What is the saying? Something old is new again? Well, this is exactly the case at The Hillside Tavern and Grill. Manager Achille, also know as Chille (say- Chill ee), is thrilled to be a part of a long tradition of Northwoods dining excellence. She and owner Gina, Achille’s Mom, purchased the popular dining location, formerly known as Vinchi’s Hillside, on Highway N in Sayner last April.
The Northwoods is hardly a new environment for the two. Achille said that her family has been coming up here since the 1930s and owns a family property. She said it was her grandfather’s idea to run a restaurant and bar in the Northwoods. But sadly, the dream never came to fruition for him and he recently passed away.
Gina, thinking that this was a cool idea, picked up the gauntlet shortly after she bought a home in Conover. She and Achille found Vinch’s for sale and thought it was the perfect fit for them.
Since then the two have been melding Vinchi traditions with newer updates, such as the refurbished dining room and the new outdoor patio. Former owner, Jim Meka, stayed on to cook three days a week, ensuring the quality of the food would continue at the same level.
Both women love to cook and contribute to the menu. Gina’s career as a corporate marketer lets her maintain the business side of the restaurant. Achille manages the day to day operations. Before she managed The Hillside, she had worked in restaurants in virtually every capacity.
Achille says The Hillside is run much the same now as was before. They kept the same staff and Achille says that they share many views with the former owners on how to run the business. They love the spic and span environment and the immaculate kitchen. They also welcome the community and are looking forward to hosting the fund-raisers Hillside has held for many community organizations.
Some plans for Hillside include adding activities such as game leagues – perhaps a dart league or other events along those lines.
“We are also looking at having live music in the future,” she said. “ We want to do fun stuff and get the community together. We are looking at new menu items and introducing some new appetizers. But, of course, keeping the classic things that brought the customers in — the classic Vinch’s pizza, and the outstanding rib recipe that Jim always had.”
Achille and her significant other, Zach, also take turns working in the kitchen. She said Zach helps out where ever he is needed. And as if she isn’t busy enough, she just gave birth to a little girl a month ago.
The restaurant is in full compliance with the Covid-19 safety standards for restaurants. They are observing safe distancing and tables have been removed to allow for spacing. The new patio has outdoor seating which augments the indoor seating.
As far as wearing face masks, “We leave that up to the customers and their comfort level. We have been very conscientious. All of our staff wear masks doing carry-out and for the first several weeks after we opened up. As people have come in-house and been a little more relaxed, we have left it up to the customer. If somebody wants curbside then we wear our masks and bring the food out to them. If in-house, someone asks us to wear a mask, we are happy to do that.
“We have always had a reputation for being one of the cleanest restaurants in this area. But we still have been extra cautious, sanitizing everything, wiping down tables, doorknobs – the whole kit and caboodle – making sure that we are going the extra mile to make sure our customers and staff stay safe and feel comfortable being out,” she concluded.
The Hillside Tavern and Grill is open Thursdays through Mondays from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., with the bar staying open as customers require. As things open up, be sure to watch their Facebook page for exciting events and happenings. This is a good place to check out dining specials, too. Watch for their new website coming soon!
For call ahead carry-out service, call 715-542 2240 and they will bring your order out to your car and you can pay car-side. You may also stop in and order carry-out. Whatever you desire!
“We were hoping to do some fun stuff this summer, but like all businesses we are doing our best to keep our customers feel comfortable and safe – and our staff, of course. We are going to keep chugging along to see what the summer brings us,” she said brightly.