Fun Fact! In the early 1980’s, the back of the popular private Banquet Room, featured a real garden, planted originally by Kathleen Hilliard, the founder’s wife. Kathleen loved plants, and also hand-picked the stain glass flowers still between the booths!
Robert Henson, current General Manager, remembers the garden well, because he tended to it, at 12 years old. It was a family connection. Mr. Henson’s uncle, Gerald Murray, was one of the first store managers ever – at the Skidaway location. Gerald’s father, Albert Murray cut grass at all the Carey Hilliard’s at the time, bringing the young Henson along.
Mr. Henson remembers cutting grass and blowing the parking lots clean at all 4 Hilliard’s at the time (Skidaway, Waters, Hwy. 80, and Abercorn), and Bill Hilliard’s, on Victory Dr. (currently Herb Creek Landscape – still owned by the Hilliard’s.
Back to the garden…behind the main room was a fence, with a garden and sitting area. Real plants grew, receiving sunlight from the panel of skylights in the back room (still there with shades to cool the room down in the summer). Believe it or not, the plants needed trimming, watering, and tending to, just like they were in an outside garden.
Eventually, more room for private Buffets was needed. As cool as the garden was (yes, it literally gave off humidity to the room), its constant maintenance became overwhelming. The garden was finally scrapped. Now, you’ll see the Buffet line setup in its place.
Special thanks to Mr. Henson for sharing this cool story!
As always, we’re grateful for the opportunity to serve you.