MINT HILL – The Hill Bar & Grill will reopen its dining room for the first time since March on June 3.
As COVID-19 started to spread across Mecklenburg County, staff decided it would be best to temporarily close the restaurant so they could tend to their families. March 21 was the restaurant’s last day.
“We really didn’t know what was happening,” owner David Andrews said. “The fear was real.”
After realizing a lot of his staff wasn’t able to get unemployment benefits and seeing other restaurants have success with curbside pick-up, Andrews reopened The Hill on April 24 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
As much as they wanted to get back to business as usual, staff didn’t want to rush back and have their customers get sick.
The Hill also added a 15% gratuity to bills, but it didn’t matter. People were coming back to The Hill and paying more to take care of the staff.
“It’s mind-boggling to see how the community has taken care of their own,” Andrews said. “I’m just very proud to be a Matthews-Mint Hill guy. It’s really cool to be in small towns and have support of regulars and non-regulars.”
Andrews moved to Mint Hill 15 years ago. He bought the Mint Hill Grill & Deli, added a bar and flat-screen TVs, and repackaged the place as The Hill Bar & Grill. Since opening in March 2011, they’ve had a loyal following.
In April, The Hill defeated three No. 1 seeds to win Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly’s 2020 Munch Madness: Road to the Final Fork, a bracket-style competition in which readers vote each week for their favorite restaurants.
The Hill had wins over O’Neil’s Pub, Stooges Pub, Mint Hill Rock Store Bar-B-Q and reigning champion Dunwellz to represent the Mint Hill bracket. It then defeated New Zealand Cafe in the Final Four and El Valle in the championship.
“All the restaurants in that are phenomenal,” Andrews said. “In Mint Hill, we are all family. It’s really neat to have support from your customers.”
Some of the people who cast their votes via email would leave notes about their experiences at the restaurant.
Lisa Ellsworth wrote that even though her family moved out of town, they keep coming back to eat at their favorite burger and wings place.
“David Andrews and his team love their community, their friends and family,” Karen Swett wrote. “The food is delicious and the atmosphere even better. If there is ever anyone in need – you can count on The Hill to gather the troops to support their community.”
For Andrews, the feeling is mutual.
“The support that we’ve gotten from the community is ridiculous,” he said. “Even being open for four hours a day for three days – it really warmed the soul to see how well Mint Hill and Matthews took care of their people.”
Want to go?
The Hill Bar & Grill is reopening its dining room from noon to 9 p.m. June 3. The restaurant is gradually adding to its menu, but you’ll find wings, burgers and other sandwiches. Expect some extra safety precautions, such as social distancing. Keep tabs on the restaurant on Facebook (@thehillgrill).