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Bulls Eye Feb 2014

Bull's Eye header

By LuLu

Denise

Legacies are built over a lifetime of being passionate about something in life. Many never live to find that one thing in life you can be so interested in that you stick with it. That cannot be said about Denise Hilliard and her family. Denise was born in Orlando back before the days of Disney. Her mom and grandparents were in the restaurant business, so she grew up learning the family trade. Denise’s dad moved the family out of Orlando when the Disney boom invaded and transplanted them to Eustis. Upon his death her mom bought The Flame Lounge on International which is now the Brickyard. The list of restaurants and bars that Denise and Rick have been part of opening is a diary of dining in the Daytona/Port Orange area. They have been owners of The Brick Yard, The Fly In Lounge (now Famous Phillies on US1), First Turn that was originally where the Cracker Barrel is by the Speedway, co-owned Cowboys in New Smyrna with baseball legend Davy Johnson, Billy Bob’s, in 1991 they took over the Marker 32 on Ballough and Mason and called it First Turn Too, South Turn on Nova, It’s All Good (a breakfast spot on US 1) and the present First Turn in Port Orange on US 1. Sometimes running more than one at a time and for those of you who have worked in the restaurant industry you know that bars and restaurants generally run your life; they are so time consuming. First Turn is turning 30 this year and its present location is where Denise fell in love with Rick Hilliard whose father owned it when it was known as the Allandale Inn. Rick and Denise both worked for his dad and according to Denise it was love at first sight. They share the passion for their work, their love of NASCAR, motorcycles, fishing, Islamorada and raising a wonderful son, Ricky. What sets First Turn apart is their “customers are like family and truly are concerned about each other”.

As for riding Denise got her endorsement when a friend, Elizabeth, rode up on hers and at 50 she decided to leave the backseat and ride her own. She started on a 1955 Panhead, moved on to a 2009 Deluxe and presently has a 2011 Fatboy Lo. As busy as she stays with work her riding is mostly day trips such as riding to Leesburg or on local poker runs.

On that subject I personally have to tell you that Denise’s heart is golden. She and her son Ricky have done mission work in Harlan, Kentucky building and repairing homes for the needy with South Daytona Christian Church. Their son Ricky aspires to spend his life doing God’s work and is interning as a missionary in California. He inherited that family passion from his mother, just as Denise inherited her love of feeding the masses from her family. Other than the mission work, I have witnessed Denise help individuals in life’s crisis, Children’s Home Society, animal causes such as Pawsibilities Rescue and the Halifax Humane Society, veteran’s, food banks and is also the host for Big D’s Rock the Cradle which provides Christmas for needy families.

This month’s Bull’s Eye is someone I am honored to call my friend and if you are in the Daytona area ride down US 1 to First Turn enjoy their huge remodeled deck, fabulous food and some of the nicest people you will ever break bread with! To celebrate their 30 years in business they are having a party on the 1st Saturdays of each month with live music, a corn hole tournament and February 1st will feature a free fish fry.

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