bottom of the hill

thursday marked the end of an era…

..but i suppose it’s just as well.

thanksgiving, for me, used to only be three of us – me, uncle arthur, and aunt david. with it only being three of us i always figured it wasn’t worth cooking…and even with four this year (thanks to the ufw being there) i still thought a restaurant was the better call. we’ve run through several in the decade plus we’ve been doing a restaurant for turkey day, but the last four years have been historic hill’s cafe on south congress in austin, texas…

…but that trend has come to a close.

we started there in 2011 and it was awesome – they had the usual thanksgiving fare, where you were supposed to pick your meat (ham or turkey), and pick your pie (pumpkin or pecan) and most sides were the same…but when we got there they just asked how many, brought our drinks, and then brought out HUGE platters of food that had both ham AND turkey, potatoes AND stuffing, etc, because they had made too much food and needed to get rid of it…but in 2012 the word was out, and we arrived at two only to find out without a reservation we were sitting around for thirty minutes before we were seated…but the food was still quite good. in 2013 i had the forethought to make reservations, and we got in easily, but we were seated and then forgotten about in the bar area, mere feet from the food which was served buffet style that year thanks to a kitchen fire the tuesday before turkey day. we chalked up the staffing issues to the fire and, at the wedding a week before, decided to give hill’s one last try…

i had no idea the emphasis on “LAST” in that phrase.

so, admittedly i waited a bit longer to make the reservation than i probably should have, but with a wedding the week before turkey day my mind was elsewhere. when i finally DID make the reservation we were told they couldn’t get us in until 4:30. i was told “you can come in earlier and wait in case something opens up, but if you want in with no wait we can’t lock that in before 4:30 as all reservations are filled.

fuck it, we’ll do 4:30.

on the way into town i get a voicemail – no call, just a voicemail to tell me they were out of their thanksgiving meal?!? we could get anything else off their menu our little hearts desired, but thanksgiving was now out of the question because they had sold out of all their food for that. we arrived to a restaurant only a quarter of the way full (WHY did we have to wait till 4:30 again?) and were seated pretty quickly, but waited quite a bit to order and when we were finally allowed to they were out of almost every side dish. they were out of most of the deserts. and when we finally DID negotiate what we could order it took over thirty minutes for our food.

i was just done.

so next year might be a different restaurant, might be the house – we shall see. it will NOT be hill’s cafe…and now that i think about it, guess i need to email them and let them know…

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