Known for its views, sunsets and chicken salad — and in the last couple of years its declining revenue — Grill on the Hill, overlooking Worcester’s Green Hill Golf Course, has been open since March 4 but with a slightly new perspective and a completely new chef this season.
Melinda and Jim Taylor, husband-and-wife restaurant industry veterans, submitted the top bid in January to assume a three-year lease on the city-owned restaurant and bar within the municipal golf course at Green Hill Park.
They hired chef Cassie Ramsey, who originally hails from Worcester and spent nine years as sous chef and pastry chef of The Castle Restaurant in Leicester.
And with the liquor license transfer approved at an April 28 meeting, the last official loose end according to the Taylors is the lottery license from the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
The couple took over operation of the facility from Savva Fotiadis and family, who had operated the Grill since it opened in 2010. The Fotiadis family also own and operate The Manor restaurant and banquet facility and Draught House Bar & Grill in West Boylston.
Melinda, who has worked as a waitress, bartender and manager at the Grill since it opened six years ago is the restaurant manager..
“It’s like family up here to me. The people, the regulars — it’s like home. There’s great potential in this place,” she said.
Jim Taylor was a Piccadilly Pub manager for several years and is now general manager and co-owner of Bentley Pub in Auburn (a former Piccadilly Pub).
Janet Fotiadis remains employed at the Grill as functions manager.
“It’s a great undertaking. I’m here seven days a week and Jim is in and out of both places. Janet remaining on with the function end of things is a tremendous help to us. And she’s very successful with that,” Melinda said.
As operators of the city space, the Taylors are entitled to all receipts from food and beverage concessions. They agreed to pay the city 2.6 percent of the gross sales over the first three years; and make lease payments of $30,000 in year one, $35,000 in year two, and $40,000 in year three and every subsequent year the lease may be renewed, according to city documents.
Revenues at the facility dropped each year after debuting in 2012 with $532,540. They were $459,736 in 2013, $417,327 in 2014 and $374,625 through August last year, according to the city.
Ramsey, who graduated from Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton and worked at the Black and White restaurant in Spencer, has introduced new entrees to the menu, while also keeping favorites from the past.
“We wanted the regulars to still have something they knew they liked,” she added.
Cranberry walnut chicken salad sandwich? Check. Guinness burger (diced caramelized onions mixed in a Guinness reduction with bacon and cheddar jack cheese)? Still there.
“We’ve changed the entrees up and we’ve added a few things,” Melinda Taylor said.
“The cranberry walnut chicken salad has been here since the start,” Ramsey said. “We made a few adjustments to the recipe, but it remains crowd popular.”
Ramsey was hired by Jim Taylor. “It’s great people. It’s a fun place to work. We have a really great team here,” she said.
Attached to the restaurant is a function room that accommodates up to 75. Functions ranging from corporate events to family celebrations are catered by Grill on the Hill for breakfast, lunch or dinner, at prices from $15.95 to $21.95 per person.
The deck accommodates 75 diners and has featured live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the summer.
“The majority of the people that want to come up here want to sit out on the deck if it’s nice out. Most of our reservation requests come from people wanting to watch the sunset or listen to music. And it’s overlooking the water, which is nice,” Melinda said.
There are a variety of beers, bottled and on tap, and Melinda said the Grill is offering a “Superfast Sandwich” menu from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Golfers will be able to grab a sandwich or hot dog and get it within three minutes of placing the order, she said.
“Two or three times a week, when I walk in the door, I have the guys from the pro shop coming up and telling me that the golfers are raving about what we’re doing,” she said.
The Grill employs 30, including waitresses, bar staff, kitchen staff, hostesses, and function staff. However, only four servers from the previous management were kept on by the Taylors.
New management plans to keep the restaurant open year-round.
During the colder months, according to Melinda, they hope to have the restaurant open at the very least on Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday mornings for brunch.
Grill on the Hill is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is at 1929 Skyline Drive, on the grounds of the municipal Green Hill Golf Course , in Worcester’s Green Hill Park.