WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Fox Hill Restaurant and Gardens is set to reopen this weekend after damage from last year’s winter storm forced the business to shut down for 11 months.
The winter storm wreaked havoc on the nearly 100-year-old building, taking significant time to repair, but other circumstances throughout its hiatus created more issues that staff were forced to face head on.
Many Wichitans enjoyed the ambiance and farm-to-table aspect of Fox Hill Restaurant and Garden when it initially opened in the spring of 2020.
“We had a very good customer base and a lot of loyal customers, and when we were shut down, we got a lot of calls,” Fox Hill General Manager Shawn Sharif said.
However, the business was forced to deal with unforeseen circumstances after being open for less than a year. Sharif said the 2021 winter storm caused severe damage – damage he thought would be impossible to repair.
“Our system shut down, so the heater did not work, the fire sprinkler system all froze up, and four of them blew up upstairs,” Sharif said. “And because nobody was here, just water went everywhere, and in the basement was full of water. All of our electricity went underwater, and all the walls got wet, and we had to change a lot of walls.”
Executive Chef Anand Chaturvedula said it was a hard and disappointing situation for many Fox Hill staff members.
“It was difficult to know that we gained a lot of chemistry and a lot of speed and then just came to a screaming halt after 11 months of a lot of progress,” Chaturvedula said.
Despite not working in the same space for nearly a year, all of the same staff have returned for the restaurant’s reopening – a true testament to the work environment – and they hope the guests feel that same type of positivity during their dining experience.
“I’m looking most to see our familiar faces, gaining new patrons,” Chaturvedula said. “The space here has changed dramatically, with the enclosed patio, with increased seating upstairs; we’ve taken out some walls to increase seating upstairs, so we’ve lightened the tones on the walls. So, we’re kind of excited for all the new changes.”
Sharif said the first two nights of Fox Hill’s opening weekend are booked solid, and he hopes this support continues for as long as possible.
Fox Hill Restaurant and Gardens hosted a soft opening Thursday, January 20, and their full reopening is Friday, January 21.
If you’re interested in making your own reservation, head over to their website here.