The Mom Behind Carey Hilliard’s: Kathleen Hilliard

On the Mother’s Day theme, it makes sense to talk about the Mother of Carey Hilliard’s: Kathleen.  

Kathleen started work at the Georgia Highway Department in Savannah.  After meeting Carey, they moved into a small Victorian-style, fixer-upper House on Houston street (now known as the Gingerbread House).  Carey tried the restaurant business his first time, as his two older brothers, Dick and Bill, both had established restaurants.  He failed. 

After having their first child (Sheryl), Kathleen and Carey moved to an apartment at Savannah Gardens, while Carey worked at American Cyanimid sulfur plant (now known as Kemira). 

Kathleen soon had two boys, Carey Jr., and Tim.  During this time, Carey gave the restaurant business a second try, in 1960. 

At the original – Skidaway location, Kathleen was instrumental in the setup and décor.  She hand-picked the stained-glass windows between the booths (still there today).   From 4-8pm she’d go to work behind the Counter, relieving Carey so he could get a few hours rest. 

Kathleen and Carey soon moved to Pierce Street in Thunderbolt.  Living close to the store, she’d work daily. 

Carey & Kathleen Hilliard

Kathleen helped perfect the Onion Rings’ hand-made batter.  She created the first Employee Handbook, and created the first kitchen standards for the restaurant.  Her instinct for inviting décor, sparkling-clean booths, and a family menu were a big hit! 

Kathleen was a marvelous cook, devoted wife, and extraordinary mother.  As a couple, Carey and Kathleen were adored, and Kathleen made it known that “family was first.” 

A special thank you to Aunt Janice for the family history!

As always, we’re grateful for the opportunity to serve you. 

-T.J. Hilliard