Houston's Restaurant

Houston's Restaurant is an upscale American casual dining restaurant chain, owned by Hillstone Restaurant Group, whose main corporate headquarters is in Beverly Hills, California. There are 51 Hillstone locations in 13 states.

Houston's Restaurant
Wholly owned subsidiary
GenreCasual Fine Dining
Founded1977; 43 years ago (1977) in Dallas, Texas
FounderGeorge Biel
Number of locations
51 (under various names)
Area served
United States
ProductsAmerican cuisine
ParentHillstone Restaurant Group

Company profileEdit

The first Houston's restaurant was launched by current owner and CEO George Biel, Joe Ledbetter and Vic Branstetter in 1977 in Nashville, Tennessee.[1][2] Bransetter sold his shares in 2006, and Ledbetter in 2011, leaving George Biel sole owner of the company. The corporate company, Hillstone Restaurant Group was founded in 1976 and owns the following restaurants: Gulfstream, Bandera, Rutherford Grill, Palm Beach Grill, Cherry Creek Grill, Los Altos Grill, Woodmont Grill, R+D, Hillstone, The Honor Bar, South Beverly Grill, East Hampton Grill, White House Tavern, Big Jake’s Steaks, and Houston’s.[3] As of 2019, the group owns and operates 76 restaurants under 13 different brands in the United States.


Zagat gave the restaurant high marks and remarked on its '"vibrant”, “modern” setting matched with a “lively bar scene”; “seamless”, “tag-team” service".'[4]

Name change of certain locationsEdit

Since 2009, several Houston's locations around the US have changed their names to Hillstone. There is speculation that the change was made to avoid federal menu-labeling requirements on menus for restaurants with 20 locations or more as a part of the Affordable Care Act. The renaming of locations in New York City may suggest wishing to avoid that city's requirement that chains publish calorie counts on menus. Houston's in Austin, TX changes name to Bartlett’s.

The company maintains the changes are in keeping with a long-term strategy of disassociating from the chain image to remain a niche player in the industry. The practice of changing restaurant names is not a new strategy for the company, which has similarly converted several Banderas to locally named Grills, all predating state and federal regulations. The company states that the name change was based on rebranding with a focus on more regional and less standardized fare.[5][6]

Mask ControversyEdit

Hillstone restaurants reopening in Texas, are forbidding staff wearing masks, or PPE of any kind, while working. The company says no one will be fired for refusing to work without a mask, but they would also be ineligible to receive unemployment benefits, putting pressure on employees to work in unsafe conditions.[7]


  1. ^ Jack Hayes (1992-07-12). "Houston's breaks found in the 'burbs". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 2012-04-05.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 2013-11-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Hillstone Restaurant Group". Hillstone.com. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Houston's | Los Angeles | Information, Menus and Reviews from". Zagat.com. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  5. ^ "Hillstone Restaurant Group rebranding Houston's units | Nation's Restaurant News". Nrn.com. 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  6. ^ "Houston's restaurant outsmarts calorie cops | Crain's New York Business". Crainsnewyork.com. 2009-11-08. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
  7. ^ https://www.peoplenewspapers.com/2020/05/03/its-not-safe-for-anyone-restaurant-employees-say-bosses-forbid-face-masks/