A scenic view overlooking a golf course, food always made from fresh ingredients, and an upscale facility that in previous years was open to members only is the foundation for what its owners say will present a unique dining experience in Hillsboro.
The Elk House Restaurant is now open Wednesday through Sunday, and the general public is invited to make it part of their regular dining experience.
Co-owners and longtime couple Mike Wallingford and Mandy Boris were exploring options regarding what to do after several years in various occupations and careers.
“I asked Mandy what she would like to do,” recalls Wallingford. “She said, ‘I’d like to run a restaurant.’ I said, ‘Why not own one?’”
The former restaurant at the Elks had been closed, so Wallingford and Boris approached the lodge and arranged to run their restaurant in the Elks’ facility. The Elk House Restaurant was born. The key to its success, said Wallingford, will be that it is open to the public, not just to Elks members.
Del Boone, a longtime chef at local restaurants, was recruited to take over the kitchen duties after he was promised the freedom to try new dishes and “deliver good food our customers like,” said Wallingford.
After a March 17 grand opening featuring barbecue ribs, chicken, prime rib and a variety of side items and desserts, as well as live music from Momma Tam and the Hot Blues Band, the Elk House Restaurant has steadily grown thanks mainly to word of mouth. But Wallingford wants to expand the restaurant’s top-of-mind presence.
Wallingford touts several attractions that he says makes the restaurant stand apart. He said the goal is to provide a facility that gives guests a sense of a mid to upper-scale place to dine without being so proper that people think they have to dress formally.
With its table cloths, large window views of the picturesque golf course – “the best view in town,” said Wallingford – a menu stretching from gourmet burgers to prime rib, and a variety of beverages ranging from soft drinks, tea and lemonade to cocktails available at the bar, the Elk House Restaurant is designed to suit a dining experience from casual business lunches to a night out in a stylish setting.
Amish-made desserts are available, and “featured meals” are offered in the evenings.
“The purpose is to give our chef the chance to make things he wants to make, to allow him to offer something that isn’t always on the menu,” said Wallingford. Breakfast is offered on the weekends beginning at 8 a.m.
Also involved in helping the restaurant get off the ground is Dr. Paul Schreibman, a local physician who said he just wanted to lend a hand and “have a place where I can hang out once in a while,” he joked.
Wallingford said freshness is a key ingredient in the restaurant’s menu, including Amish-made breads, fresh-cut fries and fresh vegetables. He said the restaurant has kept prices in check compared to comparable eateries elsewhere.
The Elk House Restaurant, located at 451 Danville Pike, can be rented for parties, and catering is provided.
Parking in the Elks parking lot is plentiful. The restaurant is open Wednesday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The Elk House Restaurant can be reached at 937-402-5203.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.