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The Homestead under new ownership; chefs stay as part of plan to upgrade

HUNTSVILLE —
The Homestead on 19th, Huntsville’s only fine dining restaurant, may have changed hands but the chefs who have garnered rave reviews on travel websites have stayed on to help new owners continue to improve on the restaurant’s 18-year-old reputation.

Dr. Michael Peck, of Peck Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Clinic, and his wife, Mona, purchased the Homestead from its previous owner, John Eschenfelder, in 2013.

Much of the staff, such as manager Michael Hayden, head chef Adrianne Hayden and pastry chef Matthew Arney will stay on, Michael Peck said.

“Everybody that works there loves it there,” Peck said. “They would not go anywhere else, for any reason.”

Michael Hayden has a degree in business from Sam Houston State University and has been managing The Homestead for nine years. Adrianne, a classically trained chef from the Cordon Bleu, has been there for five years. Arney, who is also clasically trained from Cordon Bleu, will be a big part of the Peck’s plans to expand the special services The Homestead offers besides dinners, Peck said.

“We intend to push the catering business a little more than it has been pushed in the past, and the special occasion events like weddings and so forth,” Peck said.

The Homestead is known for some of the best steak and seafood in Huntsville, according to reviews on websites like Yelp.com,  TripAdvisor and Urbanspoon, but Peck said he the menu can be better with a few changes. Diners have complained the menu is  outdated and that some menu items haven’t been selling well, but he says those were symptoms of the previous owner’s burnout.

Peck also plans to expand the wine list to include more “high end” wines as well as a wider selection of inexpensive wines, he said.

Peck also said he intends to address patrons’ complaints about slow service at the bar. 

“A person shouldn’t have to wait more than five minutes (for service),” Peck said. “If they do, they need to call me.”

One thing will not change about the restaurant — its historic grounds, Peck said. There will be some renovation of the restaurant’s two outside cabins, which were built in 1834 and 1855, Peck said. The front walkway will be replaced as well as the kitchen floor. Those improvements will be made in Jaunary.

Peck said he hopes to offer a lunch menu after the first of the year once The Homestead reopens. The lunch menu will probably not feature steaks like the dinner menu does, but it will feature gourmet burgers and sandwiches as well as salads. Peck also plans to expand Sunday brunch hours, too, he said. The current hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be extended to 2:30 p.m. Peck also has plans to open the restaurant on Mondays, but like most of his plans, this is a tentative idea and he intends to make changes slowly.

The Homestead is now open from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Homestead also offers catering, wedding services and cooking classes, which are held on the second Monday of each month. For more information, visit their website at www.homesteadon19th.com.

Updated Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, to correct errors.

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