstone roll-out in San Francisco was accompanied by reports touting the restaurant's new-found respect for local and seasonal ingredients, Dallas' Hillstone is on a bit of a coastal cuisine kick. In addition to the tuna burger, new menu items include fried oysters and a scallop salad.
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The Preston Center restaurant is the sixth Houston's nationwide to be reborn as a Hillstone. But Luttmer says the Hillstone Restaurant Group -- which controls 11 brands, including Houston's and Hillstone -- has no plans to retire the Houston's concept.
"There are wonderful Houston's that are serving their markets well," he says.
According to Luttmer, the sign hung today is the most visible evidence of the switchover, since the restaurant hasn't changes its prices or decor.
"We're making positive, incremental changes without scaring away any of our loyal clientele," he says.