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Family venture, family feel; Haile Street Grille reopens

Posted: July 21, 2016 5:55 p.m.
Updated: July 22, 2016 1:00 a.m.
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An old favorite has re-opened with a new look, menu, and ownership.

Camden native Mitchell Wilson, Hunter Wilson and Steven Price have taken on the task of bringing new life to the long-popular eatery/institution.

Wilson, who worked with U.S. Food Service for more than twenty years, said this venture is a long-time dream come to fruition. He brings years of experience in the restaurant industry to the business management side of things – but he said he knew enough to bring in superior help in other aspects.

Happily, that help is in the form of his son, Hunter and Price, who are also partners in the business.

Price, who is head chef, brings several years experience to the kitchen, with stints at Aberdeen Catery as well as with Steven W’s, a fine dining establishment in Newberry.

“That leaves me as something of a jack of all trades – running the front of the house, the back of the house, backing up Steven in the kitchen, and handling about everything in between,” Hunter Wilson said.

For example, anyone who ever walked into the Haile Street Grille in at least the last 20 years will immediately notice a dramatic change in the interior. Gone are the open kitchen and the steam table, the tea dispensers and display cases. Instead of plain tables and chairs with round upholstered seats, there is a new array of handmade palette wood tables and chairs – and Hunter Wilson built every one of them.

“I got into building palette furniture a couple of years ago,” he said. “When we started thinking we wanted to do something like this, we started pricing and soon saw that the cost was out of sight. Then I thought, I can do this myself.”

Mitch Wilson, however, wasn’t sold on the idea at first. Then he went away for a weekend and Hunter seized the moment and made a chair to show his father, who quickly changed his mind. Ultimately, it took a little longer than Hunter expected, but they turned out beautifully and saved them a lot of money, he said.

They did a number of changes to the interior as well, adding chair rails and roofing tin along the walls as well as putting up a wall between the kitchen and the dining room.

One of the most important and significant changes they have done, however, is in the menu. The restaurant is no longer serving breakfast and while they still do the “meat and three” lunch items so familiar to long-time Haile Street Grille patrons, they are adding a variety of different items, including an array of salads, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers, Mitch Wilson said.

The restaurant is also open for dinner Thursday through Saturday – but does not have a set menu. Instead, the menus are written and maintained on two large chalkboards in the dining room.

“I know for me, the last thing I feel like doing is reading through a book,” Mitch Wilson said. “So instead of making people deal with all that, there it is, in big, easy to read letters, right there on the wall.

What goes on those chalkboards will ultimately stem from the creativity and acumen of Price, Mitch Wilson said.

“We are not going to be tied into any one item,” Wilson said. “For the dinner items, we will have a beef dish, a chicken dish, a pork dish and a seafood and/or pasta dish,” Wilson said. “What those are will be dependent on a number of things, including what Steven wants to do.”

Price said he plans to work with a number of local farms and markets to bring fresh items to the menu. He will also be thinking in terms of seasonal attributes, he said.

“People have asked if we are going to do chicken and dumplings, for example,” Price said. “I’m sure we will – but not in the hottest part of the summer.”

The Haile Street Grille will also offer beer and wine, as well as a corkage fee option for people who want to bring their favorite wine with them, Mitch Wilson said.

However, at the heart of the business is the idea of a family-oriented, fun place to go, Hunter Wilson said.

“We’re not selling mixed drinks; we’re not pushing alchohol sales; and we definitely don’t want to be a place that is trying to push customers out the door the minute they finish their meal,” he said. “We want to have that place that gives cookies to kids, that knows their customers by name and takes good care of them. And we want to cater to new ideas. Run it by us – if it fits, we can probably do it.”

The Haile Street Grille is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., then 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Dine in or take out is available.

 

For more information call 310-9277, email hailestreetgrille@yahoo.com, or visit the Haile Street Grille Facebook page.

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