In 2010, Houston’s shocked us all by changing its name to Hillstone. Five years later, the rebrand is still difficult to internalize.
“We have a lot of regular guests that have grown up calling it Houston’s,” Hillstone Service Manager Laura Lewallen says. “They will continue to do that, which is okay – we are the same great, friendly restaurant we have always been.”
Name change typically occurs when a business needs re-energizing. That clearly wasn’t the case in this instance. Houston’s had been a staple in Preston Center for years. Why mess with a good thing? Lewallen filled us in. (The answer is pretty simple.)
Houston’s was founded by George Biel, owner of the Los Angeles-based Hillstone Restaurant group. After decades of successful business, he wanted to create flagships for his enterprise. In 2010, he looked at a map and selected eight Houston’s locations to represent the Hillstone brand. Because of its popularity, the restaurant in our neighborhood made the cut and was renamed.
That’s all fine and good for out-of-towners. But if you’re a local making dinner plans with other locals, go ahead and say, “Let’s meet at Houston’s.” Everyone will know what you mean.
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