Published in the December 17, 2015 edition


NORTH READING — Three times is a charm.

After twice advertising a Request for Proposals for a new operator for the town’s Hillview function hall without success, the Hillview Commission went out to bid a third time and has selected Nick Yebba, owner of Teresa’s Prime, Teresa’s Grille 19 and Teresa’s in Middleton, to run the function facility on North St.

The previous operator of the facility, PBL, owned by the Horseshoe Grille’s Pat Lee, gave notice last November to end its license to operate the Hillview this fall. After its first two advertising attempts were unsuccessful, the Hillview Commission tried once again and this time drew a proposal from Yebba.

Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto said the license to operate the Hillview is for five years with an option to renew. Gilleberto said the company with which the town has a license will be called Group One Entertainment LLC, with Yebba as the principal owner.

Gilleberto said he expects there to be a smooth transition between PBL and Group One. The new licensee will take over the operation on April 1. He said Yebba and Lee will meet to discuss any events that are scheduled to take place during that time. “We’ve received assurances from Group One they’ll accommodate any of those events.”

The reason for the need to accommodate is that the license includes provision for Group One to make cosmetic improvements to the function hall building during the months of January, February and March, said Gilleberto. So the function hall will be unavailable during that period.

Group One’s license to operate the Hillview is for five years, with an option for five more.

Hillview Commission Chairman George Stack pointed out that during the period the facility is closed, Group One will be responsible for the building’s utility costs.

Stack and Gilleberto said Yebba has committed to the operation of a seasonal pub during the traditional golf season and in fact the license requires this. “He (Yebba) has an understanding of the golf business from his relationship with the Thomson Club. Golfers like a place to go afterwards, and townspeople do also,” said Stack.

Since taking the golf course and function hall facility over 25 years ago, the Hillview and the town have benefited from a history of responsible operators, including Lee and his predecessor, Burton Page. “We look forward to a long term relationship with Group One Entertainment,” Gilleberto said.

“The community should expect to see cosmetic improvements to the facility. We hope the golfer, the event organizer and the residents will all benefit,” said Gilleberto. “We expect the town will benefit tremendously from Group One’s experience in the function business and their capacity and staffing.”

Stack praised Gilleberto’s involvement in the process of finding a successor to PBL and the Hillview’s subcommittee that worked on the license: Peter Hemme, Dan Doherty and Mike Giunta.

“This is evidence of the Hillview’s continued forward thinking approach to managing the Hillview,” said Gilleberto.