About Hillside Restaurant

When you walk in our restaurant, just up the little hill that gave us our name, you see a warmth, unlike any other bistro. Our antiques give warmth, our seasonal decorations excite, and the smells you notice will tempt you to stay through dinner and for our famous homemade desserts. Do you remember what you had for dinner last night? Our customers do!

Our History

The Hillside Restaurant started in 1955, making it one of the most well-established restaurants in Northern Illinois.

Nancy Fraser and her mother Helen bought the building once known as the Doughnut Cottage, which was connected to a small shoe shop and turned it into the Hillside Restaurant, joined by Nancy's husband Jim Sisler, and daughter Lisa Braun. The restaurant grew from a diner with a small counter to the seasonal fine restaurant that exists today. In 1989, Mary and Gavin Wilson purchased the restaurant as successful managers, and the tradition continues to this day, offering seasonal favorites and new dishes every year!

As the business grew, new menu ideas were added to keep DeKalb in step with what was new and exciting. When Lasagna was first put on our menu, no one had ever heard of it, and it caused quite a stir. Little by little, the menu has grown to include old-fashioned favorites and trendy new creations, never losing sight of our love for fine ingredients and real home cooking. From then until now, our passion has been to bring homemade favorites and brand new innovations to your palate. Since our menus change with every season, there is always something new in the air. Butternut Bisque and Caramel Apple Pie in the Fall. Moroccan Chicken, Rhubarb Pie in the Spring, Gazpacho when the weather gets warmer, and Green Tomato specials in late Summer, including our famous Green Tomato Salsa. And with all the new sensations, you can always get the same favorites you've had for years!


Be sure to try our famous Double Chocolate Cake, winner 2 consecutive years at The Sandwich Fair! Also, a winner was our blind pie crust, part of a recipe we've used for over 50 years.


In 2000, A Hollywood movie company came to DeKalb County to film the epic story called A Thousand Acres. The book that the film was based on takes place in Iowa, but the crew determined our county looked even more like Iowa than Iowa! Set on a large farm in a church community, the story centers around a family and their gatherings together. The Hillside Restaurant was hired by the props department to supply all foods used in filming the story, often requiring Chef Gavin Wilson to stay all day on set, replenish foods for multiple takes, then stay up all night to prepare foods for the next day. The cast included Jason Roberds, Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, Keith Carradine, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.