Destination dining

Experimental chef checks into historic Central Texas inn with most ambitious restaurant yet

Experimental chef checks into Salado inn with ambitious new restaurant

Ramble Salado
A dish from Ramble displays chef Jacob Hilbert's artful approach to cuisine. Ramble/Facebook

UPDATE: A previous version of this article stated that Hilbert worked with Jester King Brewery on a project that never came to fruition. Jester King owner Jeffrey Stuffings clarifies that the brewery was only briefly in talks with the chef.

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When CultureMap last checked in on former The Hollow chef Jacob Hilbert, he was exploring Central Texas’ unique terroir through upscale restaurant Ramble. Though that concept shuttered in July, he remains committed to Salado as a culinary destination. Now, he is taking over the kitchen at long-running bed and breakfast The Inn on The Creek.

The Hunter Gatherer will showcase Hilbert’s inimitable cooking style through ever-changing prix fixe feasts on weekends. The chef will also provide breakfasts and bites for guests, cooking classes, and private event catering.

Regular dinner service kicks off November 15, but Hilbert is previewing the new concept during two special sneak peek services. On November 6, he will explore the flavors of the winter forest floor with dishes highlighting chanterelle mushrooms. Then, on November 10, The Hunter Gatherer will celebrate the Scottish Highland games with a meal exploring Scottish immigration to Appalachia. (Hilbert hails from Appalachia and will be interpreting some of his favorite traditional meals.) Both dinners begin at 6:30 pm.

Following those two events, dinner seating will be available on Fridays and Saturdays by reservation only. True to form, Hilbert will create a new menu each week based on seasonal ingredients and what he is able to forage. Each meal will cost $95 with an optional $35 beverage pairing; cocktails, wines, and beer will be available a la carte.

The Hunter Gatherer continues Hilbert’s penchant for opening high-concept eateries in unexpected areas. He first became prominent in the Central Texas scene in 2013 with Georgetown farm-to-table bistro The Hollow, which closed in March 2018.

In September 2018, he opened Ramble Restaurant and Farmhouse Grill backed by former customers of The Hollow. In its brief run, that restaurant garnered a reputation as one of Central Texas’ most inventive new concepts, showcasing hyper-local cuisine and occasionally presenting menu offerings in verse.

The Hunter Gatherer will allow the chef to continue his experimentation without the demands of daily dinner services. Reservations can be made by emailing info@inncreek.com.