March 3, 2023

Backstage at the Egyptian: Gavin and Mary Wilson of The Hillside say farewell

For as long as many citizens of DeKalb can remember, the Hillside restaurant has stood proudly next to the Egyptian Theatre as our co-star of Second Street. For various residents the restaurant weaved together everlasting memories for its patrons by offering them delicious food and excellent service. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end. On March 4th, 2023 the Hillside Restaurant and Gavin and Mary Wilson will be bidding farewell to DeKalb and will be greatly missed by its ever-appreciative neighbors at the Egyptian as well as the many citizens of DeKalb. We decided to take this opportunity to reflect on all the joy they brought Second Street throughout the years with a little exit interview for the owners Gavin and Mary Wilson.

JOSH: When did Hillside first open and how long have you been running the restaurant?
GAVIN & MARY:
The restaurant opened in 1955, we started managing the restaurant in 1985, and bought it in 1989.

J: What is your favorite memory from owning the restaurant?
G & M: All our sons grew up knowing what it means to work hard, and to serve.  We had our Thanksgiving there every year, too.  One of favorite funny memories is when we accidentally sent Billy Corrigan of Smashing Pumpkins away hungry when he came to eat, because his concert made us too busy to get him a table.

J: How has running Hillside affected your life?
G & M: Although we spent our days working quietly to keep producing quality meals, in the process we touched more lives than we even realized until it was coming to an end.  It’s humbling to know we were a part of so many special moments.

J: In all your years of running Hillside, what is your favorite menu item?
G & M: Rhubarb Pie, and Butternut bisque share equal billing as the all time celebrity stars.

J: How do you want the patrons of DeKalb to remember the restaurant?
G & M: Real homemade comfort foods, Real service, cooking with love.