After 10 years under the leadership of husband-and-wife team Jim and Hilary White, The Hil at Serenbe is undergoing a change in operations.
Brandon Blanchard, CEO of Serenbe Hospitality, will be taking over operations of the restaurant, according to Serenbe vice-president of marketing and communications Monica Olsen. The change will take place after dinner service on Dec. 22.
The Hil will close Dec. 23 through Jan. 1 for a winter break. Plans in the new year include increasing the hours of operations as well as expanding the wine list. An executive chef has not been named.
An announcement regarding the operations change sent to members of the Serenbe community expressed gratitude to the Whites: “We are grateful to them for helping us grow our community, and while we are sorry to see them go, we are excited to see them take on full ownership in a business with the opportunity to imagine and create a space from top to bottom.”
With Hilary White helming the kitchen and Jim White acting as general manager, the restaurant built a reputation for its farm-to-table fare, much of it sourced from nearby Serenbe Farms.
However, fans of White’s food can still get their fix after Dec. 22. The Whites are opening French restaurant Bistro Hilary in Senoia, some 40 miles south of downtown Atlanta.
Compared to The Hil, “The bistro is different all the way around,” said Jim White.
Food-wise, “the team will still make it from scratch – not farm-to-table, but still seasonal and using local farmers.” The move to French fare will also bring a focus on French wines, he said.
The restaurant will offer lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.
The space is a standalone building that features two patios, “which is very unique to the South side,” said White. Bistro Hilary also has a private dining room, unlike at The Hil.
The couple hopes that the restaurant will be a dining destination for Atlantans. “It feels like you can be on a street in Paris. It’s in little historic Senoia. They redeveloped a little bit and added a backstreet – almost like a square – to the city. We’re kind of recessed on the back street.”
“We will move our entire team over and hopefully be ready for a first week in January opening,” he said.
Senoia is also the primary filming location for AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and is home to “Dead” actor Norman Reedus’ eatery Nic & Norman’s.
Former AJC food critic Meridith Ford gave the restaurant three out of five stars when she reviewed it in 2007, writing, “The Hil is best experienced as a whole rather than piecemeal. Were it airlifted to a less remote location, it would dovetail nicely into any growing city’s restaurant community. On its own, it’s worth the trip if you take in the rest that Serenbe has to offer — the B & B, walking trails, swimming pool — and include dinner as part of the package.”
The Hil is the latest addition to the dining concepts operated by Serenbe Hospitality at the new urban village. Others include The Blue Eyed Daisy, The Farmhouse and The Inn at Serenbe. The group is also opening what Olsen called an “upscale fast-casual concept” at Serenbe in late summer 2o18 in its newest commercial building, One Mado, with additional concepts throughout the community to follow.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that The Hil would be closing rather than undergoing a change of ownership.