At three different locations for more than two decades, Green Hills Grille has operated under one simple philosophy: Do whatever it takes to ensure they are their customers’ favorite restaurant. Restaurateur Steven Smithing has been with Green Hills Grille for most of those years, and together with his brother and head chef Christopher, the entire staff at the restaurant continues to delight patrons with their casual California-inspired cuisine and stellar service.
Even during these days of pandemic dining, Green Hills Grille remains a favored destination for diners looking to enjoy a meal in an upscale casual atmosphere in socially distanced safety and also with those seeking food for carry-out or delivery that still exhibits high quality and thoughtful preparation. Visitors to the dining room will discover an environment where they can feel as secure as possible visiting a restaurant. “We’re a large restaurant,” explains Steven, “so it’s been easier for us to conform with the 50% capacity mandates. We only had to remove six tables to create adequate spacing, plus we have plenty of patio room for outdoor service. Our guests have really responded positively to what we’ve done, and we always concentrate on keeping our patrons and our staff safe.”
When Steven hears comments from his customers, he knows who he’s speaking with. “One benefit from being around for so long is we have a lot of long-time customers, and we really get to know them. We’ll have people who call in to order items that were specials on the menu years ago, and sometimes our newer employees won’t even know what they’re talking about!” Still, if they have the ingredients in the kitchen to prepare it, they’ll make every effort to accommodate customer requests, but they suggest that guests call the restaurant in advance to discover daily specials to order the latest and greatest from the Green Hills Grille menu.
Popular items from the regular menu include a special homage to one of Steven’s favorite dishes, the Panne Chicken from The Red Bar in Grayton Beach along 30A in the Florida Panhandle. “I’ve eaten there more than 30 times, but the only thing I’ve ever ordered was that chicken,” Steven admits. “I asked my brother if he could create a version of that dish. He looked online and found their recipe, then he tasted the dish and figured out what they’d intentionally left out of the list of ingredients.” The result of this research and experimentation appears on the Green Hills Grille as “Panned Chicken,” a fantastic preparation of chicken that is breaded and sauteéd to a golden brown before being topped with a rich lemon/butter/caper sauce.
Other beloved dishes include their legendary Southwestern-style Santa Fe Chicken featuring a grilled breast smothered in cheese, black beans and corn salsa served over yellow rice. Two different types of ribs are also featured: prime and baby back. The prime rib takes hours of cooking, so you can only find it on the dinner menu, but it’s certainly worth the wait! Green Hills Grille’s baby back ribs are lacquered with sweet and smoky sauce and then slow-cooked until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. Steven is also especially proud of their burger, enough so that it is listed on the menu as the “Best Burger in Green Hills,” and this particular dish has been one of the most popular carryout and delivery items coming out of the kitchen.
Unlike some establishments that treat to-go orders as a necessary inconvenience to survive the pandemic, Green Hills Grille has really embraced the desires of their customers (as always) who are looking for a different way to dine. “Carryout will be one of the few blessings to come out of all this,” explains Steven. “We’ve already started discussing ways to restructure our kitchen to handle it even better when everything returns to normal. When you grow your carryout business 400% like we have, you pay attention to it!”
Even before optimizing the kitchen for food leaving the premises, management made some very conscious decisions to improve their customers’ experience. “We’ve thought a lot about our menu with an eye for items that travel well,” shares Steven. “We have a lot of grilled items on the menu anyway, so those work well. Some things work better than others, so I always suggest ordering our mashed potatoes or rice as a side dish. As much as everybody loves our matchstick french fries, they’re meant to be eaten fresh out of the fryer.”
Green Hills Grille offers a really helpful perk of free delivery within a five-mile radius. “We will deliver further than five miles,” shares Steven, “but we ask that customers call first because we want to be sure to offer that convenience without sacrificing quality.” The restaurant uses their own employees to make the free deliveries for two reasons. First, management wanted to keep more of their workers employed during these difficult times. Secondly, they wanted to ensure that they could maintain the quality of their food throughout the entire delivery process, something that can’t be guaranteed by third-party services.
The to-go and delivery service from Green Hills Grille also offers some novel options like the opportunity to “Buy a Meal for a Local Doctor or Nurse” listed among the items on the beverage menu. Add this to your order for $15, and they will deliver a free meal to a diligent local health care worker at a Nashville hospital. Another nugget on the beverage menu is the fact that Green Hills Grille always offers their bottles of wine at half price, for dining in, carrying out or delivery. You’ll find interesting and delicious wines on their creative list at prices that rival those at local wine and spirit stores, so consider adding one to your order to make your meal even more special. Steven (rightly) brags, “There aren’t many restaurants in town that offer good bottles of wine for less than $40, but we have a bunch of them.” Indeed, their five varieties of house wines are only $17 a bottle and just a click away.
It’s no wonder Green Hills Grille is still so many people’s favorite restaurant. Visit them in person at 2002 Richard Jones Road #104a in the Greenbriar Village Shopping Center, call them at (615) 620-8393, or visit them online at ghgrille.com to experience it for yourself.
This article is sponsored by Green Hills Grille.