After 40 years, a longtime staple on Addison's major restaurant strip is closing: Houston's Restaurant, part of the hugely popular upscale chain, is closing its location at 5318 Belt Line Rd.
Saturday June 13 will be its final night of service.
Hillstone, Houston's parent company, did not respond to a request for comment. A staffer at another Hillstone's property attributed the closure to a lease issue. However, the lease was not yet up for renewal.
And Mark Sommer, president of Beltway Commercial Real Estate, which owns Town Hall Square Shopping Center, where Houston's is located, says it was a decision by Houston's, and they never even got the chance to have a conversation.
"We found out two days ago that Houston's had determined they wanted to close the unit," Sommer says. "We feel some sadness that we did not get an opportunity to discuss a continuation of their occupancy, since we have had an extraordinary relationship with them. My wife and I eat there nearly every week, it's our favorite restaurant, and it has truly been a blessing to have them in our shopping center for 40 years."
Hillstone/Houston's is an iconic presence in the restaurant world. Founded in 1977 and headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, they currently have 51 Hillstone locations in 13 states, with concepts that include R+D Kitchen, Bandera, and Rutherford Grill. Bon Appetit called it "America's Favorite Restaurant."
They're known for maintaining a high standard of excellence, with every dish — steaks, prime rib, French dip sandwich, chicken tenders — drawing its own fan club. Its groundbreaking veggie burger, whose ingredients include shredded beet, has inspired more than a few knockoffs.
They've retained a robust following, no small feat in an industry where change is an intrinsic part of the deal.
Perhaps more significantly, the chain has also been hugely influential, serving as a template for countless chefs, for whom "my own version of Houston's" has become a motto. In Dallas, Houston's casual-but-classy influence can be seen far and wide, from Neighborhood Services to Stock & Barrel to chains like True Food Kitchen and Eureka.
With a longstanding reputation for never making a misstep, the company drew flak in May over its policy regarding the wearing of face masks during service, stating that face masks were not in line with its image. An employee filed a complaint and a judge ruled that the employee had the right to wear one.
They've also closed other locations, often abruptly, including a location in their namesake city of Houston in 2019.
The degree of their persevering popularity can be observed by a Facebook post that broke the news from Mike Jones, a Houston's regular, which has drawn nearly 400 comments and more than 600 shares. Jones heard the news from the staff, whom he says were "in tears" over the shutter.
Houston's has three sibling restaurants in the Dallas area, all clustered around the Park Cities, all still open, including Hillstone Park Cities on Preston Road, R+D Kitchen in Preston Center, and Honor Bar in Highland Park Village.