Hill Station, a new restaurant run by Tara and Brandon Brown of Hillcrest Artisan Meats and District Fare, is slated to open in Hillcrest at the end of October. Tara, who will be the restaurant’s general manager, said Hill Station will serve a lunch and dinner menu that includes many favorites from the couple’s artisan butcher shop across the street.
Daniel Bryant and Doug Martin are the owners of Hill Station.
Support the Arkansas Blog with a subscription
We can't resist without our readers!
The restaurant will occupy the former Helmich garage space on the corner of Kavanaugh and Beechwood. Brown said the garage space is being “preserved with integrity” to the structure and original look of the building by Tommy Jameson, who is the architect on the project and the 2017 winner of the Parker Westbrook award for lifetime achievement in historic preservation. The renovated garage will house the restaurant’s kitchen, an “old time soda fountain and bar,” as well as additional room for seating.
Brown said the garage will open up to a new brick structure that’s currently being added onto the original building. The new brick building will house the main seating area of the restaurant and a “full service” bar with 16 taps, which Brown said will include a house wine, a champagne and “lots of craft beer.”
The restaurant will also have a partially covered outdoor seating and dining area, and a roll-up window will connect patrons sitting outside to the indoor bar.
“It’s gonna be pretty fabulous,” Brown said. “I feel like it’s going to be a great addition for the neighborhood.”
The outdoor area will include “lots of greenery,” an herb garden and a cistern to catch rain and roof water.
“Not only do we want to be community friendly, we also want to have a lot of environmentally friendly practices involved as well,” Brown said.
Brandon Brown will be head the restaurant’s kitchen. Though the couple isn’t sharing the full menu yet, Tara said it will feature “very approachable” food in a “pretty moderate” price range.
“We’re not gonna have $20 sandwiches, but we’re not gonna have $4 sandwiches, either,” Brown said.
In addition to sandwiches, Brown said the menu will offer burgers and salads, as well as “many neighborhood favorites” from Hillcrest Artisan Meats, more recently called District Fare, since the market will no longer be serving lunch. Brown said the expanded market will now be officially called Hillcrest Area Market, but still H.A.M. for short.
The Browns sold H.A.M. to The Pantry’s Tomas Bohm in late 2016. Bohm changed the business’ name to District Fare and sold it to Daniel Bryant in 2018. Bryant brought Brandon Brown back to run the business while he developed Hill Station.
Brown said she and Brandon are hoping to open Hill Station at the end of October, pending there aren’t any “hiccups” with construction.
“It’s super exciting,” Brown said. “[At H.A.M.], we could only do so much as two people, Brandon and I. We had a limited staff and a small space, so it’s pretty exciting to think about having what we did on a larger scale, and actually having the space to have more customers in to eat.”
Brown said they want Hill Station to become a “community-oriented center of the neighborhood,” and they plan to work with neighborhood schools, sports leagues and the Fletcher Library (where Tara was recently employed) on fundraisers and projects.
“We would like to … incorporate a lot of the things that make Hillcrest great,” Brown said.
Hill Station’s hours are subject to change before its opening, but the restaurant’s slated operating hours are 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. on Sundays.
Tara and Brandon will continue to be involved with H.A.M., which is being renovated to install a new walk-in refrigerator. The market is set to re-open on Oct. 1 with expanded offerings, including a larger meat selection, prepared foods and fresh bread available daily.
Brown said the market will offer groceries and provisions, “kind of like stuff you wish Kroger had but doesn’t.” It will have a cooler for prepared foods, including “H.A.M. favorites” such as pimento cheese and different pâtés. H.A.M.’s butcher shop will be returning “back to its roots,” with expanded meat selections and charcuterie options. Brown added that Kevin Kerby, a longtime former employee, will be coming back to run the shop with Brandon and handle “day to day stuff.”
H.A.M.’s signature pig sign has been taken down, but have no fear — Brown said the “beloved” sign was “crumbling,” but it’s being remade and will be hung back up soon. Once re-opened, the market’s hours will be 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.