Three months after classic Hill Country restaurant Hudson's on the Bend rebooted with a splashy renovation, it suddenly closed after Valentine’s Day 2017, becoming one of the most shocking shutters of the year. Now, almost a year later, the iconic eatery is getting a redo with new owners and a new name — Hudson’s Hill Country.
Although some new dishes will be brought on, the culinary concept will remain much the same, with the classic dishes and focus on game that made Hudson's a crowd-pleaser. The new team includes John Sturdivant as the executive chef, although the restaurant may host guest chefs from time to time.
Under original owner and chef Jeff Blank, Hudson's became one of Austin's most popular restaurants after opening in 1984. Serving seafood; steaks; and wild game like rattlesnake, venison, and pheasant, the restaurant helped define Texas Hill Country cuisine. Health problems caused Blank to sell his beloved business after more than two decades of perpetually topping "best of" lists.
The restaurant is now owned by a group that includes Chris Kimura, Eric Leonard, and philanthropist Dilum Chandrasoma. Chandrasoma purchased the space from chef Billy Caruso and advanced sommelier Chris McFall’s Prime Thyme Restaurant Group, who took over the restaurant from Jeff Blank in 2016, in December 2017.
The interior, which was significantly brightened by Prime Thyme’s costly farmhouse rework, will remain the same. If all goes according to plan, Hudson’s Hill Country will host its first guests by the end of March.